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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Academic Staff  /  Helene Burningham

Professor Helene Burningham

Coastal Scientist

Professor of Physical Geography, Department of Geography

Vice-Dean (Research), Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences





DPhil Coastal Studies (2000): Morphodynamics of West Donegal Estuaries (DENI Distinction Award), University of Ulster

BSc (1st Class Hons) Combined Science (1994): University of Lancaster/OSU


2021-present: Professor of Physical Geography, UCL Department of Geography

2018-present: Vice Dean (Research), UCL Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences

2017-2021: Reader in Physical Geography, UCL Department of Geography

2013-2017: Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, UCL Department of Geography

2001-2013: Lecturer in Physical Geography, UCL Department of Geography

2000: Tay Estuary Forum Project Officer, University of Dundee

1999: Countryside Ranger, East Lothian Council

1995: Countryside Ranger, East Kilbride Council

British Society for Geomorphology
Estuarine and Coastal Science Association
Coastal Education and Research Foundation
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
American Geophysical UnionIrish Quaternary AssociationIrish Geomorphology Group




The central focus of my research is to explain coastal behaviour, system dynamics and mechanisms of forcing over decadal to century timescales. In particular, my research explores the relative importance of intrinsic system control versus external climate forcing on the geomorphology and morphodynamics of coastal sedimentary systems. I am also interested in understanding and capturing the geomorphological controls on coastal ecosystems.


Research projects




Broader research interests

  • Improving technologies for the measurement and monitoring of coastal systems
  • Late-Holocene climate-forcing and human occupation of coastal dunes in northwest Ireland
  • Coastal GIS and the analysis of historical shoreline and shoreface behaviourDooey
  • Estuary-coast interaction in the vicinity of tidal inlets
  • Meso-tidal, high-wave energy beaches, sediment flux, and storm-driven beach-dune morphodynamics
  • Coastal conservation and sustaining naturally functioning systems



Falchorrib shore platform

Journal articles

  • Knight, J. and Burningham, H. (2021). The morphodynamics of transverse dunes on the coast of South Africa. Geo-Marine Letters, 41, 47.
  • Morales-Marín, L.A., French, J.R., Burningham, H., Evans, C. and Burden, A. (2021). Simulating seasonal to multi-decadal variation in lake thermal response to meteorological forcing using the UCLAKE 1-dimensional model code. Limnologica, 88, 125874.
  • Duranel, A., Thompson, J.R., Burningham, H., Durepaire, P., Garambois, S., Wyns, R. and Cubizolle, H. (2021). Modelling the hydrological interactions between a fissured granite aquifer and a valley mire in the Massif Central, France. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 25(1), 291-319.
  • Burningham, H. and Knight, J. (2020). Biological zonation and bedrock strength on a high energy granite shore platform. Journal of Coastal Research, 95 (sp1), 23-28.
  • Dolphin, T., Burningham, H., Sifnoti, D., Manning, W., Wallbridge, S. and Farcas, A. (2020). Mixed sand/gravel beach response to the Beast from the East storm. Journal of Coastal Research, 95 (sp1), 463-467.
  • Knight, J. and Burningham, H. (2020). What controls bedrock shore platform hardness? A field study from South Africa. Journal of Coastal Research, 95 (sp1), 537-541.
  • Knight, J. and Burningham, H. (2019). Bedrock hardness values and morphological zonation of a shore platform in South Africa. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa.
  • Gardner, E., Burningham, H. and Thompson, J.R. (2019). Impacts of climate change and hydrological management on a coastal lake and wetland system. Irish Geography, 52 (1), 21-48. DOI:10.2014/igj.v52i1.1376
  • Oyedotun, T. and Burningham, H. (2019). Comparable short-term morphodynamics of three estuarine-coastal systems in the southwest coastal region of England, UK. Regional Studies in Marine Science.
  • Varandas Martins, S., Burningham, H. and Pinto-Cruz, C. (2018). Climate variability impacts on coastal dune slack ecohydrology. Irish Geography, 51 (2), 262-284.
  • Griffiths, D. and Burningham, H. (2018). Comparison of pre-and self-calibrated camera calibration models for UAS-derived nadir imagery for a SfM application. Progress in Physical Geography.
  • Morales-Marín, L.A., French, J.R., Burningham, H. and Battarbee, R.W. (2017). Three-dimensional hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling to test the sediment focusing hypothesis in upland lakes. Limnology and Oceanography.
  • Morales-Marín, L.A., French, J.R. and Burningham, H. (2017). Implementation of a 3D ocean model to understand upland lake wind-driven circulation. Environmental Fluid Mechanics, 1-24.
  • Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2017). Understanding coastal change using shoreline trend analysis supported by cluster-based segmentation. Geomorphology, 282, 131-149.
  • Fernandez-Nunez, M., Burningham, H., Ojeda Zujar, J. (2017). Improving accuracy of LiDAR-derived Digital Terrain Models for salt marsh management. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 21 (1), 209-222.
  • Karunarathna, H., Horrillo-Caraballo, J., Burningham, H., Pan,S. Reeve, D.E. (2016). Two-dimensional reduced-physics model to describe historic morphodynamic behaviour of an estuary inlet. Marine Geology 382, 200-209.
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H., Thornhill, G., Whitehouse, R., Nicholls, R.J. (2016). Conceptualising and mapping coupled estuary, coast and inner shelf sediment systems. Geomorphology 256, 17-35.
  • van Maanen, B., Nicholls, R.J., Barkwith, A., Bonaldo, D., Burningham, H., French, J.R., Murray, B., Payo, A., Thornhill, G., Townend, I., van der Wegen, M., Walkden, M.J.A. (2016). Simulating mesoscale coastal evolution for decadal coastal management: a hybrid method integrating multiple, complementary modelling approaches. Geomorphology 256, 68-80.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2015). The geomorphology of Gola, northwest Ireland. Irish Journal of Earth Sciences 33, 55-70.
  • Iversen, E.C., Burningham, H. (2015). The relationship between the NAO and wind climate over Norway. Climate Research 63, 115-134.
  • Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2014). Travelling forelands: complexities in drift and migration patterns. Journal of Coastal Research SI70, 102-108.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2014). A paraglacial coastal gravel structure: Connell’s Bank, NW Ireland. Journal of Coastal Research SI70, 121-126.
  • Gardner, E.A., Burningham, H. (2013) Ecology and conservation of the rare annual Petrorhagia nanteuilii (Childing Pink) on the vegetated shingle spits of Pagham Harbour, West Sussex. Journal of Coastal Conservation 17, 589-600 [].
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2013). Coasts and climate: insights from geomorphology. Progress in Physical Geography 37(4), 550-561 [doi:10.1177/0309133313494962].
  • Oyedotun, T.D.T, Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2013). Sediment sorting and mixing in the Camel estuary, UK. Journal of Coastal Research SI65, 1563-1568.
  • Burningham, H., French, J. (2013) Is the NAO winter index a reliable proxy for wind climate and storminess in northwest Europe? International Journal of Climatology 33(8), 2036-2049 [doi:10.1002/joc.3571].
  • Oyedotun, T.D.T., Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2012). Characterisation of estuary and adjacent beach sediments in the Gannel Estuary, South-West England. Geoscience in South-West England 13, 71-76.
  • Richards, E.G., Burningham, H. (2011). Hippophae rhamnoides on a coastal dune system: a thorny issue? Journal of Coastal Conservation 15(1), 73-85 [doi:10.1007/s11852-010-0122-3].
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2011). Coastal geomorphology. Progress in Physical Geography 35(4), 535-545 [doi:10.1177/0309133311414606].
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2011). Boulder dynamics on an Atlantic-facing rock coastline, northwest Ireland. Marine Geology 283(1-4), 56-65 [doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2010.07.008].
  • Burningham, H., French, J. (2011). Seabed dynamics in a large coastal embayment: 180 years of morphological change in the outer Thames estuary. Hydrobiologia 672 (1) 105-119 [doi:10.1007/s10750-011-0873-3].
  • Barrett-Mold, C., Burningham, H. (2010). Contrasting ecology of prograding coastal dunes on the northwest coast of Ireland. Journal of Coastal Conservation 14(2), 81-90 [doi:10.1007/s11852-009-0069-4].
  • Burningham, H., French, J. R. (2009). Historical seabed mobility in an outer estuary - sea basin environment. Journal of Coastal Research SI56, 589-593.
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2009). Coastal geomorphology: trends and challenges. Progress in Physical Geography 33(1), 117-129.
  • Barrett-Mold, C., Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2009). Stratigraphic insights from sedimentary peels of littoral estuarine depositional systems. Journal of Coastal Research SI56, 584-588.
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2009). Restoration of an eroded estuarine foreshore using cohesive dredge material, Orwell Estuary, UK. Journal of Coastal Research SI56, 1444-1448.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H., Barrett-Mold, C. (2009). The geomorphology and controls on development of a boulder-strewn rock platform, NW Ireland. Journal of Coastal Research SI56, 1646-1650.
  • Burningham, H. (2008). Contrasting geomorphic response to structural control: The Loughros estuaries, northwest Ireland. Geomorphology 97(3-4), 300-320 doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.08.009.
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H., Benson, T. (2008). Tidal and meteorological forcing of suspended sediment flux in a muddy mesotidal estuary. Estuaries and Coasts 31, 843-859 [doi:10.1007/s12237-008-9072-5].
  • Parrott, A., Burningham, H. (2008). Opportunities of, and constraints to, the use of intertidal agri-environment schemes for sustainable coastal defence: A case study of the Blackwater Estuary, southeast England. Ocean and Coastal Management 51(4), 352-367 [doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2007.08.003].
  • Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2007). Morphodynamics and sedimentology of mixed-sediment inlets. Journal of Coastal Research SI50, 710-715.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2007). Coastal morphodynamics and prehistoric human occupation, County Donegal, NW Ireland. Journal of Coastal Research SI50, 104-108.
  • Burningham, H., French, J.R. (2006). Morphodynamic behaviour of a mixed sand-gravel ebb-tidal delta: Deben estuary, Suffolk, UK. Marine Geology 225(1-4), 23-44 [doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2005.09.009].
  • Burningham, H., Cooper, J.A.G. (2004). Morphology and historical evolution of north-east Atlantic coastal deposits: The west Donegal estuaries, north-west Ireland. Journal of Coastal Research SI41, 148-159.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2003). Recent ventifact development on the central Oregon Coast, western Usa. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 28, 87-98 doi:10.1002/esp.432.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2001). Formation of bedrock-cut ventifacts and late Holocene coastal zone evolution, County Donegal, Ireland. Journal of Geology 109(5), 647-660.
  • Burningham, H. (2000). Short-term changes at an inlet margin dune barrier: Dooey Spit, Gweebarra Estuary, north-west Ireland. Periodicum Biologorum 102(1), 505-511.
  • Burningham, H., Duck, R.W., Watt, A.M. (2000). Perspectives from a newly formed Integrated Coastal Zone Management voluntary partnership: the Tay Estuary Forum (Scotland). Periodicum Biologorum 102(1), 101-105.
  • Burningham, H., Cooper, J.A.G. (1998). Mesoscale evolution of a west Donegal estuary. Journal of Coastal Research, SI26, 24-30.


Published Reports/Books


Book Chapter/Edited Volume

  • Burningham, H., Polizel, S.P., Dramé, A.B. (2022). Morphodynamics of tropical Atlantic river mouths and their adjacent shorelines. In: Humphreys, J., Little, S. Challenges in Estuarine and Coastal Science, Pelagic Publishing, Chapter 1, ISBN: 9781784272852.
  • Carter, T., Jackson, N., Moir, R., Allen, P., Burningham, H., Contreras, D., Schofield, T., Tipping, R. (2022). The Freston causewayed enclosure, Suffolk: Initial insight and hypothetical history. In: Last, J. Marking Place. New Perspectives on Early Neolithic Enclosures, Neolithic Studies Group 18, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 81-102.
  • Burningham, H., Fernandez-Nunez, M. (2020). Shoreline Change Analysis. In: Jackson, D., Short, A. Sandy Beach Morphodynamics, Elsevier, Chapter 19, ISBN: 9780081029275.
  • Burningham, H. (2017). The coastal dunes of west Donegal. In: O’Carroll, E. and McClure, M. (eds.) South- West Donegal, IQUA Field Guide No. 34, Irish Quaternary Association, Dublin, 35-43.
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H., Thornhill, G., Nicholls, R.J. (2016). Integrating estuarine, coastal and inner shelf sediment systems in a common conceptual framework as a basis for participatory shoreline management. In: Meadows, M., Lin, J.-C. (Eds.) Geomorphology and society. Springer.
  • Burningham, H. (2015). Gravel spit-inlet dynamics: Orford Spit, UK. In: Randazzo, G., Cooper, J.A.G., Jackson D., Sand and Gravel Spits, Coastal Research Library 12, Springer, 51-65.
  • Knight, J., Burningham, H. (2011). Sand dune morphodynamics and prehistoric human occupation in NW Ireland. In Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Butzer, A.K.W., Basell, L.S., Butzer, K.W. (Eds.). Geoarchaeology, Climate Change, Sustainability, Geological Society of America, Vol. 476, pp.81-92.
  • Burningham, H. (2005). Morphodynamic Behaviour of a High-Energy Coastal Inlet: Loughros Beg, Donegal, Ireland. In FitzGerald, D.M., Knight, J. (Eds.). High Resolution Morphodynamics and Sedimentary Evolution of Estuaries, Dordrecht: Springer, pp.215-242.
  • French, J. R., Benson, T., Burningham, H. (2005). Morphodynamics and sediment flux in the Blyth estuary, Suffolk, UK: conceptual modelling and high resolution monitoring. In Knight, J., Fitzgerald, D. (Eds.). High resolution morphodynamics and sedimentary evolution of estuaries, New York: Springer, pp.143-171.


Conference Proceedings

  • Karunarathna, H., Horrillo-Caraballo, J.M., Burningham, H., Reeve, D. (2017). Morphodynamic evolution of an estuary inlet. Proceedings of Coastal Dynamics, 74, 1109-1119.
  • Sutherland, J., Nicholls, R.J., Burningham, H., Rossington, K., Blanco, B.L.D.S.R., Brown, J.M. (2016). Representing and modelling coastal systems over a regional scale for coastal management. In: Baptiste, A. (Ed.) Coastal Management: Changing coast, changing climate, changing minds. ICE Publishing, 303-312.
  • Nicholls, R., French, J.R., van Maanen, B., Burningham, H. […] (2015). Improving decadal coastal geomorphic predictions. E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress, 10pp.
  • Burningham, H., French, J. (2015) Large-scale spatial variability in the contemporary coastal sand and gravel resource, Suffolk, eastern UK. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • French, J., Burningham, H. (2015) Wave-driven sediment pathways on the gravel-dominated Suffolk coast, eastern UK. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • Horrillo-Caraballo, J.M., Reeve, D., Karunarathna, H., Pan, S., French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2015). Multi-scale statistical analysis of the Suffolk coast, UK. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • Nicholls, R., French, J.R., van Maanen, B., Payo, A., Sutherland, J., Walkden, M., Burningham, H. […] (2015). Improving decadal coastal geomorphic predictions: an overview of the iCOASST project. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • Reeve, D., Karunarathna, H., Horrillo-Caraballo, J.M., Pan, S., French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2015). Modelling the medium-term morphodynamic response of a coastal plain region using logical networks. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • Thornhill, G., French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2015). ESTEEM - a new ‘hybrid complexity’ model for simulating estuary morphological evoluation at decadal to centennial scales. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • Walkden, M., Payo, A., Barnes, J., Burningham, H. (2015). Modeling the response of coupled barrier and cliff systems to sea level rise. In: Wang, P., Rosati, J.D., Cheng, J. (Eds.) Proceedings of Coastal Sediments, 15pp.
  • Nicholls, R.J., Bradbury, A., Burningham, H., Dix, J.K., Ellis, M., French, J., Hall, J.W., Karunarathna, H.U., Lawn, J., Pan, S., Reeve, D.E., Rogers, B., Souza, A., Stansby, P.K., Sutherland, J., Tarrant, O., Walkden, M.J.A., Whitehouse, R. (2012). iCOASST - integrating coastal sediment systems. ICCE2012 International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Santander, ES, 01 - 06 Jul 2012, 15pp.
  • Duranel, A., Thompson, J.R., Cubizolle, H., Burningham, H. (2011). Assessing the potential impact of climate change on mire habitats in Central France: a multi-scale eco-hydrological approach. British Ecological Society / Natural England conference: Adapting Conservation to a Changing Climate.
  • Burningham, H., French, J. (2010). GIS analysis of historical marine geomorphology: the outer Thames seabed. Proceedings of GIS Research UK, 14-16 April 2010, 273-276.
  • French, J.R., Burningham, H. (2003). Tidal marsh sedimentation versus sea-level rise: a southeast England estuarine perspective. Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments, Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA, 18-23 May 2003, 1-14.
  • Burningham, H. (2002). Meso-scale morphological changes in the Loughros More estuary. Proceedings of Littoral 2002: The Changing Coast 3, 265-270.



  • Burningham, H., French, J. (2017) Evaluating potential hazards to seafloor infrastructure associated with submarine morphodynamics. CERU Report No. 1711-1, Final Report, Crown Estate, 58pp.
  • Burningham, H., French, J. (2016) Historical morphodynamics of the Haisborough Sand bank system. CERU Report No. 162-1, Final Report, Crown Estate, 37pp.
  • Burningham, H., Satchell, J., Grøn, O., Hunniche, T. (2010). Identifying coastal archaeology using multispectral satellite imagery of the intertidal zone: A pilot study. Final Report, English Heritage, 41pp.
  • Whitehouse, R., Balson, P., Beech, N., Brampton, A., Blott, S., Burningham, H., Cooper, N., French, J., Guthrie, G., Hanson, S., Nicholls, R., Pearson, S., Pye, K., Rossington, K., Sutherland, J., Walkden, M. (2009). Characterisation and prediction of large-scale, long-term change of coastal geomorphological behaviours: Final Science Report. Science Report - SC060074/SR2. Bristol, Environment Agency, 281pp.
  • French, J., Burningham, H. (2009). Mapping the connectivity of large-scale coastal geomorphological systems. Coastal system mapping with the Cmap Tools tutorial. Environment Agency Project Record – SC060074/PR.
  • Burningham, H., French, J.R., Karunarathna, H., Morris, K., Reeve, D. E., Townend, I., Williams, A. (2007). Development and demonstration of systems-based estuary simulators. Report FD2117/TR. Defra.


Invited Book Reviews

  • Burningham, H. (2004). Coasts: form, process and evolution (Woodroffe, C.D., 2003). Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 29(1), 140-141.
  • Burningham, H. (2006). Introduction to Coastal Processes & Geomorphology (Masselink, G. & Hughes, M.G. 2003). Journal of Coastal Research 22(6), 1589-1590.



Deben Inlet


I work closely with coastal communities and stakeholders at my research sites in Suffolk (southeast England) and Donegal (northwest Ireland). I disseminate my research directly to those communities through a series of blogs and websites, and endeavour to be actively involved in local conversations around coastal monitoring and environmental governance.




Friends of Sheskinmore

With the help of Beacon Bursary funding from UCL Public Engagement Unit, we launched Friends of Sheskinmore in 2013. As a collaborative community effort, we are local people, environmental / conservation managers, visitors and research scientists, brought together by our common interest in the natural history, environmental change and management of Sheskinmore Nature Reserve specifically, and the west Donegal coast more generally.

Friends of Sheskinmore aims to:

  • draw together local knowledge of, interest in and enthusiasm for the natural history of a site of national and international importance on the northwest coast of Ireland
  • foster a unique collaboration between natural and social scientists through public engagement.

A key external-facing aspect of Friends of Sheskinmore is the website and blog  ( where all those interested in natural and environmental change on the west Donegal coast can share in and contribute to knowledge, understanding and enquiry. We currently have 5 main contributing authors, and several others providing supporting information. We also share updates through twitter (@sheskinmore), and have a strong and active following on Facebook where visitors freely post photos and observations from the site (

We actively engage in informal and formal monitoring and observation from across the Sheskinmore site and beyond; we organise walks across Sheskinmore and talks at the NPWS Field Centre at McGlincheys. The website also provides a focus for reporting of data from the weather station I set up locally in 2012, and data collected from a network of water level recorders installed across the Sheskinmore dune and wetland system, in addition to other management and research activities that we can report on. We had over 3000 visitors to the website in 2019 from 50 different countries.




Suffolk Inlets

Since 2019, I have been disseminating thoughts and findings from my ongoing research on the dynamics of the Suffolk inlets through a blog that is shared between maritime stakeholders. Specifically, the website provides up-to-date commentary on the changing position of the banks within the Deben inlet, derived from near- (drone) and remote- (satellite) sensing imagery and data. The site provides those navigating the inlet a new perspective on the dynamics of the bank system and the factors driving the movement of the shoals and channel. It has also encouraged collaboration with local drone owners who frequently offer imagery and video to support the monitoring and increasing record of Deben inlet dynamics.

My work on the Deben inlet was featured in the Life on the Deben film, a feature-length documentary exploring the history, society and science of the Deben river and estuary, narrated and presented by John McCarthy, filmed and directed by Tim Curtis, and produced by Malcolm Hodd. I was interviewed for the film, and feature in the latter stages detailing the coastal dynamics that I have been researching since the mid-2000s. Released in December 2017 with the premiere in the Riverside Theatre, Woodbridge, the film has since toured cinemas in Suffolk, accruing a total cinema audience of 15,000+. A DVD of the film has also been released, with sales of 6000+, and a related book, also featuring my research on the Deben estuary, was published in November 2019.




Deben Soundings

My recent AHRC-funded project, in association with artist and academic Simon Read (Middlesex University), focuses on developing networks that deliver an art-science approach to environmental decision-making. The project runs through 2020-2022, primarily through a series of engagement activities that bring the network of stakeholders (local community, managers, engineers, scientists, researchers) together to explore aspects of change, values, and management of the Deben estuary landscape.

A key aspect of the project is that we are working alongside the Deben Estuary Partnership in their review of the 2015 Estuary Plan and progression of a new Estuary Plan for 2021/2022. The project seeks to provide a number of arenas where disparate knowledges, experiences, and views are welcome, and where evidence and enquiry relating to the changing landscape of the Deben are engaged with through a variety of art-sciences approaches. The whole stakeholder community, no matter their background, knowledge or understanding, should be able to engage in discussions informing environmental governance.




Grand Canal

Taught modules

All course materials are available on moodle

  • 0017: Field research in physical geography [UG]
  • 0019: Geomorphology [UG]
  • 0034: Coastal geohazards [UG/PGT]
  • 0035: Environmental GIS [PGT]
  • 0109: Models in environmental science [PGT]
  • 0151: Thinking geographically I [UG]
  • 0176: Field evidence of environmental change [PGT]


Postgraduate research


Academic, Support and Feedback Hours - online via Teams or in-person in NW104

For online meetings, please email to schedule a time to meet, or contact me through Teams requesting a time within the slots below (note, availability changes week to week in order to accommodate my teaching and meeting schedule)

Week beginningOnline [Teams]In person [NW104]
3 Oct Fri 9-11 Thu 1-2: due to train strike, this will be online
10 Oct Mon 4-6 Wed 12-1
17 Oct Wed 9-11 Thu 2-3
24 Oct Wed 9-11 Mon 12-11
31 Oct Wed 9-11 Mon 11-12
7 Nov Reading week Reading week
14 Nov Tue 1.30-2.30; Thu 2-3 Mon 5-6
21 Nov Wed 9-11 Mon 5-6 (this will be online due to train strike)
28 Nov Wed 11-1 Fri 2-3
5 Dec Wed 9-11 Thu 11-12
12 Dec Wed 9-11 Thu 11-12





PhD research opportunities

I am keen to hear from students interested in progressing a PhD related to:
- coastal dynamics and forcing of coastal change
- complex interactions between geomorphology, hydrology and ecology in the coastal zone
- community initiatives for monitoring coastal change and informing coastal management


We currently have the following specific opportunities available:

  • Late-Holocene forcing of coastal change [flyer]


Please explore the funding pages for more information about fees and funding.


Current PhD students

Trista Chang - Vulnerability of coastal dune wetlands

Jie Gong - The role of tidal inlets in flood and coastal erosion risk and management

Awa Bousso Dramé - Cross-border coastal inlet dynamics - impacts of anthropogenic developments on coastal systems resilience (UCL ORS 2020-; Faculty for the Future 2020)

Silvia Polizel - Morphodynamics of Brazilian deltas (CNPq Brazil 2019-)

Honeyeh Iravani - Assessment of the impacts of climate change, water resource developments and land cover change on Iranian wetlands (Self-funding 2018-)


Completed PhD students

Varandas Martins S (2019) Ecohydrology of temporary ponds (NERC) [supervised also by Dr C Pinto-Cruz (Evora) and Dr C Sayer]

Schembri M (2018) Aspects of embayed beach morphology in a micro-tidal setting in Malta (Malta Government Scholarship) [supervised also by Prof J French]

Fernandez Nunez M (2016) Fusion of airborne LiDAR, multispectral imagery and spatial modelling for understanding saltmarsh respond to sea-level rise (Talentia) [supervised also by Prof J Ojeda (Sevilla) and Prof J French]

Price D (2016) Influence of vegetation on sediment accumulation in tidal saltmarshes: an integrated field and modelling study [supervised also by Prof J French]

Gardner E (2016) The ecohydrology and conservation of a coastal sedimentary lake and wetland system: Sheskinmore Lough, Donegal, Ireland (UCL) [supervised also by Dr J Thompson]

Mitchell L (2015) An assessment of rehabilitation gravels for Salmo trutta spawning: a case study from a small chalk stream, the River Stiffkey, North Norfolk (EA/Cefas) [supervised also by Dr C Sayer]

Duranel A (2015) Hydrology and hydrological modelling of acidic mires in Central France (NERC) [supervised also by Dr J Thompson]

Pylarinou A (2015) Impacts of climate change on UK coastal and estuarine habitats: a critical evaluation of the sea level affecting marshes model (SLAMM) [supervised also by Prof J French]

Oyedotun T (2015) Estuary-coast interaction and morphodynamic evolution: a comparative analysis of three estuaries in southwest England (Nigerian Government Education Trust Fund) [supervised also by Prof J French]

Barrett-Mold C (2013) Morphostratigraphy of marginal coastal environments (NERC) [supervised also by Prof J French]

Morales-Marin L (2013) Numerical modelling of hydrodynamics and sedimentation in upland lakes: a test of the sediment focusing hypothesis (UCL) [supervised also by Prof J French]


Masters students

MSc Aquatic Conservation, Ecology and Restoration / Aquatic Science / Freshwater and Coastal Sciences
2021 A Biological Evaluation of Urban River Restoration: The Impacts of the Restoration of Beverley Brook on the Diversity and Community Composition of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates
2019 Runoff Attenuation Features (RAFs) to mitigate flood risk and improve water quality *
2015 Substrate history of southeast England seabed
2008 Physical characterisation and differentiation of visually identified flow biotopes *
2008 Changes in ecohydraulics with restoration: the River Glaven, Norfolk
2007 Evaluation of Shotley foreshore recharge
2007 The morphosedimentary character of Orford Haven, Suffolk
2006 Grain size trend analysis in a gravel-dominated ebb-tidal delta

MSc Climate Change
2021 Coastal dune mobility in Co. Donegal, Ireland: Unravelling the importance of climate and human activity
2020 Investigating the Sensitivity of Sediment Transport
2018 Nearshore wave climate variability at Bacton
2017 The North Atlantic Oscillation as a tool to predict future extreme windstorm events *
2017 Late-Holocene environmental change in northwest Ireland *
2017 Relationship between NAO and wind climate in western Europe
2016 Impact Southern Oscillation on embayment beach rotation, NSW, Australia *
2013 Sea level change: exploring evidence for a late-Holocene highstand
2013 The relationship between the NAO and wind climate over Norway *

MSc Conservation
2020 Underwriting change: examining roles, rules and the road ahead for incumbent actors in debt capital markets in the transition to sustainable finance *
2019 The potential of UAS imagery for saltmarsh vegetation classification and conservation
2019 Predictive capacity of Ecopath with Ecosim: a global sensitivity analysis *
2013 The extent and cause of unwelcome species on sand dunes
2011 Public perceptions and values of ecosystem services
2011 Landscape connectivity of local food and energy production
2011 Mitigation strategies for the new high-speed rail route *
2010 The altitudinal ecology of Apteryx australis *
2010 Oviposition and habitat requirements of the Small Blue (Cupido minimus) *
2010 Evaluating Natura 2000; a case study of Sheskinmore Lough SPA in Ireland *
2010 Dune heath habitats of northwest Ireland
2009 The impact of artificial lighting on the commuting and foraging behaviour of bats
2009 Control of invasive species in San Francisco natural areas *
2009 The effect of Common Standards Monitoring on Lepidoptera *
2009 Naturally regenerated calcareous grasslands on former arable land *
2008 Developing a wider countryside common insects monitoring method for volunteers
2008 Ecological impacts of deer browsing on ground flora
2008 The potential to restore a plantation on ancient woodland at Roudsea NNR
2008 Invasion and clearance of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) on dunes *
2007 Bats in Greater London: A revisit to London's bat feeding area survey
2007 Geomorphological control on coastal dune plant species *
2007 A rapid assessment of the avifauna of Isla Del Rey, Las Perlas Archipelago, Panama *
2006 Spatiotemporal movement of wildlife through the Bow Valley Wildlife Corridors *
2006 Long-term changes in flora and structure of Monks Wood
2006 River Thames intertidal substrate habitat management and conservation
2005 Bat mitigation: a preliminary investigation into the success of replacement bat roosts
2005 Factors affecting the distribution of Hypericum linariifolium *
2005 Biological / anthropogenic determinants of spatial variation in primate abundance
2005 Uptake and implementation of coastal habitat creation agri-environment schemes *
2005 Bird foraging preferences in response to arable field management strategies *
2004 The implications of climate change for the conservation of native pine woodland
2004 The response of ground flora to changes in silvicultural systems
2004 Common lizard (Lacerta vivipara) populations on the Isle of Man
2004 Impact of litter management strategies on strandline eco-morphodynamics
2004 Habitat requirements and oviposition of the Small Heath butterfly *
2003 Abundance and extinction rates amongst the Lemurs of Madgascar
2003 Habitat use by Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) on a lowland arable farm *
2003 Black Grouse breeding success and habitat management *
2003 Habitat requirements of the Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)
2003 Vocal individuality of the Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

MSc Environmental Modelling
2021 The significance of peat deposits on barrier morphology and the impact on wave dynamics and sediment transport: A case study of the North Suffolk coast
2020 The impact of ebb-tidal deltas on waves and longshore sediment transport *
2020 Impact of rapid urbanization on the Land Use and Land Cover Change in Guangdong, China
2018 Impact of climate variability on beach behaviour in northwest Ireland
2015 Re-evaluation of river restoration on the River Darent

MSc Remote Sensing / Environmental Mapping
2020 Shoreline Change and Hurricanes: the ultimate affair
2020 Quantitative Difference Analysis of Point Clouds of a Boulder Coast
2018 Object-oriented and pixel-based classification of high resolution UAS imagery
2017 Creating high resolution topographic models using low-cost consumer grade UAVs
2016 Relationship between ENSO and wind climate over the western North Pacific
2016 Vegetation evolution on coastal dunes, northwest Ireland
2015 Saltmarsh change analysis of Alde-Ore estuary 2006-2011
2013 Geomorphic and hydrological mapping of Sheskinmore Lough
2012 Ecogeomorphic feedbacks in coastal dune blowouts *
2012 Reconstructing the geographical history of watersheds
2012 Modelling the influence of offshore banks on nearshore waves
2010 User of LiDAR elevation data to assess the potential for managed realignment


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