• Geoprobing During Covid-19 Pandemic
    Geoprobing During Covid-19 Pandemic   The Coastal Geology Field Crew collecting Geoprobe cores during the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020. L-R: Cameron Clark (W&M ugrad), Sarah Grace Lott (W&M ugrad), Bruce (drill rig), Justin Shawler (VIMS PhD student), Jenn Connell (lab genie), Kayla Cahoon (VIMS MSc student), Mark Lundine (UDel PhD student).  
  • Coastal Geo Lab with Governor
    Coastal Geo Lab with Governor   The VIMS Coastal Geology Lab on Wallops Island (Sept 2017). L-R: Lauren Herbine, Dan Ciarletta (Montclair State University), Jenn Connell, The Macker (former VA Governor Terry McAuliffe), Chris Hein, Kate DeMarco, Justin Shawler.  
  • Governor Geoprobe
    Governor Geoprobe   Jenn Connell training former VA Governor Terry McAuliffe (L) on the Geoprobe on Wallops Island in September 2017.   Photo by Dave Malmquist, VIMS
  • Tractor on Peregrination
    Tractor on Peregrination   The field crew on the way to Parramore Island via the R/V Peregrination. Edward Smith (vessel) & Arye Janoff (tractor) both at their respective wheels.  
  • Field Modelers
    Field Modelers   The VIMS Coastal Geology Lab even gets modelers into the field. Dan Ciarletta (L) and Arye Janoff of Montclair State University, on Parramore Island (note bug nets) in 2016.   Photo by Justin Shawler, VIMS
  • Wallops GPR
    Wallops GPR   Our version of Abbey Road: Kate DeMarco (L), Lauren Herbine, and Justin Shawler running ground-penetrating radar on Wallops Island.   Photo by Dan Ciarletta, Montclair State University
  • NASA Sign
    NASA Sign   The VIMS Coastal Geology Field Crew out on Wallops Island in 2017. L-R: Lauren Herbine, Kate DeMarco, Justin Shawler, Chris Hein, Jenn Connell.   Photo by Dan Ciarletta, Montclair State University
  • Coring Field Crew
    Coring Field Crew   Jess Raff (L), Jenn Connell, and Sarah Baker, pullin' cores and takin' names (note Ciarletta & Shawler working hard in the background).   Photo by Sean Fate, VIMS ESL
  • Vibracoring on the Peregrination
    Vibracoring on the Peregrination   Vibracoring the Parramore Island intertidal mud flats on the R/V Peregrination. L-R Edward Smith (VIMS ESL), Arye Janoff (Montclair State University), Chris Hein, Jenn Connell, Jess Raff   Photo by Dan Ciarletta, Montclair State University
  • Vibracore Mud
    Vibracore Mud   Vibracoring the muddy marshes of Parramore Island. L-R: Caleb Drake (Randolph-Macon), John Harding (VIMS volunteer), Dan Ciarletta (Montclair State University), Jenn Connell, Justin Shawler.  
  • #standwithscience
    #standwithscience   The 2017 VIMS Coastal Geology Group (L-R: Emily Hein, Jenn Connell, Jess Raff, Kallie Brown, Justin Shawler, Sarah Baker, Kate DeMarco, Chris Hein; Missing: Julie Krask)  
  • Coastal Geology Coring Rig & Trailer
    Coastal Geology Coring Rig & Trailer   The VIMS Coastal Geology Geoprobe direct-push drill rig and associated trailer and truck. Here, the VIMS Coastal Geology team was collecting a sediment core through the marsh along the Plum Island Turnpike in Newbury, MA.   Photo by L. Polido (UNIVALI)
  • Drilling Through the Sequence
    Drilling Through the Sequence   Adam Darer (left), Chris Hein (center) and Luis Polido (right) proudly showing off drive 16 (19.5 m!) of a Geoprobe core that went through the barrier, backbarrier and glaciomarine units and into glacial till near the southern tip of Plum Island.   Photo by L. Polido (UNIVALI)
  • Brazilian Churrasco
    Brazilian Churrasco   Collaborators and students taking a break from field work for a churrasco in 2009. Key collaborators include João Thadeu de Menezes (back row, 2nd from left), Duncan FitzGerald (back row, center), Thelma Scolaro (center, yellow shirt), Antonio Klein (back right), Marcos Berribilli (left, blue shirt), and Bill Cleary (front right).   Photo courtesy of William Cleary (UNC Wilmington)
  • Vibracoring in Navegantes, Brazil
    Vibracoring in Navegantes, Brazil   Collecting a vibracore along a mid-Holocene highstand ridge in Navegantes, Brazil. From left: Chris Hein, Thadeu de Menezes, Bill Cleary.   Photo by Duncan FitzGerald (Boston University)
  • St. Pierre & Miquelon Field Team
    St. Pierre & Miquelon Field Team   Warming up after a day of coring and GPR at a (the?) bar in Miquelon, SPM, France in May 2011. From left: Carol Wilson (Vanderbilt), Lead PI Nicolas Robin (U. Perpignan), Chris Hein, Raphael Certain (U. Perpignan), Sam Wright. (missing: Duncan FitzGerald)   Photo by Sam Wright (Truslow Resource Consulting, Portsmouth, NH)
  • Miquelon-Langlade Beach Ridges
    Miquelon-Langlade Beach Ridges   Julie Billy (left) and Chris Hein (right) collecting GPR across the Miquelon-Langlade beach-ridge plain in September 2012.   Photo © Thibaut Vergoz / CNRS Images (
  • Wadi Gawasis Field Team
    Wadi Gawasis Field Team   The 2010 field team at Wadi Gawasis, Egypt, led by Kathryn Bard (back row, third from right) of Boston University. Our thoughts remain with all of our Egyptian friends and colleagues and their families . . .  
  • Shawler Defense Photo
    Shawler Defense Photo   Senior members of the Coastal Geology Lab at Justin Shawler's PhD Defense, November 2021. L-R: Emily Hein, Liz Davis, Jenn Connell, Kayla Cahoon, Justin Shawler, Chris Hein, Mary Bryan Barksdale  
Photo - of -
Hein WM Photo Christopher Hein is an associate professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs at VIMS. He received a B.S. from the Cornell University in 2003 and Ph.D. from Boston University in 2012. Chris works on aspects of coastal change ranging from the impacts of sea-level rise and past climate changes, to beach and dune management. He applies the tools of sedimentology and organic chemistry to investigate the link between sediment-supply driven coastal evolution and past climatic variability in coastal settings including barrier islands, marshes, beach- and foredune ridge systems, and coastal dunes, with a goal of using this link to forecast future responses to regionally-specific climate changes.
Harris Field Photo Michelle Harris (PostdocBS, Sam Houston State Univ., 2016; MS (2019) and Ph.D (2024), U. South Carolina) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Coastal Geology Lab at VIMS. She has earned her degrees in Geography with an emphasis on coastal processes, management, and remote sensing/GIS. She was a 2020 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow where she was stationed within the NOAA National Ocean Service as a member of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program Office. Michelle's doctoral research focused on managed mesoscale coastal dune systems in South Carolina using an integrated approach of field-based, remote sensing, and qualitative research. During her time as a member of the Wind-sediment Interactions and Nearshore Dynamics (WINDlab) at USC, she focused on quantifying the geomorphic response of coastal dune systems to natural (tropical cyclones, high tide flooding) and anthropogenic (e.g., sand fences) impacts. She is most interested in optimizing coastal management at varying spatiotemporal scales and communicating results with local stakeholders.
Barksdale Field Photo Mary Bryan Barksdale (PhD Candidate; BA, Bowdoin College; MAT, University of Mississippi) holds a bachelor’s degree in Earth and Oceanographic Science and Gender and Women’s Studies as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching. Mary Bryan’s interest in the formation & evolution of coastal systems is rooted in her fascination with change occurring at the microscopic and molecular level. After thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and teaching high school science for three years in a critical-needs school in her home state of Mississippi, Mary Bryan is focusing her love of environmental chemistry on the effect of salt marsh erosion on sediment and carbon accumulation rates within and across ecosystems. She is co-advised by Matt Kirwan
Cahoon Field Photo

Kayla Cahoon (PhD Candidate; BS, W&M, 2019; VIMS PhD Student) is mapping the surficial geology of and studying Pleistocene sea-level change along Virginia's Eastern Shore. A W&M graduate in Geology, she completed an honors thesis studying impacts of land-use change on lacustrine sedimentation in the developed Lake Matoka watershed. Kayla started at VIMS as a MSc student, but  her love of mapping the Eastern Shore has led her to recently transition to the PhD program.

Elizabeth Davis Field Photo

Elizabeth Davis (PhD Candidate; BA, West Virginia U., 2016; MSc, U. Delaware, 2020; VIMS PhD Student) earned a bachelor's degree in Environmental Geoscience and master's degree in Geological Sciences. Liz's master's research was focused on improving mapping and stratigraphic analysis of the surface sands along the eastern shore of the Delmarva Peninsula. She is now working with collaborators from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and Virginia Commonwealth University to quantify the tradeoffs between natural and artificial sand dunes along the North Carolina Outer Banks. Liz is also interested in leveraging coastal research to help guide local government in making more informed policy decisions regarding coastal management. Be sure to check our her personal website here!

McCormick Field Photo

Matt McCormick (PhD Student; AS, Red Rocks Community College; BS, Fort Lewis College; MSc, Florida Atlantic U., 2024) holds a bachelor's degree in Geology with a GIS Certificate and a Masters in Geoscience. Despite spending most of his life in the mountains of Colorado, Matt's love for the coast led him to complete a master's thesis focused on the morphologic impacts of Hurricane Ian within southwest Florida. This project allowed Matt to develop a passion for coastal processes and sediment budgets along barrier island settings, making him excited to study the sediment dynamics off of the Virginia barrier islands throughout his PhD.

Boggess Field Photo

Allyson Boggess (BS, JMU, 2017) is the Laboratory Manager for the Coastal Geology Lab. She works behind the scenes to support CGL's lab and field activities, and runs the Sedimentology & Gamma Lab Cost Center. After earning her bachelor's degree in Geology from James Madison University, she participated in the NAGT/USGS Cooperative Summer Fellowship Program and later worked as a geologist at the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center.the Coastal Geology Laboratory Manager as of May 2024. 

Ayotte Field Photo Jessie Ayotte is a sophomore at William & Mary, intending to major in biology and minor in marine science. She is currently working on multiple projects in the coastal geology lab, hoping to gain a better understanding of the discipline.
Cornbau Field Photo Travis Cornbau is a sophomore at William & Mary, majoring in biology with a minor in marine science. He is currently assisting with various projects across the coastal geology lab with hopes of diversifying his future career options.
Greenfeld Field Photo Addison Greenfeld is a sophomore at William & Mary, pursuing majors in Geology and ENSP. He is working to collect and process samples in support of multiple projects in the coastal geology lab.
Maclin Photo Lawrence Maclin is a sophomore and WMSURE Scholar at William and Mary. While currently undecided for a major, he intends to major in biology on a pre-medical track. He is working across multiple aspects of the coastal geology lab, and exploring a possible thesis project. 
Van Dongen Field Photo Anna Van Dongen is a junior at William & Mary, pursuing a major in Geology and Minor in Marine Science. Her work with the Coastal Geology Lab is primarily focused on couplings between humans and marsh processes, focusing on our study of the Westport region of Buzzards Bay, MA. 
Zeman Field Photo Julia Zeman is a junior in the William & Mary Geology Department, and will be pursuing her senior or honors thesis with the Coastal Geology Lab. Her thesis topic is TBD, so do check back!
Lab Associates
Flynn field photo Evan Flynn (BS, Eckerd College, 2018; VIMS PhD Student) earned her B.S. in Marine Science with undergraduate research focused on coastal sedimentology and anthropogenic impacts. Evan recently completed her MSc at VIMS, studying sediment and organic carbon dispersal and accumulation in the Ayeyarwady Delta. For this, she was co-advised by Hein, but primarily by Steve Kuehl. Evan is now expanding this project as part of a PhD under the sole supervision of Kuehl, but remains a member of the Coastal Geology Lab.
Emily Hein field photo Emily Hein (BA, Boston U., 2009; MSc, MIT-WHOI, 2011) is a coastal geologist by training, and keeps her foot in the research door through occasional collaboration with our lab. She is the Assistant Director for Advisory Service in the VIMS Office of Research and Advisory Services, where she responds to inquiries and requests from local, state, regional, and federal policy makers and regulators and provide marine science-based information and advice.
Lab Alumni - Graduate Students
Andy Fallon picture Andy Fallon (VIMS MSc, 2016) completed his masters at VIMS in December, 2015. Prior to his time here, Andy received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Earth Systems with a certificate in Coastal and Marine Science from the Five College system and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Andy's thesis focused on the monthly to decadal-scale cycles of erosion and accretion on Plum Island, Massachusetts and, in partnership with collaborator Porter Hoagland at WHOI, the impacts of coastal erosion on property values. Andy is currently a PhD student at the University of Connecticut
Krask Field Photo Julie Krask (VIMS MSc, 2018) completed her masters at VIMS in August 2018, after completing a study using organic biomarkers and organic and inorganic proxes to link coastal sediment deposition and sub-millennial scale climate change (focused on Tijucas Strandplain, Brazil). Julie also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in marine science from William & Mary (2015), and has experience in both cancer research and nitrogen cycling from her time as an undergraduate. 
Shawler Field Photo Justin Shawler (VIMS PhD, 2022) completed bachelor’s degrees in Geology and Government at William & Mary prior to starting at VIMS. As a Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow, his thesis focused on the evolution of the barrier island systems of the Delmarva Peninsula. Between his undergraduate and graduate work in the lab, Justin first or co-authored 10 peer-reviewed publications. And counting. Justin is now a coastal scientist with the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Check out Justin's personal webpage.
Shuman Profile Picture Claudia Shuman was a graduate student at VIMS from 2014-2016, during which time she investigated barrier island dynamics and sediment fluxes along the northeastern coast of the United States. A graduate from Pennsylvania State and UDel, Claudia previously had completd a masters degree on the denitrification in a shallow aquifer beneath an active agricultural field on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Lab Alumni - Undergraduate Students
Sarah Baker Sarah Baker (W&M BS, 2017) graduated with a major in geology. Sarah rediscovered her love of the ocean after spending a semester studying marine science onboard a ship in the South Pacific. She completed her senior thesis studying erosion on Plum Island Point / Reservation Terrace, in Plum Island, MA, through which she contributed to our 2019 Frontiers paper, on which Sarah is an author.
Boggs_Photo Bianca Boggs (W&M BS, 2019) graduated with a degree in geology, and as the star senior on the W&M Basketball team. From southern Maryland, with initial interest in physics and engineering, Bianca found an interest in geology and impacts humans have on climate change and earth processes. Her senior research project focused on barrier-island stratigraphy and response to sea-level rise, using field sites from New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, which formed a backbone of Shawler's 2021 Sedimentology paper, on which Bianca is an author.
Kallie Brown Field Photo Kallie Brown (W&M BS, 2016) graduated with a degree in geology. Kallie currently worked at the Center for Coastal Resources Management at VIMS, and part-time in the Coastal Geology Lab mapping marsh area changes on the Delmarva Peninsula. 
No picture for Luiza! Luiza Caminada was a volunteer in the VIMS Coastal Geology lab during the summer of 2015 when she worked on a study of marsh accretion rates in the Great Marsh, MA  This followed a year of study at Montclair State University as part of a study abroad / internship program from her native Brazil.
Clarke Field Photo Cameron Clarke (W&M BS, 2022) graduated with a major in geology and minor in marine science. Her senior thesis project was field- and GIS- based, focusing on Pleistocene sea-level change near Wachapreague, Eastern Shore, Virginia.
Ian Cook field photo Ian Cook is a chemistry major at William & Mary, which he seeks to apply to geochemistry and ultimately medicine. He was a member of the Coastal Geology Lab for the first two years at his time in college, and has switched gears to focus on his chemistry studies.
Charlie Deaton Photo Charlie Deaton (W&M BS, 2015) graduated from with majors in Geology and Environmental Science & Policy. Charlie's senior research project focused on the relationship between barrier-island migration and relative backbarrier sedimentation rates as derived from backbarrier marsh and tidal flat areas, and the impact of accelerated sea-level rise on those relationships; this work was published in Geology in 2017
DeMarco Photo Kate DeMarco (W&M BS, 2018) graduated from with a major in Geology. Her senior thesis project focused on the development of the Chinocteague - Assateague - Wallops island system in Virginia and the records of environmental change and coastal response preserved within the beach and foredune ridges of these islands.
Haley Gannon Photo Haley Gannon (W&M BS, 2015) graduated with a major in Environmental Geology and minor in Environmental Science & Policy. For her senior research, Haley mapped changes in shoreline positions of Plum Island over the past 150 years, work for which she earned co-authorship on a Coastal Sediments Proceedings paper. Haley is now working on a masters at Johns Hopkins.
Ally Gravgaard Field Photo Ally Gravgaard (W&M BS, 2023) graduated with a Minor in Marine Science and is currently pursuring a graduate degree here at VIMS with the Multispecies Research Group.
heminway Selwyn Heminway (W&M BS, 2023) graduated with high honors and with majors in Geology and Environmental Science. Her honors thesis was focused on modeling how different dune morphologies might respond to rising sea-levels and increased storminess brought by climate change in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first part of this was published as a conference proceeding paper from Coastal Sediments '23 and the second part in Sustainibility in 2024.
Herbine Photo Lauren Herbine (W&M BS, 2018) graduated with a major in Geology. Her senior thesis work focused on the role of storm overwash and barrier-backbarrier couplings on historical marsh accretion behind several of the Virginia barrier islands.
Nathaniel Ingle Field Photo Nathaniel Ingle is a geology major at William & Mary. He was a member of the Coastal Geology Lab for the first two years at his time in college, and has switched gears to studying petrology. 
Kendall King Field Photo Kendall King (W&M BS, 2019) graduated from William & Mary with a major in Geology and minor in Marine Science. For her senior research, Kendall investigated saltmarsh accretion at four sites across the southeast US, a study published in 2024 in Communications Earth & Environment, with Kendall as co-author.
No picture for Luiza! Meghan Kirk (W&M BS, 2019) worked on an outreach project for the Barrier Islands Center (Machipongo, VA) for her Geology senior thesis project with the Coastal Geology Lab. 
kivimaki field photo Katherine Kivimaki (W&M BS, 2024) graduated William & Mary with dual degrees in Public Policy and Environment & Sustainibility. While with the lab she worked on projects from Wallops to Svalbard, including as a lab technician for six months after graduation. Currently in the private workforce, she plans to return soon for graduate school.
Soely Field Photo Soely Luyando-Flusa is a recent graduate from the Department of Biology at the Universidad del Turabo, Puerto Rico. She was the VIMS Coastal Geology Lab Summer 2018 REU student, from which she was chosen as the VIMS student representative to the ASLO Multicultural Program (ASLOMP). Her REU project focused on human impacts on oyster populations and sedimentation in the upper Chesapeake Bay.
Lott Field Photo Sarah Grace Lott (W&M BS, 2021) graduated with a major in geology and minor in data science. Her undergraduate thesis work focused on headland sediment bypassing processes through mapping of downdrift spit systems at the mouth of Babitonga Bay, Brazil. For this, she participated in the VIMS REU program in summer 2020, and went on to complete an W&M Geology honors thesis.
Brody Marino Field Photo Brody Marino (W&M BS, 2016) graduated with majors in Geology and Government, and minoring in Marine Science. Growing up near the Chesapeake Bay and the Outer Banks. His senior thesis project investigated the spatial and temporal scales of sediment reworking from the Merrimack River along Plum Island and nearby barriers. His work contributed to our 2019 Frontiers paper, on which Brody is an author.
Obara Photo Chloe Obara (W&M BS, 2020) graduated with a major in Geology and minor in Marine Science. Her senior thesis work focused on understanding the dynamic morphology, sedimentology, and history of rapid growth of "Fishing Point" at the southern tip of Assateague island. This formed a major component of Shawler's 2021 Quaternary Science Reviews paper, on which Chloe is an author. Chloe is currently working for the W&M Geology Department.
Raff Field Photo Jessica Raff (W&M BS, 2017) graduated following completion of an honors thesis with the VIMS Coastal Geology group. She studied the evolution of Parramore Island, VA and the role that changes in sea level and sediment supply have played in late Holocene change; this work was published in Marine Geology in May 2018. Jess is now a graduate student in the Goodbred Lab at Vanderbilt University.
Robbins_Field_Photo Mahinaokalani Robbins (W&M BS, 2021) graduated with a major in geology and minor in mathematics. She completed her senior thesis studying historical island area and sand-volume changes along the Virginia barrier islands (a study published in 2022 in Geomorphology). Her work also contibuted to Shawler's 2021 Quaternary Science Reviews paper, on which Mahina is an author. Mahina is currently working towards her MSc in volcanology at Western Washington University
Colleen_Scott_Photo Colleen Scott (W&M BS, 2020) graduated with a major in Geology and minor in Marine Science. Prior to joining our lab, Colleen was a Summer 2018 REU intern at VIMS researching changes in groundwater analyte concentrations. Her senior research focused on hurricane-induced marsh sedimentation along the southeast US coast, which developed a preliminary dataset used in a successful NSF proposal. Her work is now in prep for publication.
Photo of Luis Henrique Polido de Souza Luis Henrique Polido de Souza was an intern (May - Oct 2014) with the VIMS Coastal Geology lab. His primary undergraduate thesis focuses on marine phosphate deposits in southern Brazil under supervision of Prof Dr. José Gustavo Natorf de Abreu. Luis' primary study with the VIMS Coastal Geology group was on basin infilling at Tijucas Strandplain, Brazil, earning him co-authorship on publications in Sedimentology and Coastal Sediments Proceedings.
Ethan Stewart Field Photo Ethan Stewart is a current student and WMSURE Scholar at William & Mary, who worked with our lab in Summer 2022. His myraid interests have taken him elsewhere, largely into the fields of Conservation.
Strik Field Photo Melanie Strik (W&M BS, 2021)  graduated with a major in geology, after four years as a star member of the W&M Field Hockey team. Her senior research focused on the stratigraphic and sedimentologic differences between natural and artificial dunes along the North Carolina Outer Banks. She is currently working on a Masters in Sustainability in Munich, Germany.
Grace Weeks Field Photo Grace Weeks (W&M BS, 2023) graduated with a Minor in Marine Science, after serving as co-president of the W&M Marine Science Society and working for two years in the Coastal Geology Lab, engaging in all aspects of our coastal geology field and lab program. 
Whitney Field Photo Rebecca Whitney was a Summer 2016 REU intern with the VIMS Coastal Geology group and an undergraduate student majoring in Chemistry at Elmira College. As an REU intern, Rebecca worked with Chris Hein and Liz Canuel to analyze organic carbon and nitrogen markers in soil samples from Plum Island.
Lab Alumni - Staff
Connell 2019 Photo Jennifer Connell (BS, W&M, 2017) was the Coastal Geology Laboratory Manager (aka "lab genie") between 2017 and 2024. She graduated from William & Mary with a major in Geology and minor in Marine Science after completing a senior thesis focused on human impacts on marsh accretion in the Great Marsh, Plum Island, MA. Jenn ran the Sedimentology & Gamma Lab Cost Center and . . . well the whole lab . . . during her time here. Jenn left to open a Plato's Closest in Williamsburg, so check it out sometime.
Male Clipart Mudassir Rasuli was a technician with the Coastal Geology Laboratory's organic geochemistry lab. Trained as a medical doctor in his native Afghanistan, Mudassir has extended his knowledge of human health to plant biomarkers (and fixing finicky lab equipment).