Paytan Biogeochemistry Lab

photos of sunsets

Nadine Heck

Ocean and coastal governance, perception of environmental impacts, adaptation to environmental change, multi-criteria decision-making, parks and protected areas, human dimensions of fisheries

Institute of Marine Sciences University of California, Santa Cruz nheckATucscDOTedu

nadine Heck


I grew up near Lake Constance in Southern Germany and have been living close to lakes and the ocean ever since. I studied Physical and Human Geography at the University of Freiburg and completed my MSc in Geography at the University of Exeter and my PhD in Geography at the University of Leeds. My doctoral research focused on marine protected area management in British Columbia and I worked with Prof. Philip Dearden and the Marine Protected Area Research Group (MPARG) at the University of Victoria during my time in BC. I continued to research human dimensions of fisheries in the Great Lakes basin as a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University before I joined the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz in August 2014. My current research focuses on impacts of desalination plants on coastal ecosystems, public perception, and policy decision-making.

Project Description

Desalination plants - Impacts on coastal ecology, public perception, and public policy (NSF Coastal SEES track 1)

My research investigates differences in coastal residents’ views on the use of seawater desalination to respond to climate change, and local understanding of desalination impacts on marine ecosystems in coastal California. The project compares adaptation preferences in multiple communities with different socio-economic profiles and environmental settings in central and Southern California.

In addition, I am conducting geostatistical analysis in ArcGIS to identify spatial patterns of multiple impacts on marine ecosystems from a desalination plant based on data collected in situ by my project collaborator Karen Lykkkebo Petersen. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation under the Coastal SEES program. For more information on the project visit our website.

Page last updated November 1, 2016