Coast and river research

Our coast and river research investigates the natural processes operating on the landscape, from catchment to coast.

Students taking measurements at Muriwai Beach from above.

We conduct studies across a range of temporal and spatial scales, from catchment to cobble, from Holocene to a few days. Our analyses of landscapes utilise many methods, including numerical modelling, and considerable fieldwork, in which we use seismic imagery, ground-penetrating radar, subsurface coring, terrestrial laser scanning, structure from motion, and a suite of wave and current sensors.

We examine a range of dynamic landscapes including river catchments and a variety of open-coast settings, such as river deltas, sand and gravel beaches, shell cheniers, rocky shorelines, and tropical coral reef environments.

Much of our research is concerned with sediment transport and morphodynamics, but we also address the interactions of physical and ecological processes. Our findings aim to frame environmental management applications, including assessments of shoreline erosion and river rehabilitation options.

Our research topics

  • Bedload transport in rivers using new geophysical instruments
  • Biogeochemical responses of streams to catchment change
  • Catchment scale sediment flux
  • Chenier morphodynamics
  • Coastal management
  • Coral reef hydrodynamics
  • Critical geomorphology
  • Delta dynamics and evolution
  • Ecological consequences of altered connectivity of freshwater and marine systems
  • Giant landslides arising from permafrost thawing in Canada
  • Gravel beach morphodynamics
  • Indigenous relationships to landscapes
  • Interactions between the physical structure in streams and ecological processes
  • Landscape connectivity
  • Landsliding around Auckland’s cliffed coasts
  • Reef island shoreline change
  • River rehabilitation
  • River management
  • Sea level rise impacts on coasts
  • Sediment budgets
  • Shore platform hydrodynamic
  • Tectonic geomorphology and landscapes

Our researchers