Co-director Jim Leape explains how technology can help transform and save the ocean on the World Economic Forum's blog Agenda.


> Read Blog here


Download Policy Briefs

Online Viewer

Download Data Resources

What's Happening?


Rising seas and battering winter storms under a changing climate are reshaping California’s coastline. This shifting line in the sand demands an informed response from coastal resource managers and local governments, who are charged with protecting their constituents from coastal hazards while ensuring the sustained protection of beaches and the public’s access to them. Proactive climate adaptation planning can help local governments deliberatively manage their coastlines and perhaps even avoid the worst effects of anticipated flooding and other hazards.

Since 2010, the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, in collaboration with the Natural Capital Project, has assisted coastal decision makers with incorporating an ecosystem service approach—one that includes the multiple benefits natural systems provide to people—into their proactive climate adaptation planning.  


Surfer’s Beach in San Mateo County is one of many examples that portray active adaptation decision making that impacts our relationship with the coastline.  

Our Process


In an evolving multi-year engagement, COS’s climate adaptation team engaged directly with city, county, regional, and state officials across California to co-develop policy-relevant information to aid in local-level climate adaptation planning. 




We analyzed the protective role of natural habitats (e.g., dunes, wetlands) in reducing the exposure of critical water infrastructure (e.g., pipes, pumps, tide gates) to inform regional water management planning in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.


Our team provided ecosystem service assessments with additional policy-relevant considerations for Monterey, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Sonoma Counties to assist them in their Local Coastal Program updates or amendments. 


We met in person with local planners, managers, or coastal adaptation practitioners in every coastal county to identify and distill science, policy, or legal considerations to inform adaptation decision making and implementation. 


What We Found 


Coastal California habitats—including dense kelp forests, wetlands, and expansive beach and dune systems—play varying protective roles throughout the coast. While some larger natural systems play a relatively high role in protecting people and property in the state (e.g., high dunes in southern Monterey Bay, marsh habitat in Humboldt Bay), smaller habitat areas can provide significant reduction in coastal erosion and inundation at a local level. 

Local governments can harness certain nature-based strategies, such as dune or wetland restoration, to deal with these impacts. These green solutions are potentially more cost effective, less environmentally damaging, and more resilient than competing grey armored coastal adaptation techniques. However, not all locations are suitable for nature-based responses. Coastal communities can instead employ a suite of financial and legal coastal adaptation options, in addition to suitable engineered solutions.  

Some of these coastal adaptation strategies are limited by place-based features (e.g., geomorphology, zoning type, habitat presence, degree of development) while others are not. There is momentum at the California state and local levels to advance climate adaptation planning, yet uncertainty pervades these opportunities and will drive the need for more guidance and information in the future. 


Our Products 


Consultations with planners and local government officials around the state have revealed existing knowledge gaps regarding coastal adaptation, particularly around strategy effectiveness and potential legal issues. To address these gaps, COS co-developed a set of coastal adaptation policy briefs, a beta online viewer, and a compilation of relevant data sets, all tailored to the feedback and needs of local communities. 


Policy Briefs 

Our team collaborated with the Stanford Law School to compile seventeen highly-distilled policy briefs on adaptation strategy topics identified by coastal planners and others working in this field. These briefs highlight tradeoffs, legal considerations, and examples for each topic. 

Online Viewer 

We co-developed a user-friendly beta online viewer that allows coastal planners to interact with the results of our work including a statewide analysis of the protective role of coastal habitats and a synthesis of locations with enabling conditions for specific adaptation strategies. 

Data Resources Download 

The statewide results from our InVEST Coastal Vulnerability Analysis as well as our coastal zoning layer are available for public download. 


What's Next?


We developed a scalable approach to linking coastal vulnerability analysis with land use law and policy decision-making processes. Our work has been scaled-up to city, county, multi-county and state applications. Each iteration reflects an evolution in our methodology for bridging climate and ecosystem services science, law, and policy in diverse geographies and decision contexts. 



Project Lead: Eric Hartge, 

Legal Lead: Jesse Reiblich,

Science Lead: Gregg Verutes, 

Analysis Lead: Lisa Wedding, 



Katie Arkema, Meg Caldwell, Gretchen Daily, Ashley Erickson, Dave Fisher, Don Gourlie, Rob Griffin, Greg Guannel, Anne Guerry, Sierra Killian, Suzanne Langridge, Winn McEnery, Molly Melius, Monica Moritsch, Erin Prahler, Sarah Reiter, Mary Ruckelshaus, Giselle Schmitz, Jess Silver, Cole Sito, Debbie Sivas, Hilary Walecka, Jessica Williams 


This multi-year project was made possible through funding contributions from the David & Lucille Packard Foundation and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment through the Realizing Environmental Innovation Program


Advancing Coastal Climate Adaptation in California (Fact Sheet) 

Integrating Coastal Vulnerability and Land Use Planning (Fact Sheet) 


Enabling and Limiting Conditions of Coastal Adaptation: Local Governments, Land Uses, and Legal Challenges. 2017. Reiblich, J., Wedding, L.M. and E. H. Hartge 

The Forty-Year-Old Statute: Unintended Consequences of the Coastal Act and How They Might Be Redressed. 2016. Reiblich, J and E. H. Hartge 

Coastal Access Equity and the Implementation of the California Coastal Act. 2016. Reineman, D.R., Wedding, L.M., Hartge, E., McEnery, W., and J. Reiblich. 

Modeling and Mapping Coastal Ecosystem Services to Support Climate Adaptation Planning. 2016. Chapter 20. Wedding, L.M., Reiter, S., Hartge, E., Guannel, G., et al.

Climate Adaptation Planning in the Monterey Bay Region: An Iterative Spatial Framework for Engagement at the Local Level. 2015. Reiter, S.M., Wedding, L.M., Hartge, E., LaFeir, L and M.R. Caldwell 

Key Lessons for Incorporating Natural Infrastructure into Regional Climate Adaptation Planning. 2014. Langridge, S.M., Hartge, E. H., et al. 

Related Topics: 

Why ocean Acidification Matters to California, and What California Can Do About It 

Washington State’s Legal and Policy Options for Combatting Ocean Acidification in State Waters 

Factoring Ocean Acidification into California Water Quality Standards 

The Public Trust Doctrine: A Guiding Principle for Governing California’s Coast Under Climate Change 

Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions fellows, affiliates, students, and researchers join scientists from across the nation and the world at the biannual Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about new COS-affiliated research at #OSM18. 


About Ocean Sciences Meeting 2018:


The 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM), co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society(TOS), will be held 11–16 February, in Portland, Oregon. The OSM is an important venue for scientific exchange across broad marine science disciplines. Sessions will include all aspects of oceanography, especially multidisciplinary topics, as well as presentations that reflect new and emerging research on the global ocean and society, including science education, outreach, and public policy. 


Monday, February 12, 2018


Oral Presentations:

09:15am-09:30am | Oregon Convention Center – F150

Sustaining Ocean Observations to Understand Future Changes in Earth's Climate - Emily Twigg (National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine), Mary M Glackin, Robert A. Weller, Edward A. Boyle, Robert B. Dunbar, Robert Hallberg, Patrick Heimbach, Mark A. Merrifield, Dean H. Roemmich, Lynne D. Talley, Martin Visbeck

09:36am-09:48am | Oregon Convention Center – Oregon Ballroom 201

Unexpected resilience of seagrass-epiphyte grazer mutualism to future ocean acidification - Juhyung Lee, Fiorenza Micheli, Kristy Kroeker, and Brent Hughes

10:30am – 12:30pm | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

Multiscale Topographic Effects on Large-Scale Flow: From Wakes and Lee Waves to Small-Scale Turbulence and Mixing IOliver B Fringer (Primary Chair)

02:00pm – 04:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

Multiscale Topographic Effects on Large-Scale Flow: From Wakes and Lee Waves to Small-Scale Turbulence and Mixing IIOliver B Fringer (Primary Chair)


Poster Presentations:

04:00pm-06:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – Poster Hall

Zooplankton feeling climate changes in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica - Ho Kyung Ha, Hyoung Sul La, Keyhong Park, Anna Wahlin, Kevin R Arrigo, Dongseon Kim, Eun Jin Yang, Angus Atkinson, Sophie Fielding, Jungho Im, Tae-Wan Kim, Hyeong Chul Shin, and Sang Hoon Lee

Connecting the Dots: Coastal Adaptation Decision Making Under Rising Seas - Eric Hartge, Jesse Reiblich, Lisa Wedding, and Greg Verutes

Daily variability of the carbon system within a giant kelp forest habitat across three seasons - Kerry Jean Nickols (California State University Northridge)

Diurnal and sub-diurnal impacts of tropical seagrass community metabolism on the seawater carbonate system - Heidi Hirsh (Stanford University)

Multiscale Topographic Effects on Large-Scale Flow: From Wakes and Lee Waves to Small-Scale Turbulence and Mixing III PostersOliver B Fringer (Primary Chair)


Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Oral Presentations:

08:00am-10:00am | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

Recent Advancements in Stratified Turbulent Mixing I - Stephen Monismith and Jeffrey Koseff (Chairs)

08:00am-10:00am | Oregon Convention Center – B117-B119

The Red Sea: A Laboratory for Ocean Processes in a Changing World IStephen Monismith (co-chair)

09:00am-09:15am | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

Buoyancy Fluxes in Stratified Flows: Observations and Parameterizations - Stephen Monismith, Jeffrey Koseff, Clifton Brock Woodson, Geno R. Pawlak, Kristen A. Davis, Ryan K Walter, Jamie Dunckley and Michael E Squibb

11:30am-12:30pm | Oregon Convention Center – Portland Ballroom

Biological Propulsion in (and of?) the Ocean – John O. Dabiri

02:00pm-04:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

Recent Advancements in Stratified Turbulent Mixing II - Stephen Monismith and Jeffrey Koseff (co-chairs and moderators)

03:15pm-03:30pm | Oregon Convention Center – E145-E146

Oceanographic drivers of the vertical distribution of a highly migratory, endothermic shark  - Daniel Coffey, Aaron B Carlisle, Elliott L. Hazen, Barbara Block

03:45pm-04:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – Oregon Ballroom 202

Dense Gravity Currents with Breaking Internal Waves - Yukinobu Tanimoto, Charlie Alan Renshaw Hogg, Nicholas T Ouellette, and Jeffrey R Koseff

03:45pm-04:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – E145-E146

Electronic Tags Permit Long-Term Monitoring and Mortality Estimates of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - Barbara Block, Rebecca Whitlock, Mike Stokesbury, Robert Schallert, Steve Wilson


Poster Presentations:

04:00pm-06:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – Poster Hall

Recent Advancements in Stratified Turbulent Mixing III PostersStephen Monismith (co-chair)

The Red Sea: A Laboratory for Ocean Processes in a Changing World II PostersStephen Monismith (co-chair)

Water Column Modeling of Stratification and Turbulence in a Tidal RiverStephen Monismith (co-chair)

Characterization of and controls on phytoplankton productivity along the Western Antarctic Peninsula - Hannah Joy-Warren, Gert van Dijken, Katelyn Lewis, Anne-Carlijn Alderkamp, Virgina Selz, and Kevin R Arrigo


Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Oral Presentation:

08:26am-08:39am | Oregon Convention Center – E141-E142

Adapting to a changing climate: the human dimensions of California’s coast - Sierra Killian, Lisa Wedding, Eric Hartge, and Gregg Verutes


Poster Presentations:

04:00pm-06:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – Poster Hall

Nitrogen cycling processes across the upper and lower boundaries of the Primary Nitrite Maximum in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific - Nicole Mayu Travis, Matthew Sean Forbes, and Karen Casciotti

Abundance and activity of the N2 fixing unicellular Cyanobacterial symbiont UCYN-A at a Southern California coastal site: light and nutrient controls - Matthew M Mills, Kendra A Turk-Kubo, Samuel T Wilson, Kevin R Arrigo, and Jonathan P Zehr


Thursday, February 15, 2018


Oral Presentations:

08:45am-09:00am | Oregon Convention Center – C123-C124

The ice shelf meltwater pump contribution to vertical exchange over the open shelf in the Amundsen Sea and elsewhere around Antarctica - Michael S Dinniman, Pierre St-Laurent, Kevin R Arrigo, Eileen E Hofmann, John Michael Klinck, Robert M Sherrell, Sharon Elisabeth Stammerjohn, and Patricia L Yager

09:00am-09:15am | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

A Spectral Graph-Theoretic Approach to Identification of Coherence in Ocean Flows – Kristy Lynn Schlueter-Kuck and John O. Dabiri

09:30am-09:45am | Oregon Convention Center – Oregon Ballroom 201

The role of lateral boundaries in sediment transport due to river plumes in rotational, stratified environments – Stephen Monismith and Oliver B. Fringer

10:30am-12:30pm | Oregon Convention Center – D139-D140

Innovations in Interdisciplinary Ocean Leadership and Workforce Development for Early-Career Scientists ILaura Good (Chair)

12:15pm-12:30pm | Oregon Convention Center – Oregon Ballroom 203

Integrated field and laboratory approaches to assess the performance of juvenile abalone under climate change and local oceanographic variability - Charles A. Boch, Fiorenza Micheli, Clifton Brock Woodson, Maha W Alnajjar, Jody M Beers, Stephen G Monismith, Giulio De Leo, Steven Yitzchak Litvin, Emil Aalto, Jose Bonilla, Antonio Espinoza, Leonardo Vazquez, and James Barry

12:45pm-01:45pm | Oregon Convention Center – D139-D140

Understanding the Professional Learning Needs of Emerging Ocean LeadersLaura Good and Ashley Erickson

03:30pm-03:45pm | Oregon Convention Center – Oregon Ballroom 201

Hydrodynamic roughness: spatial variability of bottom drag on a coral reefStephen Monismith, Justin Rogers, Samantha Allysa Maticka, Clifton Brock Woodson, Benjamin Brian Hefner, Ved Chirayath and Juan Alonso


Poster Presentations:

04:00pm-06:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – Poster Hall

Education, Outreach and Policy: Examining the Professional Learning Needs of Emerging Environmental Leaders – Laura Good

Innovations in Interdisciplinary Ocean Leadership and Workforce Development for Early-Career Scientists PostersLaura Good

Effect of canopy inhomogeneity in submerged vegetative flow - Hayoon Chung, Tracy Mandel, and Jeffrey R Koseff

Internal Waves/Tides and Sediment Processes on Continental Margins I PostersOliver B. Fringer

Observations of Suspended Sediment Dynamics in San Francisco Bay using Landsat 7 Imagery – Oliver B. Fringer

Development and Deployment of a Diver-Operated Volumetric Velocimetry Imaging System – John O. Dabiri

The effects of visible and ultraviolet radiation on under-ice phytoplankton growth - Kevin R Arrigo, Kate E Lowry, Katelyn Lewis, Matthew M Mills, and Atsushi Matsuoka

Ice algal production in the Chukchi Sea from 1979 to present - Virgina Selz, Benjamin T Saenz, Gert van Dijken, and Kevin R Arrigo

Flow and Drag over a Seagrass Bed in Nikko Bay, Republic of Palau - Natasha Batista, Holly Francis, Heidi Hirsh, Geory Mereb and Stephen Monismith


Friday, February 16, 2018


Oral Presentations:

08:15am-08:30am | Oregon Convention Center – C123-C124

Acclimation Strategies of Arctic Ocean Phytoplankton to the Seasonal Transition from Light to Nutrient Limitation - Katelyn Lewis, Kevin R Arrigo, Matthew M Mills, Gert van Dijken, Kate E Lowry, Virgina Selz, and Hannah Joy-Warren

10:45am-11:00am | Oregon Convention Center – E141-E142

Swarm-scale eddies generated by collective swimmersIsabel Houghton and John O. Dabiri

11:00am-11:15am | Oregon Convention Center – Oregon Ballroom 201

Flocculation dynamics under various hydrodynamic conditions in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta
Ivy Bifu Huang, Andrew James Manning, and Stephen Monismith

11:30am-11:45am | Oregon Convention Center – E141-E142

Characterizing Submerged Ecosystems and Their Hydrodynamics from Surface Disturbances - Tracy Mandel, Hayoon Chung, and Jeffrey R Koseff

11:45am-12:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – E141-E142

The Pressure’s On, Then Off: Sea Lampreys Rapidly Switch from Push to Pull Thrust When Accelerating from RestKevin Du Clos, John O. Dabiri and Brad Gemmell

02:00pm-04:00pm | Oregon Convention Center – A107-A109

Internal Waves/Tides and Sediment Processes on Continental Margins II – Oliver B. Fringer (co-chair)



Natasha manages finances and operations for the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. Natasha joined us in fall 2017. 



Mary Cameron joined the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions in December 2017 as a postdoctoral scholar, modeling the effects of multiple stressors in the Arctic marine system. She is a member of the interdisciplinary Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions project team, addressing the resiliency and health of our oceans in the context of climate change. Mary received a B.S. in mathematics from Arizona State University and M.S. in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford. She remained at Stanford for a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering, modeling the effects of aircraft emissions on climate and air pollution. 

Outside of atmospheric science, Mary has worked on diverse projects within and outside of academia including brain tumor modeling, data validation for nonprofits, renewable energy and electrical grid modeling, document classification with natural language processing, interactive data visualizations for science communication and engagement, teaching and curriculum development at different grade levels, and even worked as a data scientist at a tech start-up before transitioning to COS. Drawing upon the tools in each of these fields helps Mary approach ocean modeling from a different perspective, where interdisciplinary collaboration is key. She is excited to work with social and physical scientists, engineers, lawyers, and students on campus, as well as with partners at Oxford University and the Ocean Conservancy to help understand and protect the world's oceans. 


Earlier this month, the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions hosted a lunch forum with the Woods Institute for the Environment, focused on Challenges in the Arctic: Managing an Expanding Ocean Frontier. Arctic policy experts came together to better understand and address the potential impacts of multiple stressors in the region.

One of the key takeaways?

“What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” according to Fran Ulmer, who chairs the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. She and other experts discussed many of the big issues related to key ocean stressors that threaten the Arctic. As this region is increasingly buffeted by climate change, shipping is increasing, offshore oil and gas development is occurring and perhaps expanding, and commercial fisheries may open in the future. The discussion also covered policy and management implications, all in an effort to better understand the key challenges and stresses this region will face over the next 10-20 years.

The following experts participated:

Janis Searles Jones (CEO, Ocean Conservancy)
Fran Ulmer (Chair, U.S. Arctic Research Commission)
Denny Kelso (Program Director of Marine Conservation, Moore Foundation)

Jim Leape, co-director of the Center for Ocean Solutions, moderated the discussion.



Joanna Lin is currently a Geospatial Research Assistant on the Catalyst project at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. She helps support the quantitative work associated with modeling and mapping multiple stressors in Arctic ecosystems. Joanna comes to the Catalyst project with a background in geospatial and analytical analysis. Her research experience is focused on machine learning, remote sensing, and GIS. She is interested in the ecological and physical impacts of human activities on the environment.

Joanna is currently a Master’s student in the Environmental Engineering and Science program at Stanford. Before joining COS, she worked as a student operator at Stanford’s Codiga Resource Recovery Center from 2016 to 2017. Her daily work involves water quality testing and data management. She was a summer intern at Ramboll in 2017, evaluating and analyzing groundwater data for inclusion in technical reports.


Contact Information:


Phone: (702) 413-8235


Where: Ingersoll 122, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
When: Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017
Register HERE by Dec 5

Join us for a panel discussion around the "Big Ocean Data" revolution and how it has the potential to affect decision makers such as the Department of Defense in ocean policy, national defense, and environmental conservation. Stay after the panel for an informal mixer at NPS' trident bar.
The Chief of Naval Operations has ordered the Navy to assess the state of ocean science including oceanographic infrastructure, technology, and technical workforce.  Task Force Ocean was created to address this assessment, and create a roadmap.  The roadmap will focus on the Navy’s current capability to observe the ocean, process the data, and create products for the operational commanders.  A critical component of the roadmap addresses the connection of large amounts of stored data, processing the data, and decision-making.  This panel discussion will discuss these current challenges in relation to ocean policy, national defense, and environmental conservation. 
Open to students, faculty, and staff in the MARINE network. Spaces are limited.



Dr. Marcus Stefanou, NPS CS Dept, COL. (Ret.) USAF, is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, where he is coordinating the school's data science initiatives.  His current research interest is at the intersection of data science and earth remote sensing to facilitate a balanced framework for system architecture, design, performance assessment, and information exploitation.  Specifically, he seeks to devise efficient search strategies for patterns of interest in large remote sensing datasets to solve a wide array of military, law enforcement, environmental, and civil problem sets. 


Dr. Geoff Shester, CA Campaign Director and Senior Scientist OCEANA, is Oceana’s California Campaign Director based in Oceana’s Monterey office and working with Oceana’s Pacific Team. After completing a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Geoff Shester interned for the Exxon Valdez Restoration Office in Anchorage, Alaska and then landed his first big job at Oceana’s first field office located in Juneau, Alaska in 2002. He earned his doctorate in the Stanford University Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources out of Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, studying the interplay between marine ecology and the economics of small-scale fisheries in Baja California. He was the Senior Science Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program from 2008-2010, where he led a team of scientists responsible for evaluating the sustainability of hundreds of types of wild and farmed seafood.


Dr. Wendell Nuss is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Meteorology under the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School. His teaching and research interests include Tropospheric and Stratospheric Meteorology, Operational Weather Prediction, Mesoscale Meteorology, and Coastal Meteorology. In his capcity as a teacher and active conductor of research, he frequently draws on big ocean data sets to inform meteoroligical questions. Dr. Nuss received his masters in Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington before staying on to complete his PhD.


Mr. Bruce Gritton, FNMOC Technical Director Staff, is a member of the FNMOC Technical Director Staff, the Chief IT Architect for the Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command, and chief representative to the Navy’s Digital Warfare Office. Mr. Gritton is responsible for developing, assessing, communicating, and implementing Enterprise Architectures and Solution Architectures for Naval and Joint METOC. He has led strategic initiatives for Naval METOC including the Navy Enterprise Portal - Oceanography and Enterprise Geospatial Enablement Initiatives. Mr. Gritton develops IT strategies and associated policy to align METOC project portfolios to key operational goals.



Location:  Ingersoll 122, Naval Postgraduate School. Park in lots F or G.

NPS GATE ACCESS: All visitors without prior Naval Postgraduate School gate access permissions will need to submit a SECNAV 5512 form for a background check beforehand. In order to be confirmed as an attendee, we must receive this form back from you no later than December 5, 2017 (email to Please fill out boxes 1-31, and use LT Kellen T Jones 626-590-3873 for the information requested in Box 25. If you have trouble viewing the PDF, we recommend opening it outside of your browser directly through Adobe Acrobat.

Please note: Seminar registrants without this authorization will be turned away from the gate on the day. If you have questions regarding this process, please contact us at