M. Karinna Nunez Home Page

Karinna Nunez

Associate Research Scientist; CCRM Geospatial Modeling Manager

Email: [[karinna]]
Phone: (804) 684-7273
Office: Davis Hall 218
Section: Ecosystem Health
Unit: Center for Coastal Resources Management
Website: {{}}

  • B.S. Biochemistry, University of the Republic of Uruguay
  • M.S. Marine Science, William & Mary
  • Ph.D.  Marine Science, William & Mary
Research Interests
  • Spatial analysis and modeling using GIS technology and remote sensing 
  • Application of machine learning to map shoreline features and coastal habitats 
  • Cross-scale modeling of creek-river-estuarine-ocean systems  

  • Ecology and evolution of tidal marshes 
  • Living shorelines 
  • Wetland restoration  

  • Coastal vulnerability assessments due to sea-level rise and flooding 
  • Land use and land cover change 
  • Adaptation and mitigation approaches 
  • Sustainable development management in coastal areas 
Selected Projects
  • Advancing the use of spatial data and coastal modeling in implementing adaptive management to support coastal community resilience. Funded by CZM – NOAA. 

  • Site Suitability Modeling for Use of Nearshore Oyster Structures in Shoreline Protection Strategies, Specific to Mobjack Bay, Virginia, and its Tributaries. Funded by NOAA.

  • Improved Siting of Living Shoreline Stabilization Projects. Funded by EPA MD DOE.
  • Implementing SCHISM Model as part of NOAA integrated water modeling projects. Funded by NOAA.
  • Developing of a Tidal Marsh Model to assess marsh vulnerability due to sea-level rise. Funded by EPA.
  • Enhancing the adaptive capacity of Virginia coastal wetlands to lessen vulnerability to climate change. Funded by EPA.
  • Sustainability in Chesapeake Bay shorescapes: climate change, management decisions, and ecological functions. Funded by NSF Coastal SEES.
  • Increasing use of natural & nature-based features to build resilience to storm-driven flooding. Funded by NOAA
  • Development of Comprehensive Coastal Resource Management Portals (CCRMPs) – Virginia’s coastal counties. Funded by CZM - NOAA
  • Geographic Information System Support to Chesapeake Bay Shoreline Erosion Feasibility Study, Maryland.  Funded by USACE, Baltimore District.
  • The Stability of Living Shorelines - An Evaluation.  Funded by NOAA.
  • Comprehensive Shoreline Inventory for the State of Maryland – Funded by NOAA/MD DNR.
  • Riparian Shoreline Assessment and Mapping for the Chowan River, NC – Funded by Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Project (APNEP).
  • Development of TMDL models for Virginia Shellfish Growing Waters – Funded by DEQ.
  • Tools for Improving Protection of Wetland Resources in Virginia. Funded by EPA – DEQ.
  • Enhancing Development of Strategies for Coastal Wetland Conservation Prioritization in Virginia under Climate Change. Funded by EPA.
  • Land Use Change and Recurrent Flooding Issues in Northern Virginia. Funded by VDOT
  • Synthesis of Shoreline, Sea Level Rise, and Marsh Migration Data for Wetland Restoration Targeting. Chesapeake Bay Program. Funded by Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Selected Publications
  • Mitchell, M., Nunez, K., Tombleson, C., Herman, J. (2023). A marsh multi-model approach to inform future marsh management under accelerating sea level rise. Ecological Solutions and Evidence.

  • Guthrie A., Stafford S., Scheld A., Nunez K.,  Bilkovic D. (2023). Property owner shoreline modification decisions vary based on their perceptions of shoreline change and interests in ecological benefits. Frontiers in Marine Science. 10:1031012. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1031012

  • Lv, Z., Nunez, K., Brewer, E., Runfola, D. 2023. pyShore: A deep learning toolkit for shoreline structure mapping with high-resolution orthographic imagery and convolutional neural networks. Computers & Geosciences. Vol 171.

  • Nunez, K., Rudnicky, T., Mason, P., Tombleson, C., Berman, M. (2022). A geospatial modeling approach to assess site suitability of living shorelines and emphasize best shoreline management practices. Special Issue: Nature-based coastal defense: developing the knowledge needed for wider implementation. Ecological Engineering. 179. 106617.
  • Allen, T.; Behr, J.; Bukvic, A.;{…}; Nunez, K.; Reidenbach, M.; Shortridge, J., Weisberg, R.,  Weiss, R.; Wright, L.D.; Xia, M,  Xu, K.; Young, D.; Zarillo, G.; and J.C. Zinner (2021). Anticipating and Adapting to the Future Impacts of Climate Change on the Health, Security and Welfare of Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) Communities in Southeastern USA. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2021, 9(11), 1196.
  • Nunez, K., Zhang, Y., Bilkovic, D.M., and C. Hershner (2021). Coastal setting determines tidal marsh sustainability with accelerating sea-level rise. Ocean & Coastal Management, 214, 105898. 
  • Huang, W., Ye, F., Zhang, Y., Park, K., Du, J., Moghimi, S., Myers, E., Pe'eri, S., Calzada, J.R., Yu, H.C., Nunez, K., and Liu, Z. (2021) Compounding factors for extreme flooding around Galveston Bay during Hurricane Harvey, Ocean Modelling, 158, 101735.
  • Nunez, K., Zhang, Y.J., Herman, J., Reay, W., Hershner, C. (2020) A multi-scale approach for simulating tidal marsh evolution. Ocean Dynamics.,  
  • Zhang, Y., Ye, F., Yu, H., Sun, W., Moghimi, S., Myers, E.P., Nunez, K., Zhang, R., Wang, H.V., Roland, A., Du, J., and Liu, Z. (2020) Simulating compound flooding events in a hurricane, Ocean Dynamics,
  • Ye, F., Zhang, Y., Yu, H., Sun, W., Moghimi, S., Myers, E.P., Nunez, K., Zhang, R., Wang, H.V., Roland, A., Martins, K., Bertin, X., Du, J., and Liu, Z. (2020) Simulating storm surge and compound flooding events with a creek-to-ocean model: importance of baroclinic effects, Ocean Modelling, 145.
  • Berman, M., Mason, P., Nunez, K., & Tombleson, C. (2018) Implementing Sustainable Shoreline Management in Virginia: Assessing the Need for an Enforceable Policy. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. , Gloucester Point, Virginia, 23062.
  • Nunez, M.K. (2010).  Modeling Shoreline Change and Resulting Wetland Response Due to Erosion and Sea-Level Rise: A Case Study in Dorchester County, Maryland. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary. Gloucester Point, Virginia, 23062.
  • Bilkovic, D.M., C. Hershner, T. Rudnicky. K. Nunez, D. Schatt, S. Killeen, and M. Berman. 2009. Report: “Vulnerability of Shallow Tidal Water Habitats in Virginia to Climate Change.” Center for Coastal Resources Management. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Berman, M., Herman, J., Nunez, K., and D. Schatt.  2008. Report: “Erosion Vulnerability Assessment and Planning Tool”. Center for Coastal Resources Management. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Berman, M.R., Berquist, H., Herman, J., Nunez, K. (2007). The Stability of Living Shorelines - An Evaluation. Final Report. Center for Coastal Resources Management Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia, 23062.
  • Berman, M.R., Berquist, H., Hershner, C.H., Killeen, S., Nunez, K., Reay, K., Rudnicky, T., and D. Weiss. (2006). (Virginia and Maryland) County Shoreline Situation Report, Special Report in Applied Marine Science and Ocean Engineering No. 394, Comprehensive Coastal Inventory Program, Center for Coastal Resources Management Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia, 23062.
  • Chesapeake Community Modeling Program
  • Society for Women in Marine Science
  • Ocean Visions
  • National Center for Faculty Development & Inclusion (NCFDD)
  • U.S. Coastal Research Program