Dr. Michael W. Beck is a Research Professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. 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.


  • 2016–present
    Research Professor, University of California Santa Cruz
  • 1998–2019
    Lead Marine Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
  • 2000–2016
    Adjunct assistant professor, University of California Santa Cruz


  • 1995 
    Florida State University, Ph.D.
  • 1991 
    University of Virginia, MS
  • 1988 
    University of Virginia, BA


Fulbright Fellow, Pew Marine Conservation Fellow, Australia Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow