Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience

Spring 2021 Virtual Seminar Series


Austin Becker
University of Rhode Island

Monday, March 15, 2021
3:30 PM

Zoom link


This presentation will synthesize and highlight some of the major takeaways from the 10+ years of work conducted by Dr. Austin Becker and his associates in the "Marine Affairs Coastal Resilience Lab" at the University of Rhode Island. These research investigations span a variety of coastal infrastructure resilience topics, including communicating storm impacts to emergency managers in Rhode Island, perceptions of climate change amongst port administrators (globally), impacts of hurricanes on port communities, barriers to resilience investing at northeast ports, and vulnerability assessments undertaken by U.S. ports. Over the years, Dr. Becker's lab has worked with both the American Association of Port Authorities and the International Association of Ports and Harbors, the U.S. Committee on the Maritime Transportation System, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the American Society of Civil Engineers to conduct this applied research that informs decision making and policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Together, the projects discussed in this presentation shed light on how coastal infrastructure (and its societal dependents) are challenged by natural hazards now and in the future.


Dr. Austin Becker is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island. As an interdisciplinary scientist, he works across the fields of planning, policy, engineering, and ocean science. He uses coastal infrastructure as a case study, focusing on creating and testing tools that help decision makers engage with complex problems involving uncertainty, consequences of natural hazards and large-scale shifts in climate, and the resulting challenges in policy and planning. Dr. Becker serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Maritime Policy and Management, co-editor of the book, Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Ports, and as Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting. Since 2011, he has served as an expert member of the United Nations Expert Group on Climate Adaptation for Transport. In 2020, he was appointed as Visiting Fellow at the U.S. Naval War College, where he undertakes research on hazard impacts to Naval Station Newport and the surrounding municipalities. Dr. Becker has over 35 peer-reviewed publications and in 2017 was awarded the prestigious Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences. He earned a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. In an earlier career, Dr. Becker captained sail training vessels and still maintains a 500-ton U.S. Coast Guard captain's license for ocean-going vessels.

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