The Team

Iris Möller, University of Cambridge

During her PhD in the mid-1990s, Iris Möller provided the first ever field measurements of waves as they lose their energy when they travel over a mixed salt marsh plant community. The fact that it took many years for this natural buffering function to be recognised as an ‘ecosystem service’ has made her determined to try to speed up the process from science to policy and practice. Thus she led the . After these experiments, coastal managers and engineers asked: ‘…but how long will the salt marsh stay in place?’ This sowed the seeds for this new project, alongside the EU funded Hydralab+ experiment in the GWK flume (the EU RESIST project). Iris believes that this fantastic team of researchers can begin to answer that question!

Tom Spencer, University of Cambridge.

Tom Spencer is Professor of Coastal Dynamics, Director of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) and Director of Research, at the Department of Geography at Cambridge. In that position he is continuing the department’s long standing tradition to undertake fundamental, interdisciplinary research on coastal ecosystems and their landforms (i.e. ‘biosedimentary systems’) across a range of space and time scales. He has interests in coastal morphodynamics, sedimentation and ecology, under both ‘normal’ and ‘storm surge’ conditions, and has worked on the East Anglian coast since 1975.

Kate Spencer, Queen Mary University of London

Kate Spencer is Professor of Environmental Geochemistry and a coastal scientist in the School of Geography at Queen May University of London. She has spent much of her career working on coastal wetlands exploring the behaviour of cohesive sediments and their associated pollutants and applying this fundamental science understanding to improve the management of fine sediments. Pertinent to this project has been her recent work on restored saltmarshes that has demonstrated how sediment structure (porosity, root networks and stratigraphy) can modify hydrology and sediment biogeochemical cycles with significant consequences for ecosystem service delivery in restored salt marshes.

Kate Royse, British Geological Survey

Kate Royse is Director of GeoAnalytics and Modelling and an Hon. Professor in Engineering at Nottingham University. She specialises in adding value to scientific data and information through the application of predictive analytics, geospatial modelling, machine learning, and data fusion methodologies. Her directorate provides a one-stop-shop delivering high end research through to innovative market ready products, technology and services. Most recently her directorate has produced a coastal vulnerability model which combines multi-hazards within the coastal zone of England and Wales. The coastal vulnerability dataset has been developed with a number of stakeholders and can be used to interpret potential interdependencies in terms of erosion, flooding, habitat and other vulnerabilities.

Simon Carr, University of Cumbria 

Simon Carr is a sedimentologist specialising in the micro-scale analysis of soils and sediments. Having led developments in the analysis of thin sections of unconsolidated sediments since the 1990s, he now focuses on the application of 3D-computed X-Ray microtomography to understanding the structural properties of sediments. He has developed new ways to accurately characterise and quantify sediment fabric and pore system structure in glacial, coastal and fluvial sediment systems, and how these influence sediment stability, hydraulic properties and contaminant storage.

Ben Evans, University of Cambridge

As part of this team, Ben Evans focusses on improving our understanding of salt marsh change and how we can predict it. He uses remotely sensed images of all kinds (satellite, aerial photography and UAV) to do so and through this method links the RESIST experiments to the European FAST (Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology) project. His PhD on ‘Data-driven prediction of saltmarsh morphodynamics’ highlighted the incredible value of geospatial image analysis to anyone interested in better informed and thus more sustainable coastal flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Clementine Chirol, Queen Mary University of London

Clementine has recently completed a PhD at the University of Southampton on the restoration of coastal wetlands in the UK. Her background is in geomorphology, sedimentology and data processing. She has developed innovative methods to semi-automatically interpret the evolution of complex morphological features such as creek networks within saltmarshes using remote sensing data from lidar. As part of this project, she will work on the visualisation and interpretation of the 3D soil structure within natural and restored saltmarshes, as detected by micro-CT scans. By mapping key features such as the porosity network, she will improve our understanding of how soil structure influences the resistance of a saltmarsh to eroding forces.

Helen Brooks, University of Cambridge

Helen is a PhD student investigating the geotechnical properties of intertidal mudflats and salt marsh substrates and how these properties influence the stability of those substrates. She is rapidly becoming an expert in how to sample and analysis salt marsh sediment strength and stability: the field measurements she conducts include shear strength determination, using a shear vane and Cohesive Strength Meter. Her laboratory tests also assess the substrate compressibility, shear strength (based on shear box tests), behavioural properties (liquid, plastic and shrinkage limits) and sedimentology (particle size analysis, water content, bulk density and loss on ignition). Ultimately, these measurements will be linked to mapped salt marsh expansion or retreat to assess how substrates influencethe marsh’s likelihood to undergo vertical and lateral changes when exposed to physical forces from waves and tides. Helen’s PhD project is unique in paving the way towards making this link.