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James Tempest BSc. (Hons), MSc

James Tempest BSc. (Hons), MSc

PhD Candidate

Coastal Geomorphologist specialising in Intertidal environments



  • October 2013- Present: PhD Candidate, Cambridge University, funded by Cambridge University Home and European Scholarship (CHESS).
  • Feb-Sept 2013: Research Technician for Queen Mary, University of London Freshwater Laboratories, Wareham.


  • 2011-2012: M.Sc. Environmental Science by Research, Queen Mary, University of London 'Physical Sediment Properties in De-embanked Saltmarshes and Implications for Surface and Subsurface Hydrological Functioning'
  • 2008-2011: B.Sc. (Hons) Environmental Science, Queen Mary, University of London 'The Success of an Embreached Saltmarsh in Suffolk: Implications for Future Local Managed Realignment Practices and the Measurement of Success'


My research profile specialises in coastal processes, intertidal environments and saltmarsh restoration. I am currently a PhD candidate at Cambridge University studying the effect of vegetation on flow and wave attenuation with Dr. Iris Moller and Dr. Tom Spencer.

My PhD thesis aims to improve our understanding of vegetation induced flow attenuation across intertidal surfaces through the use of high-resolution laser imagery of saltmarsh canopies combined with hydrological data captured in the field and Cambridge University's wave flume. I am currently creating an algorithm that quantifies saltmarsh canopy density and height from terrestrial laser scans to identify which property has a greater effect on intertidal flow attenuation.

Recently I've been involved on the Hydralab IV project in Hannover which relocated a 200m2 saltmarsh in one of Europe's largest wave flumes.



  • Tempest, J.A., Moller, I., Spencer, T. (in press). A Review of Plant-Flow Interactions on Salt marshes: The Importance of Vegetation Structure and Plant Mechanical Characteristics. WIREs Water 2015.
  • Tempest, J.A., Harvey, G.L., Spencer, K.L. 2015. Modified sediments and subsurface hydrology in natural and recreated salt marshes and implications for the delivery of ecosystem serivces. Hydrological Processes, 29, 2346-2357. doi: 10.1002.hyp.10368.
  • Spencer, T. Brooks, S.M., Evans, B.R., Tempest, J.A., Moller, I. 2015. Southern North Sea storm surge event of 5 December 2013: water levels, waves and coastal impacts. Earth Science Reviews, ISSN 0012-8252.
  • Spencer, K.L., Harvey G.L., Tempest J.A., Garbutt A., Burdett A. (in prep) Integrating physical, biogeochemical and ecological processes: Moving towards better understanding of ecosystem functioning in restored saltmarshes. Invited submission to Journal of Geophysical research.


  • Tempest, J.A., Spencer, K.L., Harvey, G.L. 2015. Modified Sediments and Subsurface Hydrology in Natural and Recreated Saltmarshes. Poster Presentation at ECSA 55 Conference, London, U.K.
  • Tempest, J.A., Moller, I., Spencer, K.L. 2015. Laser Scanning Techniques to Characterise Saltmarsh Topography and Vegetation Structure. Poster Presentation at ECSA 55 Conference, London, U.K.
  • Carr, S. Spencer, K., Tempest, J.A., Diggens, L. 3D Structure of macropore networks within natural and de-embanked estuary saltmarsh sediments: towards an improved understanding of network structural control over hydrologic functioning. Poster presentation at EGU 2015, Venice, Austria.
  • Tempest, J.A., Spencer, K.L., Harvey, G.L., Garbutt, A., Burden, A. 2012. Sediment Characteristics in De-embanked Saltmarshes and Implications for Hydrological Functioning. Poster Presentation at ECSA 50th Conference, Venice Lagoon.
  • Awarded Best Student Presentation by Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas (EMECS) at Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA) 50th Conference in Venice.

External activities

  • Member of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association
  • Member of British Society for Geomorphology