Directory Page Title

Jesse E. McNinch

Adjunct Professor of Marine Science

Email: [[mcninch]]
Phone: (804) 684-7191
Interests: Coastal geology; shoreline behavior; erosional hot spots and relationships to underlying geology, larval dispersal and settlement in estuarine and shallow water.
Office: Andrews Hall 237
Lab Website: {{}}
Department: Physical Sciences

  • Ph.D., Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, 1997
  • M.S., Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, 1989
  • B.S., Geology, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, LA, 1987
Research Interests

Mix sand, seawater, and energy over any time scale, and I am intrigued. Currently, I am investigating shoreline behavior (erosional hotspots) and its relationship to underlying geology. Exposure of non-sandy substrates in the surf zone may lead to changes in nearshore bar behavior and, ultimately, elevated beach erosion and accretion at specific locations. We must understand the role underlying geology plays in sediment distribution across the nearshore, bar development and migration, and shoreline response to storms in order to predict long-term beach behavior and improve shoreline management. Other projects include examination of physical and sedimentary processes on cape-associated shoals and a conceptual model for the development of cuspate forelands as well as small-scale sedimentary processes (e.g. scour, burial) around artifacts. My research approach often involves field observations, coupled with a modeling component, to challenge or test hypotheses. My training and expertise lie in observational techniques such as current and wave measurements, remote sensing, and surface and sub-bottom mapping.

Previous Projects
  • Morphodynamics of coastal barriers, Defense Coastal Estuarine Research Program, SERDP; $1,743,197; Lead PI - I. Anderson, Co-PI's - J. McNinch ($544,504), M. Brush, L. Schaffner; 2006-2010.
  • Nearshore morphodynamics and geological framework; US Geological Survey; $35,000; 2006-2007.
    Margins Source to Sink: Collaborative research of shoreline progradation between the coastal plain and inner shelf, Waipaoa Sedimentary System; National Science Foundation MARGINS; $640,019; Lead PI - J. McNinch; Co-PI's - C. Harris, J. Swenson; 2005-2008.
  • Collaborative research: A real-time and rapid response observing system for the study of physical and biological controls on muddy seabed deposition, reworking, and resuspension; National Science Foundation - Ocean Technology; $1,946,490; Lead PI - C. Friedrichs, Co-PI's - J. McNinch, S. Kuehl, R. Diaz, L. Schaffner, C. Harris; 2005-2008.
  • Sediment Dispersal off a High-yield River: Observations and Modeling of Gravity-driven Transport and Deposition; National Science Foundation - MG&G; $646,519; Lead PI - S. Kuehl; Co-PI's - J. McNinch, C. Friedrichs, L. Wright, C. Harris; 2003-2006.
Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications in Journals and Refereed Conference Proceedings (* notes authorship with mentored graduate student)

  • McNinch, J.E., in review, The origin and spatiotemporal controls of cuspate forelands, Marine Geology.
  • Addington, L.A, S.A. Kuehl, and J.E. McNinch, in review, Contrasting modes of shelf sediment dispersal off a high-yield river: Waiapu River, New Zealand, Marine Geology.
  • *Wadman, H.M. and J.E. McNinch, submitted, Spatial variation on the inner shelf of a high-yield river, Waiapu River New Zealand: implications to fine sediment dispersal and preservation, Continental Shelf Research.
  • *Schupp, C.A., J.E. McNinch, and J.H. List, in press, Shore-oblique bars, gravel outcrops and correlation to shoreline hotspots, Marine Geology.
  • McNinch, J.E., 2006, Bar And Swash Imaging Radar (BASIR): a mobile X-band radar designed for mapping sand bars and swash-defined shorelines over large distances, Journal of Coastal Research, 23 (1).
  • McNinch, J.E., A.C. Trembanis, and J.T. Wells, 2006, Predicting the fate of artifacts in energetic shallow marine environments: an approach to site management, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 35 (2), 290-309.
  • *Browder, A. and J.E. McNinch, 2006, Linking framework geology of the nearshore: correlation of paleo-channels with shore-oblique sandbars and gravel outcrops, Marine Geology, 231, 141-162.
  • *Miselis, J.L. and J.E. McNinch, 2006, Calculating shoreline erosion potential using nearshore stratigraphy and sediment volume, Outer Banks, North Carolina, Journal of Geophysical Research, 111 (F02019).
  • Kuehl, S., C. Alexander, L. Carter, L. Gerald, T. Gerber, C. Harris, J. McNinch, A. Orpin, L. Pratson, J. Syvitski, and J. Walsh, 2006, Initial MARGINS Research in New Zealand provides framework to understand and model sediment transfer from land to ocean, EOS, 87 (29), 281-286.
  • McNinch, J.E., 2004, Geologic control in the nearshore: shore-oblique sandbars and shoreline erosional hotspots, Mid-Atlantic Bight, USA, Marine Geology, 211, Issues 1-2, pp 121-141.
  • Wells, J.T. and J.E. McNinch, 2003. Role of inlet dynamics in scour and burial of marine artifacts in energetic coastal settings, Proceedings of the International Conference on Maritime Heritage, WIT Press, Boston, pp. 87-96.
  • Miller, H.C., J.E. McNinch, J.M. Land, G. Battisto and J.E. Davis, 2003, Fate and effects of an experimental mixed-sediment mound, ASCE Conference Proceedings 119 (67).
  • Buzzelli, C.P., R.A. Luettich, S.P. Powers, C.H. Peterson, J.E. McNinch, J.L. Pinckney, and H.W. Paerl, 2002, Estimating the spatial extent of bottom-water hypoxia and habitat degradation in a shallow estuary, Mar Ecol Prog Ser, 230, 103-112.
  • Luettich, R.A., S.E. Carr, J.V. Reynonlds-Fleming, C.W. Fulcher, and J.E. McNinch, 2002, Semi-diurnal seiching in a shallow, micro-tidal lagoonal estuary, Continental Shelf Research, 22, 1669-1681.
  • McNinch, J.E., J.T. Wells, and T.G. Drake, 2001. The fate of artifacts in an energetic, shallow-water environment: scour and burial of Queen Anne's Revenge. Southeastern Geology, 40 (1), 19-27.
  • Wells, J.T. and J.E. McNinch, 2001. Reconstructing shoal and channel configuration in Beaufort Inlet: 300 years of change at the site of Queen Anne's Revenge. Southeastern Geology, 40: 1, 10-18.
  • McNinch, J.E. and R.A. Luettich, Jr., 2000. Physical processes around a cuspate foreland headland: implications to the evolution and long-term maintenance of a cape-associated shoal. Continental Shelf Research, 20 (17), 2367-2389.
  • McNinch, J.E. and J.T. Wells, 1999. Sedimentary processes and depositional history of a cape-associated shoal: Cape Lookout, NC. Marine Geology, 158 (1-4): 233-252.
  • McNinch, J.E., J.T. Wells, and S.W. Snyder, 1999. The long-term contribution of Pre-Holocene sands to transgressing barrier islands. In: Kraus, N.C. and W.G. McDougal (eds.), Coastal Sediments '99, 1: 786-801.
  • McNinch, J.E. and J.T. Wells, 1992. Effectiveness of beach scraping as a method of erosion control. Shore and Beach, 60 (1): 13-20.
  • Wells, J.T. and J.E. McNinch, 1991. Beach scraping in North Carolina with special reference to its effectiveness during Hurricane Hugo. Journal of Coastal Research, SI-8: 249-261.
Past Students
  • Kate Brodie (M.S.) - Wind-driven circulation in the nearshore
  • Lindsey Kraatz (Ph.D.) - Acoustic signatures of bioturbation - York River
  • Heidi Wadman (Ph.D.) - Dispersal/capture of coarse sediment - Waiapu, New Zealand
  • Jun-Yong Park (Post-doctoral Associate) - Beach and nearshore dynamics
  • Jennifer Miselis (Ph.D.) - Influences of underlying geology on shoreline behavior
Past Students
  • Alacia Browder (M.S., 2005) - Influences of shelf sand mining on shoreline change
  • Courtney Schupp (M.S., 2005) - Geological controls on shoreline rhythmic topography
Courses Taught/Teaching
  • Coastal and Estuarine Processes - Laboratory (MS502L)
  • Geophysics in the Coastal Zone (MS698)
  • Remote Sensing in the Nearshore Environment (MS698)
  • Coastal Sedimentary Environments (MS 552)
  • Guest Lecturer (MS501; GEO238; MS501L)
  • Marine Geology (MS 522)
  • Marine Tools and Techniques (MS 568)
  • Marine Geology (GEO306)
Faculty/Student Awards
  • 2002 - Office of Naval Research-Army Research Office, Young Investigator
  • 1998 - National Research Council, Post-doctoral Fellow
Professional Memberships
  • American Geophysical Union
Collaborative Interdisciplinary Efforts
  • College-Wide Committee Service

  • Admissions Committee: Chair, 2006-present.

  • Admissions Committee: Departmental representative and co-chair, 2004-2006.

  • Building Committee, Saltwater Lab, Research and Teaching Flume: Sub-committee Chair

  • Awards Committee: Faculty Representative, March 2001-2003.

  • Admissions Committee: Alternate Representative, March 2001-2003.

  • Professional Community Service

  • NOAA - Ocean Science Panel, Fall 2005; Spring 2006.

  • NSF - MG&G Proposal Review Panel, Spring 2005.

  • Program Review, Invited lecture and participant in USGS-North Carolina Co-op investigation workshops, Spring and Fall, 2004.

  • NSF Margins Source-to-Sink Workshop, Participant and group leader, New Zealand, Spring 2003.

  • Bar morphodynamics and underlying geology, Invited lecture and participant in shoreline hotspot workshop, Field Research Facility, US Army Corps of Engineers, Spring 2002.

  • Results from nearshore surveys in the Outer Banks, Invited lecture and participant in USGS-North Carolina Co-op investigation workshop, Fall, 2002.

  • Interaction of underlying geology with nearshore processes, Invited lecture and participant in joint ONR-ARO nearshore workshop, Spring, 2002.

  • Invited Participant: Research Goals for the Next Decade Workshop; Joint Office of Naval Research and Army Research Office; January 2001