I am a coastal geomorphologist who focuses on the evolution and morphodynamics of estuaries. My work specifically examines the physical processes of estuaries (coastal lagoons) which close to the ocean. This includes examining both the short term change in sedimentation and hydrodynamics associated with variations in marine and fluvial conditions, as well as their long term evolution. I am also interested in researching the effects of human modification to estuary entrances, increased rates of sediment delivery to the coast, and changing sea level and wave conditions on estuary morphodynamics, evolution and ecology.
Prior to working at The University of Queensland, I was based at The University of Melbourne where I completed my PhD and also lectured in coastal geomorphology and marine biology. I have also worked on several projects in New Zealand where I both studied and undertook research at some of my favourite coastal sites in the world; the mixed sand and gravel rivermouth lagoons of south Canterbury, and the beaches of the Coromandel Peninsular in the North Island.
I have most recently worked in Victoria, Australia, where I researched the morphodynamics and evolution of estuaries that intermittently close to the ocean (ICOLLs). This included visiting the many popular coastal lagoons along the Great Ocean Road and Wilson’s Promontory to undertake fieldwork. These sites are of particular importance for management as when they close to the ocean, rising water levels in the lagoon can flood surrounding property along with leading to poor water quality. As well as in Australia, estuaries that close to the ocean are common on wave-dominated coastlines all over the world and are particularly sensitive to changing boundary conditions such as sea level rise or decreased river flows. My work looked at identifying how marine and fluvial processes control entrance opening and closure, along with what conditions drive the different rates of deposition in the channel. The management of estuary entrances is a widespread issue especially due to recent population increase along the coast and climate change. Human modification to estuary entrances is undertaken for navigation and flood control however sediment dynamics continue to drive the need for ongoing sand clearance from many sites. I have worked both in consulting projects and research in Australia to investigate how we can better manage entrance modification and also artificial openings of coastal lagoons. This involved modelling how storms, high swells and decreased riverflow may impact on entrance dynamics along with examining the implications of modification on ecology and estuary biology.
PhD (Science), The University of Melbourne, 2015
BSc (hons) (first class) in Science (Geography), The University of Canterbury, 2011
Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Victoria. Estuary morphodynamics project research grant ($23,500)