The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation is a prestigious program that provides funding for a three-year scientific research or conservation project designed to address critical challenges facing our oceans. (Read our press release and the Pew announcement.)
“We believe strongly in having world-class scientists on our teams and the Pew Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards in applied science,” said Conservancy chief scientist Peter Kareiva. “It’s wonderful to have Mike get this recognition for his work that has consistently been at the forefront of finding innovative solutions to real-world problems.”
Mike Beck’s project will look at how the restoration of “green infrastructure”—such as wetlands and coral reefs—can help protect coastal communities from climate change and coastal hazards like storm surge and sea-level rise.
His work will include developing tools to help decision makers address coastal risks from climate change and directing resources toward green infrastructure solutions with a specific focus on tropical nations.
“I’m hoping to show through research and tools that ecosystem restoration is an effective option for hazard mitigation and climate adaptation,” said Beck.
A focus of his work will be assessing the advantages of green infrastructure over traditional “grey infrastructure” solutions, such as sea walls and jetties, which often damage the same coastal systems that can act as natural buffers against coastal hazards.
“Dr. Beck’s project is designed to demonstrate that the planet’s own defenses often provide shorelines with better protection against natural disasters than man-made structures,” said Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group.
Beck has already done significant research on the subjects of coastal hazards and climate change adaptation, publishing recent papers such as:
- The Protective Role of Coastal Marshes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (2011)
- Assessing future risk: quantifying the effects of sea level rise on storm surge risk for the southern shores of Long Island, New York (2011)
Read one of his recent blog posts—Nature’s Most Overlooked Benefit: Reefs Breaking Waves—and see his full bio here.
(Image 1: Conservancy biologist Mike Beck performs a rockfish survey in the upper canopy of a kelp forest along the Big Sur Coast, California, as part of a UC Santa Cruz joint research project. Source: Richard Herrmann. Image 2: Marine scientist Mike Beck.)