Geocoastal Research Group

The Geocoastal Research Group (GRG) inherits the spirit of the Coastal Studies Unit (CSU) that was inaugurated at The University of Sydney in 1976, and from which the discipline of coastal morphodynamics arose shortly thereafter.

Spanning the coastal sedimentary continuum from river systems to the edge of continental margins, and encompassing both clastic and carbonate environments, this field of research is focused on the coupling between flow dynamics and geomorphic evolution enacted by sediment transport.


Fellow PhD students James and Steph working on a core into a spur wall near Harry’s Bommie. Spurs in this location are up to 3 m tall and 5 m wide, separated by wide rubbly grooves.

Geocoastal research at the University of Sydney spans from the study of day-to-day change in coastal environments due to meteorological events, to improving our understanding of the links between global climatic and tectonic adjustments and the geomorphic evolution of continental margins. The research approaches practiced by the group are accordingly varied, and include in situ field measurement, remote-sensing techniques, and both physical-process and systems-behaviour modelling. Across the spectrum of scales, research extends beyond geomorphic evolution to habitat responses, environmental contamination and marine territorial rights.


The team with a nice piece of core through a Platygyra (Brain) coral

The Geocoastal Research Group is integrated with the University’s wider marine science community via the University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science (USIMS), which exploits a mutual interest in process interactions to connect geocoastal research with the related fields of coastal marine ecology, marine robotics and coastal engineering. In recognition of the core research strength in marine science, the university is a foundation member of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS), a flagship interdisciplinary facility located on the picturesque shores of Sydney Harbour. The Geocoastal Research Group has strong links with One Tree Island Research Station, one of the most pristine coral cays available to the scientific community only.


3D mosaic along the top of a spur near Harry’s Bommie