three people smile in front of a poster presentationCSI Fellow Highlight: Matt Hiatt

Rivers deliver fresh water, sediment, and nutrients to the ocean at the coast, where forces from the land and sea interact to create some of the most dynamic and exciting environments on Earth. Coastal environments are also quite important; they host large human populations and diverse flora and fauna that are increasingly vulnerable to human activities and climate change. My research addresses relevant issues associated with hydrology and hydrodynamics in coastal environments where rivers meet the ocean: river deltas, estuaries, and wetlands. Fundamentally, the research in my group aims to understand how the transport of water, sediment, and nutrients affects ecological and morphological development in these environments. We use field measurements, numerical modeling, and network analyses to address basic and applied questions about hydrology, hydrodynamics, connectivity, and morphodynamics.

My group is working on several projects located throughout Louisiana’s coastal region. We are working to understand how cold fronts affect water level variability throughout Louisiana wetlands, water circulation in a Mississippi River batture (the shallow bar located between the river and the levee), how water moving through wetland vegetation affects water circulation and sediment transport in river deltas, and how the growth of a delta subject to sea level rise impacts water quality delivered to a bay or ocean. We are also spinning up two new projects in 2020 to investigate the impacts of diversions on circulation, waves, and algal bloom toxicity in Louisiana’s estuaries. All of these projects aim to help us understand the impacts of both human activities and environmental change on coastal processes.

For more information, please visit my faculty directory page.