About the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research

The National Center for Integrated Coastal Research (UCF Coastal) integrates science with societal needs to find solutions. Our team of interdisciplinary researchers and scientists is committed to an evidence-based, whole-community approach to increase the resiliency and sustainability of coastal communities by bringing together biologists, chemists, engineers, emergency managers, sociologists, political scientists, medical researchers, economists and urban planners. Responsible management of Florida’s exceptional coastal resources and ocean-based economy depends on innovative scientific research to address complex environmental, economic and social challenges. UCF Coastal’s goal is to link the ecological security of coastal ecosystems with the economic security of coastal communities, ensuring the sustainability of our coastlines and economy for generations to come.

Graham Worthy


Graham Worthy, Ph.D.

Pegasus Professor and Chair
Department of Biology
UCF College of Sciences

Christopher Emrich

Science Director

Christopher Emrich, Ph.D.

Boardman Endowed Associate
Professor of Environmental Science
and Public Administration

Did you Know?

  • Miami is listed as number 10 on the list of global cities most likely to run out of drinking water.  This is due to saltwater intrusion into the Biscayne Aquifer, the city’s main source of fresh water. (United Nations)
  • 2017 was the costliest hurricane season ever with a total of $306.2 billion in damages from Harvey on Texas, Irma on Florida, Maria on Puerto Rico and Nate on Mississippi. (FEMA)
  • VISIT FLORIDA estimated that a record 116.5 million visitors came to Florida in 2017: 102.3 million domestic visitors, 10.7 million overseas visitors and 3.5 million Canadian visitors.
  • Florida has 1,800 miles of coastline and about 500,000 acres of salt marsh.  Coastal development has reduced the amount of salt marsh in Florida and therefore reduced the ecosystem services salt marshes can provide (such as flood prevention and storm protection).

Support UCF Coastal

FEMA has distributed more than $81 billion in response to disasters since 1992 Tourism generates 23% of Florida's state sales tax revenue 40% of the world's population live in coastal areas Miami, New York and New Orleans are some of the most vulnerable to sea-level rise

Cluster Faculty Focus

Sergio Alvarez

Sergio Alvarez , Ph.D.

Dr. Alvarez’s research focus is on issues related to fisheries, coastal adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts, valuation of ecosystem services, and modeling coupled social-ecological systems.

Jacopo Baggio

Jacopo Baggio , Ph.D.

Dr. Baggio’s research focuses on analyzing and modelling social-ecological systems. Specifically on social-ecological networks, characterizing inter-dependencies between biodiversity, food, water, energy and decision making.

Kristy Lewis

Kristy Lewis , Ph.D.

Dr. Lewis’ research investigates the ecology of natural and anthropogenic induced changes on estuarine and marine food webs and coastal communities.

Thomas Wahl

Thomas Wahl , Ph.D.

Dr. Wahl’s research connects civil/coastal engineering and various science disciplines (e.g., oceanography, hydrology, meteorology, climatology) to better understand the vulnerability of coastal societies, built infrastructure, and fragile ecosystems under climate change conditions.

Award-winning Faculty

Reducing the Impact of Disasters through Research

When disasters threaten US populations, it’s often the most vulnerable people who have the hardest time preparing for, responding to, and recovering from their impacts – and many may never fully do so.

It’s this challenge that drives UCF Coastal Professor Christopher Emrich and Associate Professor Claire Connolly Knox’s research.

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