IMS Affiliated Faculty

Michael W. Beck
  • Title
    • Research Professor
  • Division Physical & Biological Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Institute of Marine Sciences
    • Ocean Sciences Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Long Marine Lab Ocean Health Building, COH 210
  • Mail Stop Long Marine Lab
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Marine Sciences

Biography, Education and Training

Dr. Michael W. Beck is a Researcher Professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. Mike works on marine conservation across science, business and policy to bring clear tools and results to decision-makers. Mike focuses on building coastal resilience and aims to reduce risks to people, property and nature. His approach is multi-disciplinary across ecology, engineering and economics. Mike has authored many peer-reviewed science articles; reports commissioned by key agencies (e.g., World Bank); and numerous on-line, interactive decision-support tools. 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 NY Times, The Hill, Miami Herald, The Scientist and the Huffington Post. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and Pew Marine Conservation Fellow. Mike worked for 20 years at The Nature Conservancy helping first to establish a global marine program and then to serve as Lead Marine Scientist. 

Selected Publications



Beck, M. W., I. Losada, P. Menendez, Reguero, B.G., P. Diaz Simal, F. Fernandez. 2018. The global flood protection savings provided by coral reefs. Nature Communications 9:2186.

Reguero, B.G., M.W. Beck, D. Bresch, J. Calil, I. Meliane.  2018. Comparing the cost effectiveness of Nature-based and artificial Coastal Adaptation: A case study from the Gulf Coast of the United States.  PLoS ONE 13(4): e0192132.

Narayan, S., M.W. Beck, P. Wilson, C. Thomas, A. Guerrero, C. Shepard, B. G. Reguero, G. Franco, C. J. Ingram, D. Trespalacios. 2017. The Value of Coastal Wetlands for Flood Damage Reduction in the Northeastern USA. Scientific Reports 7:9463.

Ferrario, F., M. W. Beck, C. Storlazzi, F. Micheli, C. Shepard, L. Airoldi. 2014. The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction. Nature Communications 5,3794: 1-9.

Shepard, C., Crain, C., Beck, M.W. 2011. The protective role of coastal marshes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27374.

Beck, M. W., Heck, K. L. Jr. , 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.

Beck, M. W., R. D. Brumbaugh, L. Airoldi, A., Carranza, L. D. Coen, C. Crawford, O. Defeo, G. J. Edgar, B. Hancock, M. Kay, H. Lenihan, M. W. Luckenbach, C. L. Toropova, G. Zhang, X. Guo. 2011. Oyster reefs at risk globally and recommendations for ecosystem revitalization. Bioscience 61:107-116.