Meet Our Experts

Oceans and Coasts


Michael W. Beck

Lead Marine Scientist

Dr. Michael W. Beck is the lead marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy and an adjunct Professor in Ocean Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he is based.

Mike works on coastal marine conservation in 5 continents across science, business and policy to bring clear tools and results to decision-makers. Mike focuses on building coastal resilience in the interface between adaptation and conservation, where he works to reduce risks to people, property and nature.

Mike has authored more than sixty peer-reviewed science articles. His work covers topics from the role of coral reefs in reducing risks from storms to the effects of people on extinctions of Pleistocene mammals.

He has also published numerous popular articles including Op-eds in the Miami Herald, NY Times, Huffington Post and Caribbean Journal.

He was a Fulbright Fellow and an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney. He has served on advisory boards and panels for NOAA, EPA and the National Academy of Sciences. And in 2012, Mike was selected as a Pew Marine Conservation Fellow.

You can find more on his work at www.coastalresilience.org and www.maps.coastalresilience.org

Read Michael W. Beck's Full Biography

Blogs by Mike

The Sea Wall Nature Gave You

Mike writes for Huffington Post Green about the power of coral reefs to protect people from storms.

Where Oysters Grew on Trees

Rowan Jacobsen and Mike write in the New York Times about rebuilding the Gulf's once abundant oyster population.

Fellowships and Advisory Commissions

Advisory Committees
  • 2010-2012 National Research Council Committee. Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Assessment
  • 2009-2014 NOAA Science Advisory Committee- Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group
  • 2004 Marine Reserves & Fisheries Management: Scientific Consensus Panel Member
Fellowships

Publications

2016

Abelson, A., Halpern, B.S., Reed, D.C., Orth, R.J., Kendrick, G.A., Beck, M.W., Belmaker, J., Krause, G., Edgar, G.J., Airoldi, L., Brokovich, E., France, R., Shashar, N., Blaeij, A. de, Stambler, N., Salameh, P., Shechter, M. & Nelson, P.A. (2016). Upgrading marine ecosystem restoration using ecological‐social concepts. BioScience, 66, 156–163.

Beck, M.W. & Lange, G.-M. (2016). Managing coasts with natural solutions: guidelines for measuring and valuing the coastal protection services of mangroves and coral reefs (Technical Report). WAVES, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Pontee, N., Narayan, S., Beck, M.W. & Hosking, A.H. (2016). Nature-based solutions: lessons from around the world. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Maritime Engineering, 169, 29–36.

2015

Calil, J., Beck, M.W., Gleason, M., Merrifield, M., Klausmeyer, K. & Newkirk, S. (2015). Aligning natural resource conservation and flood hazard mitigation in California. PLoS ONE, 10, e0132651.

 

Ekstrom, J.A., Suatoni, L., Cooley, S.R., Pendleton, L.H., Waldbusser, G.G., Cinner, J.E., Ritter, J., Langdon, C., van Hooidonk, R., Gledhill, D., Wellman, K., Beck, M.W., Brander, L.M., Rittschof, D., Doherty, C., Edwards, P.E.T. & Portela, R. (2015). Vulnerability and adaptation of US shellfisheries to ocean acidification. Nature Clim. Change, 5, 207–214.

Reguero, B.G., Losada, I.J., Díaz-Simal, P., Méndez, F.J. & Beck, M.W. (2015). Effects of climate change on exposure to coastal flooding in Latin America and the Caribbean. PLoS ONE, 10, e0133409.

Scyphers, S.B., Gouhier, T.C., Grabowski, J.H., Beck, M.W., Mareska, J. & Powers, S.P. (2015). Natural shorelines promote the stability of fish communities in an urbanized coastal system. PLoS ONE, 10, e0118580.

2014

Beck, M.W. (ed.). (2014). Coasts at risk: an assessment of coastal risks and the role of environmental solutions. University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI.

 

Ferrario, F., Beck, M.W., Storlazzi, C.D., Micheli, F., Shepard, C.C. & Airoldi, L. (2014). The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation. Nat Commun, 5, 3794.

Reguero, B.G., Bresch, D.N., Beck, M., Calil, J. & Meliane, I. (2014). Coastal risks, nature-based defenses and the economics of adaptation: an application in the Gulf of Mexico, USA. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1, 25.

Spalding, M.D., McIvor, A.L., Beck, M.W., Koch, E.W., Möller, I., Reed, D.J., Rubinoff, P., Spencer, T., Tolhurst, T.J., Wamsley, T.V., van Wesenbeeck, B.K., Wolanski, E. & Woodroffe, C.D. (2014). Coastal ecosystems: a critical element of risk reduction. Conservation Letters, 7, 293–301.

Spalding, M.D., Ruffo, S., Lacambra, C., Meliane, I., Hale, L.Z., Shepard, C.C. & Beck, M.W. (2014). The role of ecosystems in coastal protection: adapting to climate change and coastal hazards. Ocean & Coastal Management, 90, 50–57.

2013

Beck, M.W., et al. (2013). Using interactive decision support to integrate coastal hazard mitigation and ecosystem services in Long Island Sound, New York and Connecticut USA. In: The role of ecosystems in disaster risk reduction (eds. Renaud, F.G., Sudmeier-Rieux, K. & Estrella, M.). United Nations University Press, Bonn.

Collie, J.S., (Vic) Adamowicz, W.L., Beck, M.W., Craig, B., Essington, T.E., Fluharty, D., Rice, J. & Sanchirico, J.N. (2013). Marine spatial planning in practice. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 117, 1–11.

Grantham, H.S., Agostini, V.N., Wilson, J., Mangubhai, S., Hidayat, N., Muljadi, A., Muhajir, Rotinsulu, C., Mongdong, M., Beck, M.W. & Possingham, H.P. (2013). A comparison of zoning analyses to inform the planning of a marine protected area network in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Marine Policy, 38, 184–194.

National Academy of Science. (2013). An evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s marine and hydrokinetic resource assessments. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

2012

Beck, M.W. & Shepard, C.C. (2012). Coastal habitats and risk reduction. In: World Risk Report 2012 (ed. Mucke, P.). Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, Berlin.

Guerry, A.D. + 28 others including Beck, M.W. (2012). Modeling benefits from nature: using ecosystem services to inform coastal and marine spatial planning. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 8, 107–121.

Kim, C.-K., Toft, J.E., Papenfus, M., Verutes, G., Guerry, A.D., Ruckelshaus, M.H., Arkema, K.K., Guannel, G., Wood, S.A., Bernhardt, J.R., Tallis, H., Plummer, M.L., Halpern, B.S., Pinsky, M.L., Beck, M.W., Chan, F., Chan, K.M.A., Levin, P.S. & Polasky, S. (2012). Catching the right wave: evaluating wave energy resources and potential compatibility with existing marine and coastal uses. PLoS ONE, 7, e47598.

Welle, T., Beck, M.W., Shepard, C.C. & Mucke, P. (2012). Environmental degradation as a risk factor and environmental destruction caused by disasters. In: World risk report 2012 (ed. Mucke, P.). Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, Berlin.

2011

Beck, M.W., Brumbaugh, R.D., Airoldi, L., Carranza, A., Coen, L.D., Crawford, C., Defeo, O., Edgar, G.J., Hancock, B., Kay, M.C., Lenihan, H.S., Luckenbach, M.W., Toropova, C.L., Zhang, G. & Guo, X. (2011). Oyster reefs at risk and recommendations for conservation, restoration, and management. BioScience, 61, 107–116.

Beck, M. W., (contributing author). (2011). Strategic advice on designing and implementing coastal and marine spatial plans: a report from the NOAA Science Advisory Board. A global review of MSP efforts with official findings and recommendations for NOAA.

Hale, L.Z., Newkirk, S. & Beck, M. (2011). Helping coastal communities adapt to climate change. Solutions, 2, 84–85.

Merrifield, M.S., Hines, E., Liu, X. & Beck, M.W. (2011). Building regional threat-based networks for estuaries in the western United States. PLoS ONE, 6, e17407.

Shepard, C.C., Agostini, V.N., Gilmer, B., Allen, T., Stone, J., Brooks, W. & Beck, M.W. (2011). Assessing future risk: quantifying the effects of sea level rise on storm surge risk for the southern shores of Long Island, New York. Nat Hazards, 60, 727–745.

Shepard, C.C., Crain, C.M. & Beck, M.W. (2011). The protective role of coastal marshes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 6, e27374.

2010

Foley, M.M., Halpern, B.S., Micheli, F., Armsby, M.H., Caldwell, M.R., Crain, C.M., Prahler, E., Rohr, N., Sivas, D., Beck, M.W., Carr, M.H., Crowder, L.B., Emmett Duffy, J., Hacker, S.D., McLeod, K.L., Palumbi, S.R., Peterson, C.H., Regan, H.M., Ruckelshaus, M.H., Sandifer, P.A. & Steneck, R.S. (2010). Guiding ecological principles for marine spatial planning. Marine Policy, 34, 955–966.

Jacobsen, R. & Beck, M. (2010). Where oysters grew on trees. The New York Times.

2009

Airoldi, L., Connell, S.D. & Beck, M.W. (2009). The loss of natural habitats and the addition of artificial substrata. In: Marine hard bottom communities, Ecological Studies (ed. Wahl, M.). Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 269–280.

Carranza, A., Defeo, O. & Beck, M. (2009). Diversity, conservation status and threats to native oysters (Ostreidae) around the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts of South America. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 19, 344–353.

Carranza, A., Defeo, O., Beck, M. & Castilla, J.C. (2009). Linking fisheries management and conservation in bioengineering species: the case of South American mussels (Mytilidae). Rev Fish Biol Fisheries, 19, 349–366.

Crain, C.M., Halpern, B.S., Beck, M.W. & Kappel, C.V. (2009). Understanding and managing human threats to the coastal marine environment. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1162, 39–62.

Geselbracht, L., Torres, R., Cumming, G.S., Dorfman, D., Beck, M. & Shaw, D. (2009). Identification of a spatially efficient portfolio of priority conservation sites in marine and estuarine areas of Florida. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 19, 408–420.

Guidetti, P., Beck, M.W., Bussotti, S., Ciccolella, A., D’Ambrosio, P., Lembo, G., Spedicato, M.T. & Boero, F. (2009). Nursery habitats for Mediterranean coastal fishes: the need for a quantitative approach. Biol. Mar. Mediterr., 16, 197–200.

Hale, L.Z., Meliane, I., Davidson, S., Sandwith, T., Beck, M., et al. (2009). Ecosystem-based adaptation in marine and coastal ecosystems. Renewable Resources Journal, 25, 21–28.

Palumbi, S.R., Sandifer, P.A., Allan, J.D., Beck, M.W., Fautin, D.G., Fogarty, M.J., Halpern, B.S., Incze, L.S., Leong, J.-A., Norse, E., Stachowicz, J.J. & Wall, D.H. (2009). Managing for ocean biodiversity to sustain marine ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 204–211.

2008

Airoldi, L., Balata, D. & Beck, M.W. (2008). The Gray Zone: relationships between habitat loss and marine diversity and their applications in conservation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine ecology: A tribute to the life and work of John S. Gray, 366, 8–15.

2007

Airoldi, L. & Beck, M.W. (2007). Loss, status and trends for coastal marine habitats of Europe. Annual Review of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Annual Review of Marine Biology and Oceanography, 345–405.

2005

Airoldi, L., Abbiati, M., Beck, M.W., Hawkins, S.J., Jonsson, P.R., Martin, D., Moschella, P.S., Sundelöf, A., Thompson, R.C. & Åberg, P. (2005). An ecological perspective on the deployment and design of low-crested and other hard coastal defence structures. Coastal Engineering, Low Crested Structures and the Environment, 52, 1073–1087.

2004

Beck, M.W., Marsh, T.D., Reisewitz, S.E. & Bortman, M.L. (2004). New tools for marine conservation: the leasing and ownership of submerged lands. Conservation Biology, 18, 1214–1223.

2001

Beck, M.W., Heck, K.L., Able, K.W., Childers, D.L., Eggleston, D.B., Gillanders, B.M., Halpern, B., Hays, C.G., Hoshino, K., Minello, T.J., Orth, R.J., Sheridan, P.F. & Weinstein, M.P. (2001). The identification, conservation and management of estuarine and marine nurseries for fish and invertebrates. BioScience, 51, 633–641.

1998

Beck, M.W. (1998). Comparison of the measurement and effects of habitat structure on gastropods in rocky intertidal and mangrove habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser, 169, 165–178.

1997

Beck, M.W. (1997). A test of the generality of the effects of shelter bottlenecks in four stone crab populations. Ecology, 78, 2487–2503.

Beck, M.W. (1997). Inference and generality in ecology: current problems and an experimental solution. Oikos, 78, 265–273.

1996

Beck, M.W. (1996). On discerning the cause of the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions. Paleobiology, 22, 91–103.

1995

Mopper, S., Beck, M., Simberloff, D. & Stiling, P. (1995). Local adaptation and agents of selection in a mobile insect. Evolution, 49, 810–815.

1992

Beck, M.W. & Connor, E.F. (1992). Factors affecting the reproductive success of the crab spider Misumenoides formosipes: the covariance between juvenile and adult traits. Oecologia, 92, 287–295.

Dr. Michael W. Beck is the lead marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy and an adjunct Professor in Ocean Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he is based.

Mike works on coastal marine conservation in 5 continents across science, business and policy to bring clear tools and results to decision-makers. Mike focuses on building coastal resilience in the interface between adaptation and conservation, where he works to reduce risks to people, property and nature.

Mike has authored more than sixty peer-reviewed science articles. His work covers topics from the role of coral reefs in reducing risks from storms to the effects of people on extinctions of Pleistocene mammals.

He has also published numerous popular articles including Op-eds in the Miami Herald, NY Times, Huffington Post and Caribbean Journal.

He was a Fulbright Fellow and an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney. He has served on advisory boards and panels for NOAA, EPA and the National Academy of Sciences. And in 2012, Mike was selected as a Pew Marine Conservation Fellow.

His main areas of work include:

  1. coastal hazards mitigation and climate adaptation in the U.S., Caribbean and Micronesia;
  2. habitat restoration and oyster reefs at risk; and
  3. marine spatial planning in the U.S. and internationally;
  4. restoration investments following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;
  5. continued work on the nursery role of near-shore habitats such as kelp forests and on marine conservation agreements, including the lease and ownership of submerged lands.

Mike has published numerous scientific papers and books. (See the publications tab for a list of his latest papers.)

Mike has appeared in many elite media outlets. Read some of his media coverage here:

Contact

Geraldine Henrich-Koenis
Media Contact
Phone: (703) 841-3939
E-mail: ghenrich-koenis@tnc.org

Connect with Mike

Cool Green Science

Areas of Expertise

  • Climate adaptation
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Shellfish reefs/beds
  • The intersection of marine science and policy

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