Glen MacDonald

Glen M. MacDonald

WMRC Director, WRG Faculty Director, John Muir Memorial Chair in Geography, and Distinguished Professor

Department of Geography, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

(310) 825-1071

Bunche Hall 1152
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Personal Website


Glen M. MacDonald is the John Muir Memorial Chair of Geography, Director of the White Mountain Research Center and a UCLA Distinguished Professor. He is a former UC Presidential Chair and former Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is the UCLA Co-PI for the Department of the Interior’s Southwest Climate Science Center. His research focuses on climate change, its causes and its impact on the environment and society. He works on climate variability and environmental change using observational and other records in North America, Eurasia and Africa. He is the author of over 160 scientific and popular press pieces and an award winning book on biogeography. His coastal and marine research focusses on estuaries and marshes and their response to climate change, sea level change and human disturbance. He has also worked on seismic displacements of marshes. Glen has worked on marsh and mangrove systems in California, Hawaii and Mexico. He is also interested in scientific communication and has published Op/Eds in the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. He speaks widely to the public and policy makers and has provided presentations and testimony to a number of California state agencies and the US Senate Appropriations Committee. Glen MacDonald is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Guggenheim Fellow and a Rockefeller Bellagio Resident. He has received the James J. Parsons Distinguished Career Award and the Henry C. Cowles Award for Excellence in Publication from the American Association of Geographers, the University of Helsinki Medal, a Visiting Fellowship and Life Membership at Clare Hall Cambridge, and a Visiting Fellowship at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. He has also won distinguished teaching awards at McMaster University and UCLA.


  • Ph.D. 1984 University of Toronto (Botany with Geology Minor)
  • M.Sc. 1980 University of Calgary (Geography)
  • A.B. 1978 University of California, Berkeley (Geography Hon.)

Research Interests

  • Sea Level Rise and Coastal Marsh Accretion
  • C Sequestration in Wetlands
  • Climate Change and Wetlands
  • Human Impacts of Coastal Marshes

Alternate Websites

Selected Publications

Avnaim-Katav, S., Gehrels, W.R., Brown, L.N., Fard, E. and MacDonald, G.M., 2017. Distributions of salt-marsh foraminifera along the coast of SW California, USA: Implications for sea-level reconstructions. Marine Micropaleontology, 131, 25-43

Leeper, R., Rhodes, B., Kirby, M., Scharer, K., Carlin, J., Hemphill-Haley, E., Avnaim-Katav, S., MacDonald, G., Starratt, S. and Aranda, A., 2017. Evidence for coseismic subsidence events in a southern California coastal saltmarsh. Reports, 7. 44615.
doi: 10.1038/srep44615

Rosencranz, J.A., Brown, L.N., Holmquist, J.R., Sanchez, Y., MacDonald, G.M. and Ambrose, R.F., 2017. The Role of Sediment Dynamics for Inorganic Accretion Patterns in Southern California’s Mediterranean-Climate Salt Marshes. Estuaries and Coasts,40: 1-14.

Thorne, K.M., MacDonald, G.M., Ambrose, R.F., Buffington, K.J., Freeman, C.M., Janousek, C.N., Brown, L.N., Holmquist, J.R., Gutenspergen, G.R., Powelson, K.W., Barnard, P.L., and Takekawa, J.Y., 2016, Effects of climate change on tidal marshes along a latitudinal gradient in California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1125, 75 p.,

Rosencranz, J.A., Ganju, N.K., Ambrose, R.F., Brosnahan, S.M., Dickhudt, P.J., Guntenspergen, G.R., MacDonald, G.M., Takekawa, J.Y. and Thorne, K.M., 2015. Balanced Sediment Fluxes in Southern California’s Mediterranean-Climate Zone Salt Marshes. Estuaries and Coasts: 1-15. DOI 10.1007/s12237-015-0056-y

Holmquist, J. R., Reynolds, L., Brown, L. N., Southon, J. R., Simms, A. R., & MacDonald, G. M. 2015. Marine radiocarbon reservoir values in Southern California estuaries: Interspecies, latitudinal, and interannual variability. Radiocarbon, 57, 449–458 DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18389.

Pau, S., MacDonald, G.M. and Gillespie, T.W. 2012. A Dynamic History of Climate Change and Human Impact on the Environment from Keālia Pond, Maui, Hawaiian Islands. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102, 748-762.