Dr. J. P. Walsh           

Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, East Carolina University
Associate Researcher, Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, ECU
Co-Program Head of Coastal Processes, UNC Coastal Studies Institute
Director of the Summester at the Coast

ECU Office:

301B Graham Building, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, NC 27858, (252) 328-5431

UNC CSI Office:

324 Research Building, UNC Coastal Studies Inst., Wanchese, NC 27981, (252) 475-5429

Email:  walshj@ecu.edu 

Geological Oceanography, Coastal Processes, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy


University of Washington (2001)


SUNY Stony Brook (1997)

 B.A. Colgate University (1995)

 View my full CV

OBX Storm


Generally, I am interested in how materials from land are dispersed and accumulate in the ocean, and how marine processes affect the coast and its resources.  I use sediment characteristics, environmental measurements (including oceanographic, meteorological, and hydrologic data), and geophysical methods like seismic-reflection tools to understand the modern and ancient processes influencing the seabed and sedimentary record of the coast.  This research is important to examining the fate of pollutants and runoff, assessing carbon sinks for climate studies, quantifying natural resources like sand for beach nourishment, evaluating biological habitats, identifying and extracting petroleum, and protecting our nation’s coastlines.

More specifically, the following are three general areas of research focus:

1)   Sediment movement and accumulation in the ocean.   A portion of my research focuses on understanding sedimentation along the continental margin, the portion of the ocean near land . These studies involve making ocean and seafloor measurements and collecting seafloor cores.  Lab and computer analysis help to determine sedimentation behavior. I have taken part in many offshore research cruises to support my investigations; here's an example expedition:   http://www.coastal.geology.ecu.edu/nz/.  

2)   River and estuarine  processes.  Materials from land are transport by rivers into estuaries.   Because these are critical ecological zones, it is important to be knowledgeable on how they function and be aware how humans may impact coastal biological, chemcial, physical and geological processes.  My research involves exploring and sampling coastal water bodies by small boat and uses a variety of research tools to measure different phenomena.  

3)   Shoreline and barrier island change.  Storms and sea-level changes are two key processes that can  alter the coast.   Our studies in North Carolina and around the world use remote-sensing methods (e.g., aerial photo analysis) and field investigations to help understand changes and potential ramifications.

Learn more about Dr. Walsh's research by visiting the SSTORM Research Group.

Funding for my research has been provided by many grants from a variety of sources, such as the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuarine Program (APNEP) and the State of North Carolina.

Selected Publications  (*Denotes advised student)  

 View my full CV

Walsh, J.P., Corbett, D.R., Kiker, J., Orpin A., Hale, R., and A. Ogston.   2014.  Spatial and temporal variability in sediment deposition and seabed character on the WaipaoaRiver margin, New Zealand. Continental Shelf Research, 86: 85-102.

Walsh, J.P., Corbett, D.R., Ogston, A.S., Nittrouer, C., Kuehl, S.A., Allison, M.A., and S.L. Goodbred Jr.  2013.  Shelf and slope sedimentation associated with large deltaic systems.  Editors: T.S. Bianchi, M.A. Allison, and W. Cai, In:  Biogeochemical Dynamics at Major River-Coastal Interfaces: Linkages with Global Change. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 704 pgs.

*Eulie, D., Walsh, J.P. and D.R. Corbett. 2013. High-Resolution Measurements of Shoreline Change and Application of Balloon-Aerial Photography, Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System, North Carolina, USA. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 11, 151-160.

*Cowart, L., Walsh, J.P. and D.R. Corbett.  2010.  Analyzing Estuarine Shoreline Change: A Case Study of Cedar Island, NC.  Journal of Coastal Research, 6(5): 817-830.

Walsh, J.P. and C.A. Nittrouer. 2009. Towards an Understanding of Fine-grained River-Sediment Dispersal on Continental Margins. Marine Geology, 263: 34-45.

*Ryan, K.E., Walsh, J.P., Corbett, D.R., and A. Winter. 2008. A record of recent change in terrestrial sedimentation, La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 6: 1177-1183.

Walsh, J. P., C. R. Alexander, T. Gerber, A R. Orpin, and B. W. Sumners. 2007. Demise of a submarine canyon? Evidence for highstand infilling on the Waipaoa River continental margin, New Zealand, Geophysical Research Letters, 34: L20606, doi:10.1029/2007GL031142.

Walsh, J. P., Corbett, R. , Mallinson, D. , Goni, M. Dail, C. Loewy, K. Marciniak, K. Ryan, C. Smith, A. Stevens, B. Sumners, and T. Tesi. 2006. Mississippi Delta Mudflow Activity and 2005 Gulf 

Walsh, J.P., Nittrouer, C.A., Palinkas, C., Ogston, A.S., Sternberg, R.W., and G.J. Brunskill. 2004. Clinoform mechanics in the Gulf of Papua, New Guinea.  Continental Shelf Research, 24: 2487-2510.

Walsh, J.P. and C.A. Nittrouer.  2004.  Mangrove-bank sedimentation in a mesotidal environment with large sediment supply, Gulf of Papua.  Marine Geology, 208: 225-248.

Walsh, J.P. and C.A. Nittrouer.  2003.  Contrasting styles of off-shelf sediment accumulation in New Guinea.  Marine Geology, 196: 105-125.

Walsh, J.P. and C.A. Nittrouer.  1999.  Observations of sediment flux to the Eel continental slope, northern California.  Marine Geology, 154:  55-69.

Teaching & Advising

I am currently the Director of the Summester at the Coast.

Classes I have taught include:
Atlantic Ocean and Mid-Atlantic Coast (GEOL2500/2501), East Carolina University/UNC CSI. This class reviews the history and oceanography of the Atlantic Ocean and examines the morphology of and processes affecting the mid-Atlantic region using North Carolina as an example. The focus extends from the Paleozoic to present and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The terrestrial, estuarine and oceanographic processes causing coastal change and associated sedimentation and stratigraphy are discussed. The class uses nearby depositional environments as context for the discussion, and the co-requisite lab (1 credit) involves related field trips.

Coastal Geoscience (GEOL 7002), East Carolina University, Class is designed primarily for doctoral students in the Coastal Resource Management Program.  Class uses lectures, labs and field trips to teach coastal geological and physical oceanographic processes

Oceanography (GEOL 1550)
, East Carolina University.  An introductory-level class with typical enrollment of ~100. 

Land-Sea Interactions (GEOL 6705)
, East Carolina University.  Created and orchestrated this graduate-level class including an overnight field trip.  Class was designed to educate students on quantifying sediment and solute dynamics; the Pamlico-Albemarle dispersal system is used as a focus.  

Sedimentology (GEOL 4010/4011)
, East Carolina University.  Lecture and lab class.  Prepared and presented lectures for upper-level undergraduate class.  Also, graded materials and coordinated exams, labs and field trips.
I have advised several students:


Luke Stevens, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor

C.J. Cornette, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor

Jessica Strand, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor

David Hawkins, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor

David Young, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Spring 2014

Ian Conery, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Spring 2014

Devon Eulie, ECU, CRM Ph.D, Co-advisor, Spring 2014

Joey Kiker, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Summer 2012

Dimitri Quafisi, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Fall 2010

Reanna Camp, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Fall 2009

David Lagomasino, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Spring 2009

Lisa Cowart, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Summer 2009

Sophie Dillard, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Fall 2008

Kat Marciniak, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Co-advisor, Fall 2007

Katie Ryan, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Advisor, Spring 2007

Ben Sumners, ECU, Geological Sciences MS Student, Advisor, Fall 2007

I have served on numerous committees in my Department and institutes.

I have reviewed papers and proposals for a wide variety of entities, including the National Science Foundation, SeaGrant, Geology, Marine Geology and Journal of Coastal Research.

I am currently an Associate Editor for Sedimentology