• Welcome to the UU Coastal Morphodynamics lab.

    More About Us

  • We study the physics of coastal environments.

    Our research

  • Interested in learning more about coastal environments? Contact us for opportunities!


We study how tides, waves, and sea level shape coastal environments. We apply our research to investigate coastal change and coastal hazards such as flooding, subsidence, and erosion.


see also Google Scholar

  • Nienhuis, J. H., T. E. Tornqvist, and C. R. Esposito (2018) Crevasse splays versus avulsions: A recipe for land building with levee breaches, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2018GL077933 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J. H., T. E. Tornqvist, and A. J. F. Hoitink (2018) Future changes to tide-dominated deltas, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2018GL077638 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J. H., A.D. Ashton, A.J. Kettner, and L. Giosan (2017) Large-scale coastal and fluvial models constrain the late Holocene evolution of the Ebro delta, Spain, Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 585-603, doi:10.5194/esurf-5-585-2017 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J. H., T.E. Tornqvist, K.L. Jankowski, A.J. Fernandes, M. Keogh (2017) A new subsidence map of coastal Louisiana, doi:10.1130/GSATG337GW.1 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J.H., Ashton, A.D. (2016)Mechanics and rates of tidal inlet migration: modeling and application to natural examples, J Geophys. Res. Earth Surf. 121, doi:10.1002/2016JF004035 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J.H., Ashton, A.D., Giosan, L., (2016) Littoral steering of deltaic channels, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 453, 204–214, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.08.018 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J.H., Ashton, A.D., Nardin, W., Fagherazzi, S., Giosan, L. (2016) Alongshore sediment bypassing as a control on river mouth morphodynamics, J Geophys. Res. Earth Surf. 121, 664-683, doi:http://10.1002/2015JF003780 [pdf]

  • Ashton, A.D.,Nienhuis, J.H., Ells, K. (2016) On a neck, on a spit: controls on the shape of free spits. Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., 3, 515-560, doi:10.5194/esurfd-3-515-2015

  • Nienhuis, J. H., A. D. Ashton, and L. Giosan (2015), What makes a delta wave-dominated?, Geology, 43(6), 511–514, doi:10.1130/G36518.1. [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J.H., Perron, J.T., Kao, J.C.T. & Myrow, P.M. (2014) Wavelength selection and symmetry breaking in orbital wave ripples. J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf. 119, 2239–2257, doi: 10.1002/2014JF003158. (AGU Eos Research Highlight) [pdf]

  • Vosse, M., Schilperoort, R., Haan, C. de, Nienhuis, J.H., Tirion, M., Langeveld, J.G. (2013) Processing of DTS monitoring results: automated detection of illicit connections, Water Practice & Technology, 8(3-4), 375-381, doi:10.2166/wpt.2013.037

  • Nienhuis, J.H., A. D. Ashton, P.C. Roos, S.J.M.H. Hulscher, and L. Giosan (2013) Wave reworking of abandoned deltas, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 5899–5903, doi:10.1002/2013GL058231 [pdf]

  • Nienhuis, J.H., C. de Haan, J. Langeveld, M. Klootwijk, and F. Clemens (2013) Assessment of detection limits of fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing for detection of illicit connections, Water science and technology, 67(12), 2712-2718, doi:10.2166/wst.2013.176.

  • Ashton, A.D., E.W.H. Hutton, A.J. Kettner, F. Xing, J. Kallumadikal, J.H. Nienhuis, and L. Giosan (2013) Progress in coupling models of coastline and fluvial dynamics, Computers & Geosciences, 53, 21-29, doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2012.04.004


Crevasse splays versus avulsions: A recipe for land building with levee breaches


Future Change to Tide-influenced Deltas

WUR News

Large-scale coastal and fluvial models constrain the late Holocene evolution of the Ebro delta, Spain

NASA Earth Observatory

Wavelength selection and symmetry breaking in orbital wave ripples


Our group

Jaap Nienhuis

Assistant Professor

Jaap Nienhuis is originally from the Netherlands, where he obtained his BSc and MSc degree in Civil Engineering. After completing his engineering degrees Jaap moved to the US and obtained his PhD degree from MIT and WHOI working on coastal sediment transport. Following postdoctoral research on the Mississippi River Delta at Tulane University in New Orleans, Jaap Nienhuis started a faculty position at Utrecht University in 2019.

Christopher Daly

Postdoctoral Fellow

I did my undergrad in Civil Engineering in Trinidad and Tobago and practised as a Coastal Engineer in Jamaica before leaving for Europe to further my studies. There, I did my MSc in the Netherlands and my PhD in Germany, with stops along the way in Norway, Spain and New Zealand. After a few postdocs, I moved from last position in France to FSU in Florida. As a Coastal Geomorphologist, I use a combination of fieldwork and numerical modelling to understand hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes on beaches and coasts, mainly as a result of wave forcing. At the moment I am investigating changes in sediment transport patterns in reef-protected coastal environments caused by reef degradation and sea level rise.

Juan Paniagua-Arroyave

Postdoctoral Fellow

Juan F. Paniagua-Arroyave, "Pani", is originally from Colombia, where he obtained a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering and a M.Sc. degree in Earth sciences. After completing his degrees in Colombia, Pani moved to the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar and obtained his Ph.D. degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville working on inner-shelf hydrodynamics. Pani works on morphodynamic models of river delta evolution in Columbia and elsewhere.

Mingyang Chen

PhD Student

Mingyang Chen is currently a first-year doctoral student in the College of Engineering Ph.D. program at the Florida State University, working on remote sensing of storm impacts on barrier islands. He is originally from China, where he obtained his first BSc in Civil Engineering. After 2012, he moved to the US and graduated from the Northern Arizona University in 2015 with BSc in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mechanical Engineering and from Florida State University in 2017 with a MSc in Civil Engineering. His research interests involve image processing and analysis, intelligent transportation systems, weight in motion analysis.

Kevencia Faton

Undergraduate Researcher

4th year Geology student at Florida State University, working on remote sensing of sea-level-rise driven coastal change using the Google Earth Engine.


MS/PhD Student

We have openings for graduate students, come join our group!
Contact us for more information.


Jacob Harm 'Jaap' Nienhuis
Vening Meinesz Building 488
Faculty of Geosciences
Utrecht University
Utrecht, 3584 CB
+1 (774) 521-8097
+31 (30) 253-2367
j.h.nienhuis (at) uu (dot) nl