Ongoing & Recent Research Projects

Shoreline progradation in Poverty Bay, New Zealand

We are studying sediment redistribution within Poverty Bay, New Zealand, offshore of the Waipaoa River. Funded by the NSF Margins Source to Sink Program, this study involves field observations of sediment flux and seabed properties. The focus of our group is to develop a three-dimensional numerical model of hydrodynamics and sediment transport for Poverty Bay, and to link our high-resolution simulations to models of stratigraphic development. 


Funded by the NSF Co-OP CBED program, MUDBED (MUltidisciplinaryBenthic Exchange Dynamics) is examining how interactions between biological and physical processes impact fine-grained sediment resuspension. My part in the effort involves developing a three-dimensional sediment transport model for the field site, the York River estuary. Planned improvements to the three-dimensional model include better treatment of bed consolidation and flocculation.


Funded by the NOAA, the Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Research Program (NGOMEX) study is examining how physical, geochemical, and sedimentological processes impact hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Our lab is focusing on efforts to develop a three-dimensional sediment transport model for the Texas/Louisiana coast and interfacing the sediment calculations with a biogeochemical model.


Funded by the Office of Naval Research, the EuroSTRATAFORM program hopes to improve our ability to relate water column transport processes to the resulting morphology of the seabed. Work at VIMS included implementation of a sediment transport routine within ROMS, a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. ROMS has been used at VIMS to evaluate which processes lead to sediment dispersal and deposition within the Adriatic Sea.

New York Bight
Funded by the U.S. Geological Survey's Pollution Program, this project has worked to quantify sediment transport and flow patterns in the New York Bight offshore of New York and New Jersey. Especially interesting are sedimentation and flow patterns in the vicinity of the Hudson Shelf Valley—the drowned axis of the paleo-Hudson River. The field observations and modeling program have led to publications that include
  • Bradford Butman, P.S. Alexander, Courtney K. Harris, Peter A. Traykovski, Marilyn B. ten Brink, Frances S. Lightsom, and Marinna A. Martini, 2003. Oceanographic Observations in the Hudson Shelf Valley, December 1999 - April 2000: Data Report .U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-217, DVD-ROM. Request DVD-ROM by emailing [[ckharris]]; or view contents on-line at
  • Harris, C.K., B. Butman, and P. Traykovski.  2003. Wintertime circulation and sediment transport in the Hudson Shelf Valley. Continental Shelf Research. 23(8):  801--820.  Request reprint by email:, or view on Science Direct: .
  • Harris, C.K. and R.P. Signell. 1999. Sediment transport in the vicinity of the Hudson shelf valley. In press: the 6th International Conference on Estuarine and Coastal Modeling; ASCE; New Orleans, November, 1999. Request reprint by email:
NOPP Community Sediment Transport Project

The second workshop for the NOPP Community Sediment Transport Modeling Project was held in Williamsburg between September 30 and October 2, 2002. For details see

Two Dimensional Sediment Transport Model