April 20, 2019: Seniors Bianca Boggs and Kendall King did an excellent job earlier today presenting their work at the W&M Geology Department's Senior Research Saturday. Congrats to both on a job really, really well done.

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March 31, 2019: The VIMS Coastal Geology Lab just returned from the 2019 Southeastern Section meeting of the Geological Society of America, held in Charleston, SC. PhD student Justin Shawler gave an outstanding talk on the role of antecedent topography in barrier-island behavior and each Jennifer Connell (lab tech), Bianca Boggs (W&M senior), Kendall King (W&M senior), and Soely Luyando-Flusa (2018 VIMS REU) presented posters on their research on barrier islands, marshes, and estuaries of the mid-Atlantic. Proud advisor Chris also gave a talk, served as conference Technical Co-Chair, and took a handful of grainy photos. Read more about the Geo Deparment's participation here.

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August 10, 2018: Busy week around here . . . today our paper, led by Kate French (formerly WHOI postdoc, now US Geological Survey) and Valier Galy of WHOI, was published (open access) in Nature Scientific Reports. I tweeted about it here. The short version: organic matter exported from rivers is old. 80% of plant waxes from the Ganges & Brahmaputra rivers are 1000s of yrs old, stored in soils & floodplains. The rest cycle in decades, and track paleoenvironmental change.

August 7, 2018: Second student defense in one week! Last week it was Soely, today it was Julie Krask! Julie did a great job defending her masters work using a combination of sedimentology and biomarkers from the Tijucas Strandplain in Brazil to study the imprint of terrestrial climate changes on coastal sedimentation. Congrats Julie!

August 1, 2018: An update to the post below . . . today Soely presented the results of her REU project, and she will soon be returning home to Puerto Rico. We will miss her, but she leaves here at VIMS an outstanding REU thesis and a robust dataset. Congrats Soely on a wonderful job!

May 29, 2018: Today we welcome to the lab VIMS REU student Soely Luyando-Flusa, a rising senior in the Department of Biology at the Universidad del Turabo, Puerto Rico. Her REU project will focus on human impacts on oyster populations and sedimenation in the upper Chesapeake Bay.

Soely Field Photo

May 28, 2018: Our newest paper, focused on the challenges of early career interdisciplinary research (specifically focused on climate change and its impacts) was published today. Check it out here: Overcoming early career barriers to interdisciplinary climate change research.

May 13, 2018: End of another era: graduation day in Williamsburg. Congrats to undergraduate Coastal Geo Lab group members Kate DeMarco (r) and Lauren Herbine (l), and best of luck to both as they move on to the next phase of life!


May 3, 2018: Coastal Geo grad student Justin Shawler was awarded with a two-year Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship. Congrats Justin!

April 27, 2018: Chris was one of two VIMS physical coastal scientists recently awarded the College of William & Mary Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence. See the story here: Pair of VIMS Faculty honored with Plumeri Awards

April 15, 2018: Congrats to William & Mary and Coastal Geo Lab alum Jess Raff & VIMS Coastal Geo Lab grad student Justin Shawler on acceptance of their manuscript in Marine Geology: Insights into barrier-island stability derived from transgressive/regressive state changes of Parramore Island, Virginia. A first pub for both! This paper summarizes our findings from two years of field studies of Parramore Island, VA, and documents the time-varying roles of sea-level rise, storm impacts, and variable sediment fluxes in controlling the 1500-year evolution of the most robust barrier island on Virginia's Eastern Shore. 

November 13, 2017: This is a great day that happens once a year: we are very pleased to welcome our two new Coastal Geology lab members, Bianca Boggs and Kendall King, both juniors in the William & Mary Geology Department. For more on Bianca & Kendall, see our People page.

November 12, 2017: A bit of outstanding personal news work sharing on the lab website: Coastal Geo grad student Justin Shawler got engaged this weekend. Congrats Justin! This is a first for the lab, and I can show you one advisor who couldn't be happier!

September 27, 2017: Chris was recently awarded the College of William & Mary Alumni Fellowship Award. See the story here: Hein Receives W&M Alumni Fellowship Award

September 24, 2017: Andy Fallon's first peer-reviewed article from his masters work is out in Coastal Management! It features a hedonic housing value model informed by our geologic work on Plum Island, MA. Read more here: Adapting without retreating: Responses to shoreline change on an inlet-associated coastal beach

September 22, 2017: The VIMS Coastal Geology Lab, along with collaborators at Randolph-Macon College and the University of Delaware, held a field campaign and Technology Demonstration today, attended by Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and other dignitaries. Some photos from the event:

Shawler GPR    NASA Sign Geoprobe Team Photo

VIMS Coastal Geo Field Crew    Governor Geoprobe


September 17, 2017: New paper alert! Chris' work studying 19 kyr of climate, surface processes, and carbon sequestration in the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin is out in EPSL! Highlights include: (1) organic carbon burial efficiency remains high in spite of large variations in monsoon strength; and (2) temporal, climate-driven changes in sediment provenance within the basin are observed, possibly linked to monsoon rainfall focusing. Read more here: Post-glacial climate forcing of surface processes in the Ganges-Brahamaputra river basin and implications for carbon sequestration.

April 7, 2017: A lot of good news from current and former students in our team this week: Justin Shawler received an ExxonMobil/GSA Student Geoscience Grant to support his coring/modeling work on Cedar Island, VA; Lauren Herbine received a Virginia Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Research Scholarship for her studies of marsh accretion behind the VA barriers; and Brody Marino accepted a grad school offer from the University of South Carolina to complete a masters in geography. These are the things that make an advisor very proud. Congrats all!

March 30, 2017: VIMS Coastal Geology group students Julie Krask and Jess Raff both gave excellent presentations at the Southeastern Section meeting of the Geological Society of America. Justin Shawler also presented some sweet strat sections and garnered a lot of good discussion at his poster. Great job all! 

March 24, 2017: The VIMS Coastal Geology group: we #standwithscience

Coastal Geology Stand With Science

March 18, 2017: Jess has officially accepted a position in the graduate program at Vanderbilt University working with Dr. Steve Goodbred. She'll be missed, but we couldn't be happier for her. In the meantime, thankfully, there is still that pesky issue of her honors thesis & graduation . . .

February 16, 2017: Julie passed her masters qualifying exam today, following an excellent presentation laying out her approach to studying the role of climate change in driving sedimentologic changes in the Tijucas Strandplain (southern Brazil) ove rthe last 6000 years. Congrats Julie!

January 23, 2017: VIMS highlighted our research on the Virginia barrier islands (Charlie's Geology paper, published in early December) in a neat interactive website.

December 13, 2016: Chris presented a talk today at AGU on his postdoc work studying changes in monsoon strength and focusing, carbon burial, and Bengal Fan growth over the last 19,000 year. Check out more here: Post-Glacial Climate Forcing of Surface Processes in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle

December 8, 2016: Charlie Deaton's 2015 William & Mary senior research was published online today in the journal Geology. A fantastic achievement by this young scientist! This work traces barrier island and marsh change on the Eastern Shore of Virginia over the last 150 years and tests the so-called "runaway transgression" hypothesis, finding that any couplings between barrier island dynamics and associated backbarrier marshes are entirely overwhelmed by independent barrier-island migration, likely driven by changes in longshore sediment supply. Check it out here: Barrier island migration dominates ecogeomorphic feedbacks and drives salt marsh loss along the Virginia Atlantic Coast, USA. Please feel free to contact us for a pdf copy if you do not have online access.

October 20, 2016: Check back soon because we'll have some good news to share about the research work of lab group alum Charlie Deaton . . .

August 15, 2016: Congratulations to Rebecca Whitney on successfully defending her fantastic summer REU project studying the sources and geochemical signatures of 9000 years of sediment delivery to Plum Island.


June 6, 2016: Welcome to Rebecca Whitney, VIMS REU student for summer 2016! Rebecca will be working with us on organic carbon analyses from our 20+ m core sections from Plum Island, investigating sediment sources through time as part of our SedS-RACE Coastal SEES project.

May 1, 2016: The fully formatted, final version of our paper in Sedimentology on basin infilling and the formation of the Tijucas Strandplain in southern Brazil went online today. You can find the paper here: Complex coastal change in response to autogenic basin infilling: An example from a sub-tropical Holocene strandplain. Please feel free to contact us for a pdf copy if you do not have online access.

January 23, 2016: The results of nearly 10 years of work on the Tijucas Strandplain in southern Brazil were published online today at Sedimentology. This part of our work there looks at the infilling of Tijucas Bay during the Holocene transgression, highstand, and regression. You can find the paper here: Complex coastal change in response to autogenic basin infilling: An example from a sub-tropical Holocene strandplain. Please feel free to contact us for a pdf copy, and look for a future announcement when the properly formatted final paper goes online.

January 1, 2016: Happy new year! And welcome to Julie Krask, the newest member of our group, who is shifting the focus of her graduate work from elsewhere at VIMS and will be working on our studies of Tijucas, Brazil.

Andy, all suited up, defending his masters.

December 1, 2015: Congrats to Andy Fallon, who successfully defended his masters thesis here at VIMS today! Now, about turning those two chapters into papers . . .

November 15, 2015: Chris has started using Twitter for science communication (a bit). Follow him @coastalgeology

November 2, 2015: W&M senior, Justin Shawler, and VIMS Coastal Group alumn, Charlie Deaton (W&M '15), both presented their research on sediment export from the Merrimack River and barrier migration in Virginia at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Baltimore, MD, today. Great job both!

October 26, 2015: W&M senior and VIMS Coastal Geology group member Justin Shawler presented his summer 2015 REU research at the highly competitive Council on Undergraduate Research REU Symposium at NSF Headquarters in Arlington, VA today. Very well done!

October 21, 2015: Masters degree candidate Andy Fallon scheduled his defense date today! December 1st. Tick tock, tick tock . . . .

August 16, 2015: We're looking to add to our team through the addition of a graduate student (masters or PhD level) in Fall 2016. If interested, check out the details of ongoing projects across this website and then contract Chris Hein for more information:

July 31, 2015: Another dualie of good news: First, we would like to welcome William & Mary junior Jennifer Connell to the lab group. She is going to be working on a number of projects over the next year, with the hope of designing a senior research project from the science that best catches her interest. And speaking of interesting science (like that transition!?), the second paper from our work in St. Pierre & Miquelon with collaborator Julie Billy and her former advisor at the University of Perpignan, Nicolas Robin, was published online yesterday at Geomorphology in pre-print form. Check it out here!

March 18, 2015: Two pieces of good news: (1) Andy Fallon (VIMS MSc '15) passed his qualifying exam for his masters; and (2) Justin Shawler (W&M BS '16) was awarded, and has accepted, a position with the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program here at VIMS for summer 2015. Andy will be continuing his work on cyclical erosion/accretion patterns of northern Plum Island and hopes to defend his masters in September. Justin will be working on reconstructing fine sediment export from the Merrimack River during the time since European colonization. Congrats to both!

Chris Hein & Luis de Souza lecturing on the beach at southern Plum Island October 14, 2014: Last week, Chris, along with Byron Stone of the USGS, ran a field trip for the 106th meeting of the New England Intercollegiate Geologic Conference (NEIGC) to Plum Island and the lower Merrimack River Valley. This trip took a source-to-sink approach to the glacial, paraglacial and coastal history of this area. You can view or download the field trip guide here: Ice, water, and wind: A source-to-sink view of the glacial, paraglacial, and coastal sediments and processes that have shaped northeastern Massachusetts.

August 28, 2014: Today we welcome our newest group member - Claudia Shuman, who is starting on her PhD here at VIMS after recently completing her masters at the University of Delaware. Welcome Claudia!

August 6, 2014: The second paper from our work on the beach-ridge plain of St. Pierre & Miquelon was published online today at Marine Geology. This study, led by collaborator Julie Billy and her advisor Nicolas Robin of the University of Perpignan, looks at the architecture of this fascinating plain. You can find the paper here: Internal architecture of mixed sand-and-gravel beach ridges: Miquelon-Langlade Barrier, NW Atlantic. Please feel free to contact us for a pdf copy.

Hein presenting talk for VIMS After Hours Lecture Series in July 2014

July 28, 2014: Chris gave a VIMS "After Hours Lecture Series" talk on Thursday, July 31. The talk, entitled "Barrier Islands past, present, and future" was held at VIMS' Watermen's Hall, McHugh Auditorium. The lecture is now available online here: Hein After Hours Lecture Talk

July 10, 2014: The outreach website associated with our Coastal SEES project in Plum Island, MA has officially launched! Check it out at

Plum Island Research Project business card

May 15, 2014: We have welcomed a new member to our group! Unfortunately staying for only ~6 months, Luis Henrique Polido de Souza is a visiting student from the Laboratório de Oceanografia Geológica at the University of the Itajaí Valley (UNIVALI) in Itajaí, Brazil. While here, Luis will be working on our study of bay infilling at Tijucas as well as his undergraduate thesis study of phosphorites on the shelf break off the southern Brazil coast.

March 13, 2014: Our study of the fluvial sediment sources and supply rates to the barrier systems of the Gulf of Maine following deglaciation has been published online at the Geological Society of London: Evolution of paraglacial coasts in response to changes in fluvial sediment supply. Please feel free to contact us for a pdf copy.

February 1, 2014: The surficial geologic map of the Plum Island, MA area has been published online at the website of the Massachusetts State Geologist: Onshore-offshore surficial geologic map of the Newburyport East and northern half of the Ipswich Quadrangles, Massachusetts. High-res downloads of all three sheets and associated GIS files are available at that site. Or, you can view low-res versions on ISSUU: Sheet 1  Sheet 2   Sheet 3

January 7, 2014: Our study of the sedimentological sequences associated with the mid-Holocene highstand in Brazil has just been published online at GSA Bulletin: Coastal response to late-stage transgression and sea-level highstand. Please feel free to contact us for a pdf copy.

November 22, 2013:The Geprobe has arrived! Check out the video Dave Malmquist put together from its arrival at VIMS. Open house (with some practice cores to be collected) forthcoming once it warms up again in late winter / early spring.

October 29, 2013: We started a new page off of the Coastal Geology site - "Media". That page (see links to left) will provide all information on any media highlights of research, etc., rather than doubling up and having the same things listed on the News page as well.

October 22, 2013: The National Science Foundation (NSF) posted a press release on the Coastal SEES awards:

October 15, 2013: We are looking to recruit one new PhD student to start in fall 2014. Applications are now closed.

September 2, 2013: We have a website! This will have to suffice for news for the time being . . .