Coasts and Oceans

Overview coastal dunes

Global warming will have dramatic consequences for most lifeforms on Earth. Coastal regions are particularly affected by global warming due to sea level rise in conjunction with extreme events such as storm surges and floods. On the other hand, the oceans gradually become warmer, which enhances the occurrence of coral bleaching events, and they operate as a sink for carbon dioxide, which leads to ocean acidification and changes in the composition and functioning of marine food webs. This makes the continued research into coasts and oceans and the improved management of marine and coastal ecosystems extremely important for society.
Members of our Coasts and Oceans cluster have specialist expertise in:

  • coastal and aeolian geomorphology¬†
  • oceanography and coastal upwelling science
  • seawater intrusion into coastal aquifers
  • airborne research
  • management of coastal and marine environments.

Our research programs are funded by various agencies including the Australian Research Council (ARC), CSIRO, Australia and Pacific Science Foundation, and US National Science Foundation (NSF). We have collaborations with a wide range of Government agencies (Federal and State Government, NRM Boards, local Councils, and NGO’s) as well as many international academic colleagues and institutions. The School of the Environment is proud supporter of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and sponsor of the ACORN radar facility. Members of this cluster are also involved in the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2).


Research Expertise

  • Airborne research
  • Coastal and aeolian geomorphology 
  • Coastal dune dynamics & management
  • Coastal hydrology
  • Coastal oceanography and upwelling science
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Estuarine oceanography
  • Governance and policy
  • Hydrodynamic modelling & GIS analysis
  • Impacts of climate change in coastal environments
  • Marine protected area management
  • Morphodynamics & surfzone-beach-dune interactions
  • Natural resource management



Education and PhD Opportunities

We offer a vibrant research and study environment in disciplines focusing on the science and management of coasts and oceans. Related undergraduate degrees within the Bachelor of Science are: Majors in Environmental Management and Ocean & Climate Sciences, and Specialisations in Coasts & Oceans and Environmental Science.

We are keen to start new PhD projects with motivated candidates with good training, and advanced experimental and analytical skills. Postdoctorates or visiting researchers interested in working with us are invited to contact us, as is anyone who wishes to discuss research possibilities and funding opportunities.





A/Prof Beverley Clarke

Mr Stephen Fildes

A/Prof Jorg Hacker

Prof Patrick Hesp

A/Prof Jochen Kaempf

Mr Robert Keane

Mr Wolfgang Lieff

Dr Andrew McGrath

Dr Graziela Miot da Silva

Prof Adrian Werner




The School of the Environment has facilities and equipment for a wide range of marine and coastal research including:

  • State-of-the-art computing facilities
  • Various field and laboratory equipment including the Beach and Dune Systems (BEADS) laboratory with various marine instruments such as CTDs and current meters, multiple ultrasonic anemometers, Wenglor laser particle counters, Hilton suspension traps and a sea kayak equipped with high resolution echo sounder, on-board computing and GPS
  • WAM-V automated remote robotic vessel for lake, nearshore and ocean sensing
  • Terrestrial laser scanner and topographic survey equipment
  • Access to a marine vessel and 4WD vehicles