Photo of Kiki Patsch

Kiki Patsch

Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Resource Management

Contact Information


Ph.D Earth and Planetary Sciences with an emphasis on Coastal Geology and Hazards, University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), 2004
B.A. Environmental Science, University of Virginia, 2000


After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in Environmental Science, Dr. Kiki Patsch earned a Ph.D in Earth and Planetary Sciences with a focus on coastal geology, processes, and hazards under the guidance of Dr. Gary Griggs at the University of California Santa Cruz. Patsch joined the CSUCI faculty in the fall of 2015. Through her work, Dr. Patsch aims to bridge the gap between policy makers, scientists, engineers, and private citizens on issues related to the coastal zone.

Dr. Patsch recently completed a research project with faculty at the University of Virginia as well as scientists from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, as a part of the Snowy Plover habitat assessment of the Chandeleur Islands in Louisiana. Using a MATLAB-based geomorphological model (GEOMBEST), which simulates the evolution of coastal geomorphology and stratigraphy resulting from changes in sea level and sediment volume, they developed a late-Holocene simulation that recreates North Chandeleur Island (off the coast of Louisiana) to an historical, pre-Katrina state approximately 100 years before present. In addition, they assessed the likelihood of a change of state from a sub-aerial barrier island system to a sub-aqueous sand body by extending the late-Holocene simulation 100 years to present and compared the scenarios to the current conditions. A change of state, or threshold crossing, would have serious implications to plover habitat.

Dr. Patsch's past and current research focuses on coastal geomorphology and processes, shoreline hazard assessment, sediment budgets analysis, sea cliff and beach erosion, reductions in the natural supply of sediment to the coast, and coastal armoring along the California coast. Dr. Patsch is co-author of the book, Living with the Changing California Coast, published by the University of California Press, Berkeley which covers the processes and hazards associated with California’s geologically dynamic and heavily populated shoreline. As part of this book, Patsch developed a GIS for the entire coastline of California, mapping and taking inventory of such information as shoreline hazard level, shoreline armoring, sea cliff erosion rates, and shoreline environment.

Dr. Kiki Patsch is currently developing regionally based, socially relevant research projects and programs with fellow faculty members as well as undergraduate students and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge of the dynamic coastal zone in the framework of environmental science and resource management. Our beaches and coastal environments are an important natural resource that needs to be studied and preserved. California’s beaches alone generate billions of dollars annually to California's economy, not to mention the US economy on a whole. With a dynamic sea level threatening to erode our beaches and sea cliffs, coastal zone planning and resource management will need our attention in the coming years.

Representative Courses Taught

  • ESRM 100 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ESRM 328 Introduction to GIS



Coastal geologic hazards, sea cliff and bluff erosion, beach erosion, coastal processes, sea level rise, littoral processes, sediment budgets, nearshore sediment transport, coastal resilience