Coastal zones represent a small fraction of physical space on the Earth, but they are exceptionally important places to study physical and ecological dynamics of environmental change – in natural and anthropogenic systems, alike.
This module examines natural processes of coastal physical landscape change and ecosystem functioning, along with a spectrum of human activities (infrastructure development, hazard mitigation, resource extraction) that reshape coastal environments over time. Many coastal systems are settings in which natural processes and human activities are dynamically linked, such that the state and behaviour of each is a function of the other.
This module will explore as integrated systems a variety of coastal environments and associated uses of coastal space. We will focus on how various integrated coastal systems respond to forces driven by climate change, and what these responses may mean for system resilience and sustainability.
Examples of coastal systems from around the planet will introduce students to spheres of physical geography that they may explore further through elective modules and dissertation projects in their final year.
Circumstances permitting, this module may include a one-day field trip and/or exercises involving small-scale physical experiments in the School's "mini-basin".