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Coasts

Projects range from the broad study of coastal biologically-mediated landforms (such as coastal wetlands), how they form and how they respond to the dynamic drivers of sea level rise, tidal fluctuations, and wave climates, to research on how scientifically-based insights into the effect of those landforms on coastal flood risk can be used to achieve sustainable, multi-functional, coastal protection schemes.

Tom Spencer, Iris Möller, Elizabeth Christie, Mark Schürch, Ben Evans, David Rose, Helen Brooks, Jamie Pollard, Tom Pryke, Rachel Seary, James Tempest.

Research projects

Research projects currently being undertaken on this theme include:

Response of Ecologically-mediated Shallow Intertidal Shore Transitions to extreme hydrodynamic forcing' (RESIST)

Response of Ecologically-mediated Shallow Intertidal Shore Transitions to extreme hydrodynamic forcing' (RESIST)

Salt marshes are increasingly valued for their role in coastal defence, as they reduce the impact of waves and erosion on shorelines and engineered coastal defences behind salt marshes. Yet the response of salt marsh margins to extreme hydrodynamic forcing is complex and currently not well understood.

CoastWEB: Valuing the contribution which COASTal habitats make to human health and WEllBeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards

CoastWEB: Valuing the contribution which COASTal habitats make to human health and WEllBeing, with a focus on the alleviation of natural hazards

Despite increasing recognition of connections between natural environment and human health and wellbeing, these links are still poorly understood. There is a real need to develop methodological approaches to fully elucidate natural environments for health and wellbeing. To address this need, the CoastWEB project aims to holistically value the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of coastal natural hazards and extreme events.

Preparing for Extreme and Rare Events in coastaL regions (PEARL)

Preparing for Extreme and Rare Events in coastaL regions (PEARL)

Coastal communities are among the most vulnerable to extreme flooding events. Surface runoff from heavy rainfall, high river levels and storm/tidal surges from the sea all pose significant flood risks, and can often occur in combination, with potentially devastating consequences. This is further compounded by the expected sea level rise over the next few decades due to human-induced climate change. Accordingly, the EU(FP7)-funded project PEARL has been set up to bring together world-leading technological and socio-economical expertise in order to develop more sustainable risk management solutions for coastal communities.

Establishing a global database of surface elevation change and accretion rates in coastal wetlands

Establishing a global database of surface elevation change and accretion rates in coastal wetlands

The effects of rising sea-levels on coastal regions and the increased vulnerability of the coastal zone due to the high concentration of natural and socio-economic resources highlight the need for regional to global assessments. Global vulnerability assessment (GVA) studies have been the main sources of quantitative information on the potential impacts of sea-level rise. However, one of the principal limitations of GVAs, which has compromised their reliability and consistency, has been the lack of appropriate data sources. To fill this significant gap in coastal research, a new global coastal database has been developed within the framework of the EU DINAS - COAST project. The database provides the input data for the Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Analysis (DIVA) tool which is the main product of the project. DIVA identifies coastal units that are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and adverse human interventions and allows for the evaluation of a range of response options.

The changing flora, fauna and sedimentation of the West Norfolk coast

The changing flora, fauna and sedimentation of the West Norfolk coast

This research theme centres on monitoring the possible effects of flood-defence activity on the flora, fauna and sedimentation patterns of the West Norfolk coast. This area offers a mosaic of maritime habitats considered internationally important for wildlife conservation and bird migration.

Earlier projects