Virginia Institute of Marine Science

John T. Wells

Dean of School of Marine Science; Director of Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Email : [[wells]]
Phone : (804) 684-7103
Office : Watermen's Hall 230
Department : Dean/Director's Office

  • B.S., Geology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • M.S., Geological Oceanography, Old Dominion University
  • Ph.D., Marine Sciences (minor in Statistics), Louisiana State University
Research Interests

The focus of my research for the past 25 years has been in the field of coastal Marine Geology, with emphasis on the sedimentology and morphology of clastic sedimentary environments and the physical processes that shape their evolution. Specific topics of research include: dynamics of fine-grained sediments; estuarine and deltaic sedimentation; and, beach and shelf processes. Field sites are located along the central North Carolina beaches, lower Neuse River and Pamlico Sound, and in the recent past, in the Mississippi Delta, along the west coast of Korea, and in Lake Malawi in east Africa.

Current Projects
  • Sediment Resuspension and Deposition in the Neuse River Estuary from Flooding Associated with Hurricanes
  • Beach Erosion and the Fate of Nourishment Sand: Results of High Resolution Beach and Nearshore Mapping
  • Shoal and Channel Migration at the Queen Anne's Revenge Wrecksite: 300 years of Change and Implications to Submerged Artifacts
  • Geological and Physical Transport Processes on a Cape-Attached Shoal: Field Observations and Numerical Modeling
Selected Publications
  • Dean, R.G., J.T. Wells, H.J. Fernando, and P. Goodwin. 2014.  Sediment diversions on the Lower Mississippi River: Insight from simple analytical models.  Journal of Coastal Research 30:13-29. DOI:10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00252.
  • Park, J.Y., P.T. Gayes, and J.T. Wells. 2009. Transport and fate of nourished sands on the sediment-starved Grand Strand Beach, South Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research 25:336-349.
  • Gratiot, N., E.J. Anthony, A. Gardel, C. Gaucherel, C. Proisy, and J.T. Wells. 2008 Significant contribution of the 18.6 year tidal cycle to regional coastal changes. Nature Geoscience 1:169-172.
  • Day, J.W., D.F. Boesch, E.J. Clairain, G.P. Kemp, S.B. Laska, Wm. J. Mitsch, K. Orth, H. Mashriqui, D.R. Reed, L. Shabman, C.A. Simenstad, B.J. Streever, R.R. Twilley, C.C. Watson, J.T. Wells, and D.F. Whigham. 2007. Restoration of the Mississippi Delta: lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Science 315:1679-1684.
  • Camann, E. and J.T. Wells. 2007. Two-component methodology for detailed beach surveying with RTK-GPS. Shore and Beach 76:3-7.
  • Park, J.Y. and J.T. Wells, 2007. Spit growth and downdrift erosion: results of longshore transport modeling and morphologic analysis at the Cape Lookout cuspate foreland. Journal of Coastal Research 23:553-568.
  • 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 Archeology 35:290-309.
  • Orth, K., J.W. Day, D.F. Boesch, E.J. Clairain, W.J. Mitch, L. Shabman, C. Simenstad, B. Streever, C. Watson, J.T. Wells, and D. Whigman. 2005. Lessons learned: an oassessment of the effectiveness of a National Technical Review Committee for oversight of the plan for restoration of the Mississippi Delta. Ecological Engineering 25:127-198.
  • Park, J.Y. and J.T. Wells, 2005.  Longshore transport at Cape Lookout, North Carolina: shoal evolution and the regional sediment budget. Journal of Coastal Research 21:1-17.
  • Conaway, C.A. and J.T. Wells, 2004. Aeolian dynamics along scraped shorelines, Bogue Banks, North Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research 20:393-405.
  • 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 1st International Maritime Heritage Conference. WIT Press, pp. 87-96.
  • Borrelli, M. and J.T. Wells, 2002. Sediment bypassing, spit progradation and the Cape Lookout "Jetty". Shore and Beach 70:15-19.
  • Roessler, T.S. and J.T. Wells, 2001. Beach changes along eastern Bogue Banks, NC resulting from the 1996 hurricane season. Journal of Coastal Research 17:964-975.
  • 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 40:11-18.
Honors and Awards
  • 2000 - Present Editor-in-Chief, Marine Geology
  • Recipient of 1998 Distinguished Teaching Award at UNC-Chapel Hill for post-baccalaureate instruction
Professional Memberships
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceangraphy
  • Geological Society of America