Executive Committee

The Future Earth Coasts Project relies on a large dynamic network that reflects the interdisciplinary, international, and multi-scale challenge of developing transformation pathways for the sustainable development of the world’s coastal zones.
To facilitate its network and planning and implementation activities Future Earth Coasts operates under the guidance and direction of an Executive Committee that is endorsed by Future Earth. The current membership of this committee is provided below.

Purvaja Ramachandran (co-chair)

National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India

Dr. Purvaja Ramachandran is Scientist-G and Division Chair of Futuristic Research at the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai, India, specializing in climate change and integrated coastal zone management. After gaining research experience at the Max-Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Germany, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands and in many countries, she focused and strengthened research on measurement of trace gases CH4, N2O and CO2 and the processes governing their production and emissions in mangrove and coral reef ecosystems. For the past decade, she has been conducting several research projects on integrated coastal zone management, and more recently on marine spatial planning and blue carbon sequestration. Her research focus also includes Island carrying capacity, Island Management Plan and Island Ecology and environment. She co-leads a work package on role of urban and rural nitrogen sources for soil, water quality and health as part of the UKERI funded project on South Asia Nitrogen Hub.

Tim Smith (co-Chair)

University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Professor Tim Smith is based at the University of the Sunshine Coast and holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship focused on coastal vulnerability and adaptation. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Brock University (Canada), an Adjunct Professor at Southern Cross University (Australia), and a Senior Research Associate at Uppsala University (Sweden). Prior to accepting his Fellowship, he was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law, and before that was the Director of the Sustainability Research Centre. He has also worked at the CSIRO, government, and several other universities on coastal issues, and undertaken research projects in more than 10 countries over the past 25 years. He is on the Steering Committee of Future Earth Australia and co-Editor-in-Chief for the preeminent journal Ocean and Coastal Management

Mike Elliott (vice chair)

University of Hull, UK

Mike is the Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences at the University of Hull, UK and was Director of the former Institute of Estuarine & Coastal Studies (IECS) from 1996-2017; He is also the Director of International Estuarine & Coastal Specialists (IECS) Ltd. Mike is a marine biologist with a wide experience and interests and his teaching, research, advisory and consultancy includes estuarine and marine ecology, policy, governance and management. He has published widely, co-authoring/co-editing 18 books/proceedings and around 300 scientific publications. Mike has advised on many environmental matters for academia, industry, government and statutory bodies worldwide.

Sebastian Ferse (Executive Director, IPO Germany)

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Germany

Sebastian leads the IPO at the ZMT in Bremen, Germany.
His work addresses the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in coral reefs as well as human usages of coral reef resources. Using an approach that combines assessments of both taxonomic and functional diversity in reef systems, he aims for a better understanding of the impacts of both natural and anthropogenic changes in coral reefs. In examining coastal livelihoods, institutions and mariculture techniques, he is trying to gather insights into options for sustainable resources uses and into strategies for the development, implementation and improvement of these uses.


Anja Scheffers (IPO Australia)

Southern Cross University, Australia

During her studies of Physical Geography and by a series of accidental turns Anja became fascinated to investigate how coastal environments have changed in the past. She is particularly interested in processes that shape and modify coastal landscapes over a variety of length and time scales and the coupling and feedback between such processes, their rates, and their relative roles, especially in the contexts of variation in climatic and tectonic influences and in light of changes due to human impact. Since 2015, Anja is a professor in the School of Environment, Science & Engineering at Southern Cross University, Australia and since 2015 Director of Southern Cross GeoScience, a multidisciplinary research centre that broadens our knowledge and understanding of ancient and contemporary geo-environmental systems. Anja is Executive member of the international program “Future Earth Coasts (FEC).

Yongming Luo (IPO China)

Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, China

Prof. Dr. Yongming Luo is the Co-Director of the International Project Office (China) at Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (YICCAS). He is also an Executive Committee Member of Future Earth Coasts (FEC) and the Director of the East Asia Regional Engagement Partner of FEC. He is the former General Director of YICCAS and now the director of the Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, CAS. His research interests focus on coastal and mega-delta environmental processes under human activity and climate change, coastal biogeochemistry and remediation, as well as coastal sustainable management. He also serves among others as a Chairman of Coastal Science and Engineering Branch, Chinese Association of Ocean Engineering, a China Committee Member of North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), and the Vice Chairman and Secretariat of the China Future Ocean Alliance.

Chen Tu (IPO China)

Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, China

Chen works as a scientific officer in the International Project Office (China) at Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (YICCAS) in Yantai, China. His research mainly focuses on the coastal environmental pollution and bioremediation, with a specific interest in (1) speciation, bioavailability and biogeochemical immobilization of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, As); (2) bioremediation of persistent organic pollutants (PCBs, organoarsenic, etc.) using biodegradation and phytoremediation; (3) microplastics and their associated biofilms in the coastal environment.

Jing Chen (IPO China)

State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

Jing is a professor of SKLEC, East China Normal University, China. Her research interest focuses on geomorphology of river and estuary, sediment tracing, environment evolution of deltas and coastal zones during geological time, local response to global change, human impacts on river hydrology, as well as interaction between land and sea. Technical means of analysis includes sedimentology, micropaleontology, geochemistry and mineralogy.

Xiuzhen Li (IPO China)

State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

Xiuzhen is a professor of Ecology in the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. She obtained her Ph.D from Wageningen UR, the Netherlands. Her research interests include evolution, functioning and restoration of coastal wetlands. She serves as associate editor for Ocean and Coastal Management, and as editorial board member for Ecological Engineering, Wetlands Ecology and Management, and several other journals. She is also an active member of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS), and International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE).

Heath Kelsey, IPO USA (UMCES IAN)

Heath Kelsey (IPO USA)

University of Maryland Centre for Environmental Science, USA

Heath Kelsey is Director of the Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Dr. Kelsey has developed more than 20 ecosystem health report cards for coastal and riverine ecosystems worldwide. Dr. Kelsey has expertise in meaningful stakeholder engagement for ecosystem research, restoration, and planning to help communities identify a shared vision for their ecosystem. His specialties include science communication, environmental and public health assessment, ecosystem health indicators, and stakeholder engagement. Dr. Kelsey received his MSPH and PhD from The University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health in 2000 and 2006. Dr. Kelsey was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea from 1995-1998.

Robert Weiss (IPO USA)

Department of Geoscience, Virginia Tech, USA

Robert Weiss is an Earth scientist whose research is in the intersect of Geoscience, Engineering, and Applied Mathematics to study the impact of coastal hazards. He has more than 15 years of experience developing and coupling numerical tools to quantitatively study the tsunami-wave propagation and impact, tsunami sediment transport, and how sea-level rise alters the future tsunami hazards. Robert is a Professor of Natural Hazard in the Department of Geoscience at Virginia Tech, the director of a graduate education program in disaster resilience and risk management (DRRMVT), the lead of the Virginia Tech’s International Program Office of the Future Earth Coasts program, and the co-lead of Coastal@VT a faculty-led, university-wide initiative to build research and education capacities in coastal-zone research.