Bodega Marine Reserve - Image by David Slipher

CMSI Strategic Plan

UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute Strategic Plan - Fall 2020-Summer 2025

Executive Summary:

The coastal regions of California are home to almost 70% of California’s population and thousands of resident and migratory species of plants and animals. Our coasts are a major driver of the state’s economy, generating $787 billion in annual wages and $2 trillion of gross domestic product. As a cultural resource, our coastal ocean also provides a vital sense of place to the state’s diverse population. At the same time, changing conditions wrought by climate change, land-use modifications, global economic forces and natural resource extraction are challenging old models of sustainable coastal management.

Meeting these challenges with knowledge requires cross-disciplinary collaboration across the full spectrum of the natural and social sciences. To design robust and equitable solutions, the scientific community must build alliances with the decision-makers and stakeholders who are vested in the sustainable use of our coastal and ocean resources. The UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute (CMSI) is uniquely positioned to facilitate the research, education and engagement we need to advance coastal sustainability. Our faculty, staff and students represent an unmatched breadth of biological, physical, social and economic expertise, built on a foundation of service as a Public Research University. We have built CMSI on the holistic vision of the university as a source of knowledge through research, future leadership through education and community-building through engagement. In our first seven years, we have unified the marine and coastal science and policy community across UC Davis and advanced our reputation as invaluable partners in coastal and ocean decision-making.

In the next five years, CMSI will invest in people, programming and fundraising that advance our mission through:


Respond nimbly to emerging research needs in the sustainability of coastal and ocean systems by facilitating collaboration across the disciplinary breadth of CMSI and building partnerships with other institutions. 


Prepare the next generation of leaders, representing the diversity of identities invested in sustainable marine and coastal science and policy, to meet future challenges with knowledge, innovation and inclusion.


Advance coastal and ocean science literacy while engaging in reciprocal learning that informs our science.

Cross-Institute Synergies

Build our internal community and raise our external profile to broaden the reach of our research, education and engagement initiatives to new people, communities and geographies.

We look forward to collaborating with the broader marine and coastal sciences community of students, scientists, educators, stakeholders, policymakers and citizens to accomplish these goals and make strides toward our shared vision of a sustainable future for California’s coasts and ocean. Your support, knowledge, ideas and honest advice are critical to our success in implementing this plan.

View the full CMSI Strategic Plan for Fall 2020 - Summer 2025