The Beachlab is, at it’s heart, a research group devoted to understanding coastal processes. The energy and material that moves through the coastal zone over time. The time frames we investigate stretch from minutes to millenia, covering short-term transformation of individual waves to glacial/interglacial cycles of sea level change. A few topcis and projects are outlined below. We are constantly evoloving and working in new areas so this list will change over time.
1. Coral reefs, climate change, and coastal protection
The Beachlab has built a suite of tools to investigate wave breaking and transformation across coral reefs. This research is focused on understanding wave breaking, sediment transport, and geomorphic change on coral reefs (e.g. Harris et al. 2014, 2015a and 2018). This research has also resulted in work that investigated the change in wave processes on coral reefs in a future of higher sea levels and degraded reefs (Harris et al. 2018, Science Advances).
2. Beaches: Morphodynamics and change
The Beachlab works on the beaches of Queensland from North Stradbroke Island to Cooktown. We collect coastal data in the field and through aerial images and satellites and use numerical models that help investigate change on the coast. The project of Dylan and Mao are driving this research and both are working on building an understanding of change on the coast and how a change to climate drivers and sea level will impact the coast in the future.
3. Hydrodynamics: Surf zone processes
Dan’s has worked on waves since he began his research career. In fact, almost all the research produced by Dan and the Beachlab has some link back to waves on beaches and coral reefs. Waves are the main hydrodynamic process that drives change on the coast but the wave they break and transform towards the coast is facinating on it’s own. The way waves move towards the coast and the methods we use to forecast this change is a continuing research program in the Beachlab and involves regular field work on coral reefs and beaches in Queensland.