Research Team

The research team, led by Dr. Julia Ekstrom,  includes the following individuals:



Dr. Julia Ekstrom previously Director of the Climate Adaptation Program and now a Research Affiliate at the University of California Davis Policy Institute. She now is a Senior Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Water Resources. Ekstrom is an interdisciplinary social scientist with expertise in climate change adaptation and vulnerability, coastal resource management, socio-ecological systems, and governance analysis. As a researcher at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and UC Davis, her research focuses on the role institutions and science play in societal transitions, especially in climate adaptation processes. She has a Ph.D. in Marine Science at UC Santa Barbara.



Dr. Louise Bedsworth, Executive Director,  California Strategic Growth Council. She is also Visiting Researcher at the UC Davis Policy Institute. Previously, she was Deputy Director of California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, where she oversaw and developed much of the State’s climate adaptation efforts. Previously, as a Policy Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, she examined on climate action at the local level, adaptation to climate change, and transportation and air quality. She has also held positions at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Redefining Progress, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Dr. Bedsworth has a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley.



Dr. Mark Lubell, co-Director, Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior (CEPB) at UC Davis. CEPB undertakes scientific analysis of the interactions among policy institutions, human behavior, and political decisions in the context of environmental and natural resource conflicts.  Dr. Lubell has a Ph.D. in Political Science from SUNY Stonybrook.



zekeZeke Baker is a PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department at UC Davis. His dissertation, titled “Climate Knowledge as a Practice of Government,” uses historical and qualitative methods to analyze the relationship between climate-related science and politics in the U.S. from the 1780s until today. In particular, this research focuses on central controversies in the history of meteorological and climate sciences, and helps to explain the outcomes of those controversies in reference to processes of governmental and state formation.  Zeke is also  interested in how the institutional dynamics of climate expertise interact with the goals and concerns of policy-makers, resource managers, and social groups oriented to the climate change issue.



Amanda Fencl is a PhD candidate in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Geography, a Trainee in the NSF Climate Change, Water and Society IGERT (2013-15), and a NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2015-18). Her dissertation on Drought Resilience among California’s Drinking Water Systems emphasizes the cross-level and cross-scale vulnerability of the State’s utilities and whether and how they are adapting to climate change and extreme events like drought. Prior to attending UC Davis, she was a Staff Scientist at the US Center of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).  She frequently tweets about the #CAdrought and #CAwater from @alfencl.


klasicMeghan Klasic is a 3rd year PhD student in the UC Davis Geography Graduate Group and a member of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior. Her research interests include coupling top-down and bottom-up approaches to climate change adaptation. She is particularly interested in studying the drivers, strategies, barriers, and needs for creating more robust water quality management plans that incorporate climate change. Prior to attending UC Davis, she spent 10 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC. You can find her on twitter @rogue_PhD, on her website or read about her travel antics at Larking Our Way Through Life.