Assistant Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies
My research focuses on understanding how physical and biological processes, and the coupling between them, influence coastal dynamics. Using novel conceptual and computer models, integrated with field and experimental efforts, I study a variety of environments, including river deltas, marshes, coastal barriers, reef islands, and mangroves. I am also interested in how human activities affect coastal evolution, through both the accumulated effects of purposeful engineering activities and the unintentional consequences of land-use change.
If you're interested in joining the research team, do not hesitate to contact me!
Mathematical Modeling of Earth’s Dynamical Systems
Linkages between coastal geomorphology, ecology, and human activities
Linkages between coastal geomorphology and stratigraphy
Characterizing a sustainable strategy to protect our coastlines requires an ability to make predictions about dynamic geomorphology, including localized shoreline change (erosion or accretion), barrier overwashing, and potential barrier drowning. These hazards and their interaction with human development need to be understood both over the long term and as the result of specific storm events. The goal of my research group on this project is to develop a framework for understanding the accumulated costs and benefits of coastal hazard management in the context of different response strategies, including beach nourishment practices and hard structures.
The marshes, bays, lagoons and tidal flats behind barriers support a high degree of biodiversity and also provide other ecosystem services including blue carbon storage. The proposed research focuses on the geologic and ecologic response of coupled barrier-backbarrier systems to relative sea-level rise and the implications for the backbarrier ecosystem services of biodiversity provision and blue carbon sequestration.
Morphodynamic model outcomes will be iteratively coupled with an economic model to provide insight into the best-practices for designing optimal barrier stabilization and marsh conservation and restoration programs which consider the net benefits from protecting blue carbon stocks, biodiversity, and beach width in a wide range of settings.
Field sites include: Parramore and Assawoman islands in Virginia; Fenwick/Assateague Island in Maryland / Delaware; Long Beach Island in New Jersey.
Higher sea levels will enable waves and currents to dramatically redistribute sediment along and across the coastal zone, resulting in a retreat of the shoreline significantly greater than that expected for simple inundation alone. Furthermore, complex barrier-backbarrier interactions may lead to runaway instabilities, forcing barriers towards a phase of rapid retrogradation (landward migration) unprecedented in the last 5000 years. However, despite these threats, a lack of quantitative understanding of the relative roles of antecedent topographies, overwash fluxes, tidal regimes, and backbarrier sedimentation processes (all factors which vary greatly among both natural and anthropogenically influenced barriers) in the response of barriers to coastal change remains. My research group addresses these questions through a closely integrated program consisting of numerical simulations of barrier dynamics, tested using field data collected from diverse barrier islands.
Computational Hydrodynamics in the coastal environment.
Coupled flow-bed form evolution,