• The University of Western Australia (M015), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Originally from Long Island, New York, I moved to Western Australia in 2013 to undertake a PhD at the University of Western Australia (UWA)  investigating coastal morphodynamics along reef-fronted coasts. After completing my dissertation in 2017, I have been a postdoctoral researcher within the Oceans Graduate School and UWA Oceans Institute. 

Research

My research investigates nearshore processes and coastal hazards (coastal flooding and erosion), with a particular focus on complex (rocky, reef-fronted, mixed) coastlines. In particular, I am interested in the drivers of coastal evolution across storm-event to decadal timescales, and how larger-scale variability (e.g., climate oscillations) can impact these relationships. Ultimately, my research aims to quantify the underlying coastal processes in these complex coastal environments to enable more accurate forecasting of coastal hazards.

To investigate these processes, I use a range of field instrumentation including wave buoys (Sofar Ocean Spotters, Datawell WaveRiders), pressure sensors, acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), acoustic wave and current profilers (AWACs), UAVs, fixed cameras and satellite imagery. I also complement my field observations with numerical modelling including Delft3D, XBeach, SWAN, and SWASH. Finally, through collaboration with UWA's Coastal and Offshore Engineering Lab (COEL), I am increasingly incorporating laboratory studies into my research projects. 

Our research group (Coastal and Ocean Dynamics, led by Prof Ryan Lowe and Dr Jeff Hansen) is always seeking well-qualified PhD students to work on any of the above broad research areas (see some current projects below also). Please get in touch and include a recent CV if you are potentially interested in pursuing a PhD at UWA. UWA offers a range of schlarships for domestic and international students, see http://www.scholarships.uwa.edu.au/futurestudents/postgrad for the latest details or contact me.

 

Current projects

  • Oceanic drivers of fine scale connectivity in reef environments. Through a collaboration with WA's Department of Biodiveristy, Conservation, and Attractions (DBCA) I am developing numerical tools to understand the drivers of fine scale (order meters to hunders of meters) oceanographic variability in the Dampier Archipelago, Ningaloo Reef, and Shark Bay. 
  • Forecasting coastal hazards for rock fishing safety along WA's South Coast. Using fixed cameras and a nearshore 'smart-mooring' (combined waves and water level observations) I am investigating the drivers of extreme runup at a popular fishing location on WA's South Coast (near Albany). 
  • Shoreline dynamics on reef-fronted coastlines. Nearshore reefs, which can be shore-attacehd or separated from the coast by sevearl kilometers, alter the nearshore wave and circulation dynamics and thus the sediment transport processes. While most previous work on shoreline dynamics has focused on open coast, sandy beaches, little work has been done on reef-fronted coasts. My on-going work investigates shoreline dynamics in reef-fronted coasts to better quantify their temporal evolution across storm-event to decadal timescales. 
  • Mechanisms of sediment transport onshore of fringing reefs. Many of the ubiquitous fringing reefs in Western Australia feature a seaward protruding shorelines in their lee, similar to that often found onshore of a detached breakwater. I am currently investigating the mechanism that result in these accreted shorelines, which occur at scales ranging from tens of meters to more than a km, as well as their temporal variability.
  • WA waves. Nearshore (~30 m and shallower) wave observations are scarce along the Western Australia coast, with only the WA Department of Transport's (DoT) wave buoys publicly avaialble in near real-time. To complement the existing network of wave buoys around WA, we have been developing a network of low-cost wave buoys (Sofar Ocean Spotters) around Western Australia to provide observations of both waves and surface temperatures. The data is publicly available for viewing and download via our waves website.
  • WA coastline. Western Australia's coastline is vast as well as sparsely populated or developed. The lack of infrastructure and difficulty of access can make coastal monitoring a challenge. To overcome these challenges, we conduct bi-annual aerial surveys  of 250km of WA's coast between Point Peron and Cape Naturaliste. This is conducted in partnership with the Peron Naturaliste Partnership, a coalition of the 9 local governemnts between Point Peron and Cape Naturaliste. I am conducting on-going research into using the oblique imagery to build digital elevation models of the study area to example seasonal change in coastal morphology. The images from 2015 to 2020 are available on our coastal images website.

Education/Academic qualification

Geology, BSc (Hons), Boston College

Award Date: 22 May 2012

Research expertise keywords

  • coastal processes
  • beach morphodynamics
  • sedimentology
  • numerical modeling
  • reef systems
  • nearshore dynamics

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