Welcome to the web site for Sediment and Solute Transport on Rivers and Margins (SSTORM) Research Group! Reide Corbett and J.P. Walsh from East Carolina University and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute lead the team.
Check out our research in/on wetlands, estuaries, barrier islands, shelves and groundwater.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oh là là! Cultivating a Coastal Research Collaboration with France

Today is Bastille Day in France, essentially the French equivalent of the 4th of July, and it provides an opportunity to reflect on UNC CSI’s international partnerships, specifically with our stylish friends across l’Océan Atlantique.  Just like most Americans, the French love sunshine, surf and seafood.  Because of its unique geologic history, France is surrounded by stunning seaside areas including the La Côte d’Azur and the Atlantic shore.  Beaches, dunes, marshes and estuaries provide important habitats and areas for recreation and tourism, such as the impressive Dune du Pilat at the mouth of Arcachon Bay (Photo 1).  But also like the U.S., storm surges, sea-level rise and shoreline erosion are challenges facing France.  Winter storms, in particular, bring powerful waves and potentially lethal marine inundations (Photo 2).  For example, Tempête Xynthia, an incredibly strong storm system in 2010, caused over 50 surge-related deaths and extensive damage in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a region in southwest France.
Since January, Dr. J.P. Walsh, a Professor at East Carolina University and UNC Coastal Studies Institute, has been working at the Université de Bordeaux as part of a Fulbright research scholarship.  Over the last decade, several French graduate students who come to eastern NC to study coastal processes.  Now, Walsh is working in France with colleagues Dr. Jean-Luc Schneider at the Université de Bordeaux and Dr. Eric Chaumillon from the Université de La Rochelle.  Recently, they and others published a paper on storm surge processes and associated sedimentary records (see link).  During Walsh’s visit, his collaborative research is focusing on sedimentation and changes of coastal lowland areas over the last few decades.  This effort, also involving Dr. Reide Corbett from CSI’s Coastal Processes program, aligns well with some of their past and ongoing work in NC.  A better understanding of how storms and sea-level rise are driving ocean and estuarine shoreline changes is important to sustainable development and sound management approaches.  Walsh returns to the U.S. later this summer.  He and Corbett plan to continue working with French scientists and students.   
Photo 1: Dune de Pilat which is located at the mouth of Arcachon Bay.  The dune is huge - over three times taller than Jockey’s Ridge in NC.  Arcachon Bay is an important area for tourism and oyster aquaculture.  Human activities and natural forcings have impacted the coast.

Photo 2:  Explosion of ocean water emanates from a seawall.  Storm waves and elevated water levels can cause significant erosion and deposition, which can be examined with aerial imagery and coring.  Châtelaillon-Plage, southwest France.  Photo by Emeric Bourineau.

Photo 3: Walsh coring on Île de Ré in southwest France. Photo by Eric Chaumillon.

Photo 4: Walsh and Chaumillon from Université de La Rochelle after a successful marsh coring effort. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rodanthe Emergency Ferry Channel Research

Our group continues to work on a variety of projects in NC. Below is a link to a very nice video put together by John McCord and Dave Sybert which talks about some ongoing research on dredge disposal options near Rodanthe. Our lab group is fortunate to work with a great team of folks from the UNC Coastal Studies Institute also including Michael Piehler and Nathan Richards, and indeed much of the science was possible through the hard efforts of students: C.J. Cornette, Nick Kelly, Ryan Gibbons, Ian Conery and others.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cores in Columbia

All we wanted for Christmas...was some good looking cores from the NC coast.

Our team enjoyed working with our SC, GA and BOEM colleagues.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wizard Training for Sonar Secrets at CSI

It is Halloween season, and there’s no better time to learn the spells and secrets of wizards. On October 3rd and 4th, curious scientists and students gathered at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute to become competent users of SonarWiz, a sophisticated and sneaky software for collecting and processing marine geophysical data. Under the cover of darkness (in order to see the projected graphics), the coven of computer apprentices manipulated and sometimes mutilated seafloor sounding data to attempt to reveal its secrets. Aspiring sonar sorcerers traveled from near and far to become acquainted with an assortment of weird and magical methods of data discovery, including amplitude adjustments, reflector digitization and 3D rendering. The training involved a mélange of geoscientists from federal (BOEM), state (SC & GA), private (GeoDynamics) and academic entities (ECU and CSI). In truth, SonarWiz is a powerful yet very user-friendly software sold by Chesapeake Technology (https://www.chesapeaketech.com/products/sonarwiz-sidescan/). The trainees were fortunate to have John Gann, its primary developer and a patient and persistent instructor, in Wanchese to guide the Earth explorers in their educational efforts. J.P. Walsh, a faculty member in the ECU Department of Geological Sciences and a Program Head of Coastal Processes at CSI, coordinated the training and is the lead PI for the federal grant that enabled the opportunity. Participants will be using the software over the next couple years to better understand offshore sand resources potentially available for beach nourishment. And yes, even wizards have to eat…the group enjoyed a nice sunset dinner at Pamlico Jack’s.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Learning the Rules and Regs

Drones, a.k.a. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs, using FAA speak) are a relatively new tool for many applications, including environmental mapping and change analysis.  Scientists at UNC CSI and ECU will be using them into the future for research and education.

Today, we learned federal and state regulations and demonstrated our aircraft capability. 

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