Lab Group: Coastal Hydrology and Climate Change

Graduate Students

Matthew Baldwin: baldwinm@sacredheart.edu

  • Interests: GIS, Land-use and Land Planning

Daria Collins: collinsd8@sacredheart.edu

  • Interests: Soils analysis, radioisotope chemistry, sustainable gardening

Carley Esformes Grant: esformesc@sacredheart.edu

  • Interests: GIS, radioisotope chemistry, groundwater discharge, sewage treatment

Rory Parcell: parcellr@sacredheart.edu

  • Interests: Storm surges

Matt Punty: puntym@sacredheart.edu

  • Interests: Groundwater geochemistry, Aquatic invertebrates

Michael Stocker: stockerm@sacredheart.edu

  • Interests: GIS, Sedimentary geochemistry, coastal hydrology

Undergraduate Students

Ramandeep Dhillon: dhillonr@sacredheart.edu

Caitlin Neary: nearyc@sacredheart.edu

Dara Sollart: sollartd@sacredheart.edu

Research Topics

Coastal Groundwater Discharge and GIS

Students: Carley Esformes Grant

Increasing evidence suggests that coastal groundwater discharge may be an important pathway for chemical constituents to enter the coastal zone. We utilize GIS, radionuclide tracers, and manual measurements in an attempt to better quantify and understand the importance of this hydrological process.

Current Research Projects:

  • Mapping coastal groundwater discharge into the Niantic River, CT
  • Mapping coastal groundwater discharge into Port Jefferson Harbor, NY
  • Quantifying groundwater discharge into the Gulf of Taranto, Italy

Research Publications and Presentations:

Rapaglia J., Koukoulas, S., Vafeidis, A., and Lichter, M. 2011. The application of geostatistics in defining the characteristic distance for 224Ra sampling. Journal of Marine Systems. 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.09.003

Eisenach, A., Rapaglia, J., Scholten, J., and Vafeidis, A. 2012. Using a GIS as an extra tool in Ra and Rn research. 4th International Ra-Rn workshop, June 4-8th 2012. Narragansett, RI

Rapaglia J., Koukulas S., Vafeidis A. and Zaggia L. 2010. A spatial sampling design framework for efficient assessment of SGD through a Ra mass balance in a coastal lagoon. 2010 Venice Ra-Rn Conference, March 12-20 2010. Jerusalem, Israel.

Rapaglia J., Vafeidis A., Sarreti A., Molinaroli E., Ferrarin C., and Zaggia L. 2009. Spatial analysis of sedimentary controls on submarine groundwater discharge. European Geophysical Union (EGU). April 19-23, 2009. Vienna, Austria.


Coastal Lagoons in the Face of Climate Change

Students: Mike Stocker and Caitlin Neary

Current Research Projects:

  • Lesina Lagoon, Italy

In cooperation with Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany and funded by the EU FP7 project ARCH (Architecture and Road Map for Lagoons to manage multiple pressures on lagoons), we are attempting to determine how the Lesina Lagoon, Italy will cope with increasing anthropogenic pressure in the 21st century.

Publications and Presentations:

Ballarini E., Rapaglia J., Vafeidis A., Neumann B., Zaggia L., Stocker M., and Neary C. 2013 State of the Lagoon Report for Lesina, Foggia, Italy. Presented to the EU FP7 Programme 128 pp.


The Impact of Ship Wakes on Coastal Zones

Current Research Projects:

  • Ship induced sediment resuspension in the Venice Lagoon, Italy.
  • Ship induced sediment erosion in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Ships’ pressure wakes can resuspend large amounts of sediments eroding shallow water areas and salt marshes, and remobilizing metals previously isolated within the sediments. We are investigating the impact of these large wakes on various coastal harbors .

Publications and Presentations:

Rapaglia, J.,  Zaggia, L., Ricklefs, K., and Gelinas, M. 2011. Characteristics of ships' depression waves and associated sediment resuspension in the Venice Lagoon. Journal of Marine Systems. 85:45-56.

Gelinas, M., Bokuniewicz, H., Rapaglia, J., and Lwiza, K. 2012.Sediment resuspension by ship wakes in the Venice Lagoon. Journal of Coastal Research. Accepted.

Rapaglia J., Zaggia, L., Bokuniewicz, H., Gelinas, M., and Vafeidis, A. 2012.The impact of shipping vessels’ pressure wakes of contaminant redistribution in coastal zones. Eco Summit. Columbus, Ohio September 30th-October 5th, 2012.


Forecasting Salt Water Intrusion into Coastal Aquifers

Student: Matt Baldwin

Research Projects:

  • Developing a new global model for salt water intrusion due to sea level rise
  • Modeling salt water intrusion into a sandy coastal barrier, Partido della Costa, Argentina

Salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers represents one of the greatest threats associated with sea level rise due to climate change. Within this work we are trying to better quantify the impact of salt water intrusion into aquifers at both the local and global scales pending current sea level rise scenario outlined by the IPCC and other investigations.

Publications and Presentations:

Carretero, S., Rapaglia, J., Bokuniewicz, H., and Kruse, E. Impact of sea level rise on salt water intrusion length into the Partido de la Costa aquifer, Argentina. Regional Climate Change. Submitted.

Rapaglia J., Bokuniewicz, H., Vafeidis, A., and Pick, T. 2011. The impact of sea level rise on salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers. Goldschmidt Conference. August 15-19, 2011. Prague.


Metal Cycling in Soils and Sediments

Students: Daria Collins and Matt Punty

Research Projects:

  • The impact of a coal-fired power plant on metal pollution in soils
  • Colloidal partitioning in metal cycling in the subterranean estuary

Metal cycling in soils and sediments is an extremely important process in environmental studies. Together with the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, we are concerned with the role the colloidal fraction of sediments plays on metal cycling in the coastal environment.


Storms and Sediment Transport

Students: Rory Parcell

Research Projects:

  • Erosion associated with Hurricane Sandy

Storms play a very large role in sediment transport. In this project we will investigate the role that large storms are playing on sediment transport and beach erosion in coastal Connecticut


Salt Marsh Survival in the Face of Climate Change

  • Using Pb isotopes to recreate salt marsh accretion rates in coastal Connecticut
  • Determining the effect of living reefs on salt marsh accretion as part of a coastal restoration project.

Salt Marshes are essential coastal habitats. They are threatened by sea level rise, however it remains unknown what role storms may play in salt marsh survival. In addition, it is important to understand if the means exist to help salt marshes survive throughout the 21st century. In these projects we attempt to recreate past accretion rates and determine future survival pending varying rates of sea level rise.

Publications and Presentations:

Schuerch, M. Rapaglia, J., Liebetrau, V., Vafeidis, A., and Reise, K. 2012. Salt marsh accretion and storm tide variation: An example from a barrier island in the North Sea. Estuaries and Coasts. Accepted.