• Vibracoring During Covid-19 Pandemic
    Vibracoring During Covid-19 Pandemic  The face-covered & socially-distanced Coastal Geology Lab field crew collecting vibracores in Tom's Cove (Assateague Island, VA) in May 2020. L-R: Justin Shawler (VIMS PhD student), Chris Hein (VIMS PI), Chloe Obara (W&M graduate), Jenn Connell (lab genie).  
  • 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)
  • GPR at Plum Island Airport
    GPR at Plum Island Airport  Chris Hein taking the easy road while collecting GPR data along the Plum Island Airport runway in Newburyport, MA. This airport sits on an old (ca. 17 kyr) terrace of the Merrimack River  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)
  • Coring Picarras Beach, Brazil
    Coring Picarras Beach, Brazil  Collecting an auger core at Picarras Beach, Santa Catarina, Brazil. From left: William Cleary (UNC Wilmington), Duncan FitzGerald (Boston University), Jean Jimmy Berná Paim (UNIVALI), Chris Hein, João Thadeu de Menezes (UNIVALI)  Photo by Marcos Berribilli (UNIVALI)
  • 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 . . .  
Photo - of -
Hein WM Photo Christopher Hein is an associate professor in the VIMS Department of Physical Sciences. He received a B.S. from the Cornell University in 2003 and Ph.D. from Boston University in 2012. For the latter, Chris studied the role of changes in sea level and sediment supply on Holocene coastal evolution. He then worked as a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI, studying the effects of climate change on terrestrial organic-carbon dynamics in the Ganges-Brahmaputra/Bengal Fan system. Chris is now working to apply the tools of sedimentology and organic chemistry to investigate the link between sediment-supply driven coastal evolution and past climatic variability in diverse coastal settings, with a goal of using this link to forecast future responses to regionally-specific climate changes.
Barksdale Field Photo Mary Bryan Barksdale (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 (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 and Marine Science, 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 (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. 

Shawler Field Photo

Justin Shawler (BS, W&M, 2016; VIMS PhD Student) holds bachelor’s degrees in Geology and Government. Justin's interests in coastal geology stem from how it combines science with public policy implications related to federal, state, and local coastal management. Justin was a REU intern at VIMS in Summer 2015 and completed an honors on the human impacts on sediment supply to the Plum Island barrier system over the last several hundred years. As a graduate student at VIMS, and now a Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow, he is now studying the evolution of the barrier island systems of the Delmarva Peninsula. Check out Justin's personal webpage.

Connell 2019 Photo

Jennifer "the ripper" Connell (BS, W&M, 2017) is the Coastal Geology Laboratory and Research Specialist (aka "lab genie"). 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 has proven herself remarkably adept at all things lab and field, and is particularly efficient with a sawzall. Jenn also runs the Sedimentology & Gamma Lab Cost Center.

No picture for Luiza! Lindsey Call is a senior in the William & Mary Geology Department. Her senior thesis project, co-advised by Lynn Wingard of the US Geological Survey, investigates the impacts of sea-level rise and storm damage on the mangroves of southeast Florida.
Clarke Field Photo Cameron Clarke is a senior in the William & Mary Geology Department, minoring in marine science. Her senior thesis project is field- and GIS- based, focusing on Pleistocene sea-level change near Wachapreague, Eastern Shore, Virginia.
Heminway Field Photo Selwyn Heminway is a junior at William & Mary pursuing a double major in Geology and Environmental Science. As a 2021 W&M Charles Center Scholar, she spent her summer studying Pleistocene sea-level under the back barrier of Cedar Island, Virginia, and her senior thesis project focuses on dune Morphodynamics in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
No picture for Luiza! Olivia Wachob is a junior in the William & Mary Geology Department. We're still deciding on her senior research topic . . .
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.
pondell_200.png Christie Pondell (BS, Texas A&M University at Galveston; PhD, VIMS, 2014) is a postdoc in the Canuel Lab at VIMS where she studies organic carbon cycling across fluvial, deltaic, and estuarine systems, and in the coastal ocean. As a collaborator on multiple research and teaching projects, she is an active member of our lab and mentor to several undergraduate students.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
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 the role of hurricanes (specifically, Hurricane Irma) in delivering sediment to salt marshes at four sites across the southeast US.
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. Sarah Grace is currently a coastal geology PhD student in the Coastal Processes & Geomorphology Lab at Michigan State University. 
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 currently under review for publication). 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.
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.
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.