USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program
The USGS conducts a wide variety of research in coastal and marine environments to support scientific understanding, develop tools and technology, and provide maps, data, and other information needed by resource managers and decision-makers.
Use the tabs below to find current research (organized by theme or listed alphabetically) and previous research projects and other related web resources (searchable by topic).
|Advanced Remote Sensing Methods for Coastal Science and Management|
Developing algorithms for characterizing and classifying features on the seafloor using data collected by both airborne and underwater instrumentation
|Assessment of Physical Changes in Barrier Islands and Coastal Wetlands Associated with Hurricane Sandy|
Integrating wetland assessments with existing coastal-change hazard assessments for the adjacent dunes and beaches to create a more comprehensive look at coastal ecosystem vulnerability.
|Barrier Island Evolution|
Addressing the research gap between the short time scale of individual storms and the longer time scales associated with the historic and geologic evolution of coastal systems.
|Caribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards Studies|
Reducing risk from large earthquakes and devastating tsunamis by studying and monitoring tectonic structure and activity in the active Caribbean region.
|Carolina Coastal Change Processes|
Investigating how shoreline, near-shore, and offshore sediment transport processes drive coastal change in the Carolinas through combined use of geophysical surveys, oceanographic studies, and predictive models.
|Climate and environmental change in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean|
Studying paleoceanographic, climatic, and environmental changes in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent land areas to determine cycles of natural climate variability and environmental change over the last 10,000 years.
|Climate Change Impacts to the U.S. Pacific and Arctic Coasts|
Understanding local and regional coastal response to forecasted changes.
|Coastal and Marine Earthquake, Tsunami, and Landslide Active Margin Field Studies|
Assessing the earthquake, landslide, and tsunami hazards posed to coastal nuclear power plants located along active strike-slip fault zones in California and the eastern Aleutian-Alaska subduction zone.
|Coastal Aquifer Project II (CAPII)|
Quantifying the relative role of ground water in the delivery of fresh water and nutrients to geologically distinct coastal areas.
|Coastal Change Hazards Portal|
Visualization tool for exploring coastal hazard risks at varied scales, from local areas of interest to national scope in a geospatial format. Information includes historic shorelines, coastal change rates, sea-level rise, the Coastal Vulnerability Index and more.
|Coastal Change Processes|
Investigating interactions between the shoreline, nearshore, and offshore sediment transport processes driving coastal change; and developing capabilities to predict impacts.
|Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS)|
Developing scientific information and tools to support natural resource managers in the adaptive management of nearshore habitats of Puget Sound.
|Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements|
Developing open-source numerical models for sediment-transport in coastal environments.
|Coral Microbial Ecology|
Studying of the relationship of coral-associated microorganisms to each other, the coral host, and to their environment.
|Coral Reef Community Calcification and Metabolism|
Forecasting and hind-casting the future and past response of coral reef calcification and growth to changes in seawater carbonate chemistry from pre-industrial time to the year 2100.
|Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)|
Studying complex physical and biological processes that are impacting the health of coral reef ecosystems, such as climate change, ocean acidification, increasing fishing pressure, and occurrences of disease, to inform their sustainable management.
Assessing the estuarine and adjacent wetland responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy.
|Fire Island Coastal Change|
Understanding the long- and short-term behavior of the Fire Island barrier island system to determine coastal resiliency based on sand availability and nearshore oceanographic processes.
|Fluxes to estuarine and coastal environments|
Using interdisciplinary science that combines observations and numerical modeling to evaluate possible future environmental changes in tidal wetlands, estuaries and coasts.
Evaluating methane hydrates a potential energy source, studying relations between hydrate dynamics and submarine slope failures, and understanding the interactions between methane hydrate and climate change.
|Geologic and Morphologic Evolution of Coastal Margins|
Understanding how and why coasts have changed in the past can provide insight into modern coastal behavior, future coastal evolution, the extent and quality of sediment resources, and spatial variability in the resilience of coastal ecosystems, all of which inform coastal resource management.
|Geologic Mapping Offshore of Rhode Island|
Mapping sea-floor geology and sedimentary environments is fundamental for managing activities along Rhode Island's inner continental shelf.
|High-Resolution Geologic Mapping Offshore of Massachusetts|
Mapping sea-floor geology and sedimentary environments that is fundamental for managing activities along Massachusetts' inner continental shelf.
|Hurricane and Extreme Storm Impact Studies|
Understanding the ability of extreme storms to reshape our nation's coastline and developing real-time predictions of storm impacts to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and community safety.
|Hurricane Sandy Response - Storm Impacts and Vulnerability of Coastal Beaches|
Using post-Sandy lidar elevation data to update assessments of storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for Northeast beaches and to revise forecasts of coastal change that identify areas vulnerable to extreme erosion during future storms.
|Law of the Sea - Outer Limits of the U.S. Continental Margins|
Conducting field experiments in the regions beyond 200 nautical miles off U.S. coastlines to define the extended continental shelf.
|Lidar for Science and Resource Management|
Utilizing multi-spectral remote sensing to study coastal-marine and terrestrial environments.
|Linking Geologic Framework to Coastal Vulnerability along the Delmarva peninsula|
Geologic and geophysical mapping of the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva coastal system is identifying the region's sediment sources, transport pathways and sinks. By linking this information to physical processes, we can better understand how storm events and longer-term changes control coastal vulnerability and evolution.
|Marine Aggregate Resources and Processes|
Providing information about offshore aggregate deposits such as grain size, composition, and extent, to support resource and habitat assessments, and sustainability.
|National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards|
Assessing vulnerability of the Nation's coasts to storms, sea-level rise, and sediment transport processes by understanding and predicting the ways our coasts have changed and continue to change.
|National Assessment of Shoreline Change|
Creating a comprehensive, regionally-consistent analysis of shoreline movement over the short and long term, including historical and modern shorelines.
|National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: Atlantic|
Monitoring and assessing diverse marine habitats at Stellwagen and Georges Banks to preserve and support a large fishing industry.
|National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: Pacific|
Collecting seafloor samples, video, and sonar data to produce maps and geologic information for marine resource management.
|New Approaches for Coastal Observatories|
Providing observations from the coastal ocean in real time for ocean prediction, environmental monitoring, and ocean-process studies.
Conducting research on ocean acidification in polar, temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions including the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Florida coastal estuaries.
|Pacific Coral Reef Geology and Oceanography|
Providing scientific understanding of the natural physical processes and human-induced impacts that critically influence the development and sustainability of U.S. coral reefs.
|Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Minerals|
Providing an assessment of the state-of-knowledge of the mineral resources within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Pacific islands of U.S. interest.
|Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes and Earthquake Effects|
Providing leadership in tsunami and earthquake modeling, forecasting, and supporting the emergency management community.
|Reef History and Climate Change|
Analyzing coral skeletons to document past environmental changes and determine the relationships between the changing environment and coral growth.
|San Francisco Bay Coastal System|
Identifying the physical processes and human influences that have resulted in significant structural changes to San Francisco Bay.
|Sea and Lake Floor Mapping|
Providing research programs with technical expertise and innovations in seafloor mapping production.
|Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES)|
Assessing the physical controls of sediment and material exchange between wetlands and estuarine environments along the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast.
|Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support|
Using combined scientific expertise in geology, hydrology, geography, biology, and ecology to understand and address the effects of sea-level rise on the Nation's coasts.
|Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments|
Finding solutions to environmental problems caused by sediment erosion and movement.
|South China Sea Deep|
Understanding the processes that control deep-ocean currents and sediment movement in northeastern South China Sea.
|The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense Installations|
Assessing the impacts of sea-level rise and storm-wave-induced overwash and inundation on Pacific atoll islets and their freshwater resources under various sea-level rise and climatic scenarios
|Tsunami Hazards Modeling, and the Sedimentary Record|
Developing and interpreting the geologic record of ancient tsunamis to reduce tsunami risk in the United States.
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