Katie Boldt defends PhD

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Katie Boldt, who suc­cess­fully defended her PhD research on 12 June 2014! Katie’s dis­ser­ta­tion is enti­tled “Fjord sed­i­men­ta­tion dur­ing the rapid retreat of tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers: obser­va­tions and mod­el­ing.” Before she moves on to her next adven­ture, she’ll be around the hall­ways this sum­mer fin­ish­ing up final the­sis edits and enjoy­ing the Seat­tle summer.

AMAZ5: report from Santarem

Mem­bers of the Sed­i­ment Dynam­ics Group are slowly arriv­ing in Brazil for our fifth tidal Ama­zon River cruise. Yes­ter­day along with our Brazil­ian col­lab­o­ra­tors we mea­sured dis­charge at the town of Obidos, the far­thest down­stream gaug­ing sta­tion on the Ama­zon. Today we will mea­sure dis­charge on the Tapa­jos River, a major trib­u­tary that meets the Ama­zon at the city of Santarem. Tonight we meet the rest of our UW and Brazil­ian col­leagues and con­tinue our research far­ther downstream.


Ocean Sciences Meeting 2014

The group is well-represented at Ocean Sci­ences this week, with Andrea co-chairing the ses­sion on “Sed­i­ment Deliv­ery, Trans­port, and Depo­si­tion in Aquatic Envi­ron­ments,” Dan and Rip giv­ing talks on sed­i­ment trans­port in the Ama­zon tidal river and Waipaoa shelf (respec­tively), and Emily pre­sent­ing a poster on Elwha sed­i­ment processes. Go Sed Group!


Dan: Mon­day, Feb. 24th, 10:30 am, room 312

Tidal-channel flow and sed­i­ment trans­port in envi­ron­ments influ­enced by the tidal Ama­zon River, Brazil”

(Here’s a photo of Dan rock­ing his talk)

Dan's Ocean Sciences talk


Rip: Tues­day, Feb. 25th, 8:30 am, room 312

In-situ obser­va­tions of wave-supported fluid mud on the con­ti­nen­tal shelf”

(And here’s the ques­tion por­tion of Rip’s awe­some talk)

Rip's Ocean Sciences talk


Emily: Tues­day, Feb. 25th, 5 — 6 pm, poster hall (#141, group P)

Sed­i­ment dis­per­sal and depo­si­tion on a sub­ma­rine delta dur­ing dam removal: Elwha River, WA

Short Takes on Dam(n) Science

On Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 18th at 7 pm, the UW’s Burke Museum will be host­ing a series of brief (5 1/2 minute) pre­sen­ta­tions on Elwha Restora­tion sci­ence at the Nep­tune The­atre in the Uni­ver­sity Dis­trict. The full pro­gram is avail­able on the Burke Museum event page; top­ics include pre-dam archae­ol­ogy, salmon col­o­niza­tion, flu­vial geo­mor­phol­ogy, and marine change. Emily will be pre­sent­ing on sed­i­ment trans­port across the sub­aque­ous delta.

This is offered in con­junc­tion with an ongo­ing exhibit (Elwha: A River Reborn) at the Burke Museum, which runs through March 9th.

Tick­ets are $5 at the door.

Should be a fun event!

P.S. Love the UW newslet­ter photo of Aaron and Wen­hua col­lect­ing mud! Short Takes Offers the Per­fect Nerd-to-Speed Ratio

Short Takes_ELWHA poster_FNL.indd

Rapid response cruise to the Elwha — January 12th

Andrea, Emily, and Steve Rubin (USGS)—with help from Ian Miller (WA Sea Grant)—made a suc­cess­ful rapid response cruise to the Elwha Delta, fol­low­ing a day of heavy rain. The goal was to col­lect sur­face water sam­ples from the river plume. Given suf­fi­ciently high sed­i­ment con­cen­tra­tions, these sam­ples will be usable for grain-size and con­cen­tra­tion analyses.


Col­lect­ing these sam­ples has been on the to-do list for a long time, but this win­ter has been par­tic­u­larly dry (= low river flow). The Jan­u­ary 11th rain­storm did not flood the river, but still made for a pretty excit­ing day on the water and a truck­load of great sam­ples. Emily is cur­rently pro­cess­ing these in the lab – sed­i­ment will be allowed to set­tle for about a week, and after a series of dilu­tions, will be processed using the Sedi­graph. The goal is to deter­mine size dis­tri­b­u­tions of dis­ag­gre­gated par­ti­cles in the plume.


Back to watch­ing the weather for the next big one! With any luck, we’ll see a pineap­ple express (http://www.komonews.com/weather/faq/4307577.html) sweep through west­ern Wash­ing­ton this winter.

Win­ter at the Elwha — this was the edge of the sur­face plume a day after heavy rains. Nice sed­i­ment samples!

Interesting mix of sediment

An inter­est­ing mix of grain sizes in this bed sample


Sam­ples! (Photo by Ian Miller)

August & November 2013 Elwha cruises

As part of our ongo­ing study of sed­i­ment dis­per­sal off­shore of the Elwha River, we made two sched­uled research cruises in late 2013 (August and Novem­ber). The goal of both cruises was to ser­vice two seabed instru­ment sys­tems (tripods) and sur­vey the sed­i­ment plume, water col­umn, and seabed across the sub­aque­ous delta.


Instru­ment ser­vic­ing was over­all a suc­cess, though a cou­ple unlucky instru­ments were returned to the shop rather than the ocean. We retrieved some nice data on advec­tion of muds both dur­ing the sum­mer dry sea­son and a cou­ple fall rain­storms. One of the pho­tos shows Dan Nowacki and Niall Twomey hard at work in our favorite work­space, the Port Ange­les har­bor. Hooray for no rain in both August and November!


The ship-based sur­veys were also suc­cess­ful. In Novem­ber we made our first Kas­ten cor­ing attempt since the project began. The most suc­cess­ful site yielded about 40 cm of mud, which rep­re­sents a huge change from the grav­elly sub­strate seen on many other cruises. A new sandy/muddy deposit is grow­ing out­ward from the river mouth into Fresh­wa­ter Bay, while other parts of the delta remain coarse (gravel, sand and the occa­sional boulder).


The cruises were made pos­si­ble by help from our ded­i­cated lab crew, includ­ing Andrea, Chuck, Emily, Dan, Rip, Aaron, Katie, vis­it­ing inter­na­tional stu­dents Suzan and Wen­hua (their first cruises in Wash­ing­ton State!), Kevin, Julia, and Niall, and also Nicole Har­ris from West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity (who researches Elwha nearshore changes)—and of course the great crew on the R/V Barnes (Ray, Greg, and Bob). Look­ing for­ward to another great cruise in April!

Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship at Friday Harbor Labs, Spring 2014

We are cur­rently accept­ing appli­ca­tions for a 10-week (March 31 — June 6, 2014), 15-credit, under­grad­u­ate research appren­tice­ship, at the Uni­ver­sity of Washington’s Fri­day Har­bor Labs in the San Juan Islands, WA. This research appren­tice­ship focuses on the impacts of dams on the marine sed­i­men­tary sys­tem and the impacts of the release of reservoir-trapped sed­i­ment into the marine envi­ron­ment dur­ing dam decon­struc­tion. Dam removal projects are becom­ing an attrac­tive means of restora­tion for depleted fish­eries, river ecosys­tems, and coast­lines, but we do not yet under­stand the full range of effects our “restora­tion” will have.

With help from men­tors, stu­dents will design and com­plete indi­vid­ual research projects using data they col­lect at the Elwha River delta; as part of a larger, NSF-funded research project. Research work will be com­ple­mented by lec­tures, guest pre­sen­ta­tions, and weekly field trips to a vari­ety of nearby sed­i­men­tary envi­ron­ments. Through this class­room and expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing, stu­dents learn about the range of sed­i­men­tary processes that occur near river mouths, human impacts on coast­lines, inter­ac­tions between biol­ogy and sed­i­ment, and regional geol­ogy. The appren­tices to be recruited for this course will have the poten­tial to become informed sci­en­tists and man­agers in charge of decision-making in future restora­tion projects.

Please direct ques­tions to Dr. Andrea Ogston. Addi­tional details are avail­able here.

Milestones & Awards in the Sediment Dynamics Group

Fall 2013 was an excit­ing time for the Sed­i­ment Dynam­ics lab group!

Kris­ten Lee Web­ster gave her final pre­sen­ta­tion for the PhD, and turned in her dis­ser­ta­tion, “Sed­i­ment dis­per­sal and accu­mu­la­tion in an insu­lar sea: deltas of Puget Sound”. Con­grat­u­la­tions,  Kris­ten, on this impres­sive accomplishment!

Andrea, Kris­ten, and Chuck cel­e­brate after Kristen’s PhD defense

In addi­tion, Aaron, Emily & Katie deserve a big round of congratulations:

Aaron Fricke defended his dis­ser­ta­tion pro­posal and passed his gen­eral exam.

Emily Eidam pre­sented her MS project on the Elwha dam removal project, and was approved to move on to the PhD program.

Katie Boldt won an AGU Out­stand­ing Stu­dent Paper Award for her pre­sen­ta­tion at Fall AGU in San Francisco.

Brazil fieldwork during June 2013 — part one

Mem­bers of the Sed­i­ment Dynam­ics Group recently returned from a three-week stint in Brazil, where we com­pleted field­work on the Ama­zon River and its asso­ci­ated sed­i­men­tary environments.

Our first field site was along the Amapá coast­line north of the mouth of the Ama­zon River.  The man­groves that flank the coast here are bathed in Ama­zon River sed­i­ment that is trans­ported north­ward after exit­ing the mouth.  We under­took a pilot study along the Rio Calçoene, down­stream of the town of Calçoene.

View Map on Google Maps

Near Calçoene, the river has rel­a­tively lit­tle sus­pended sed­i­ment, and the water appears quite clear.

Rio Cal­coene near Calcoene

Closer to the mouth, sus­pended sed­i­ment con­cen­tra­tions are much higher, and the river starts to resem­ble choco­late milk.  Almost all of this sed­i­ment is likely from the Ama­zon River, the mouth of which is some 250 km to the south.

Near the mouth of the Rio Calcoene

In addi­tion to mak­ing mea­sure­ments and col­lect­ing sam­ples along the river itself, we did work in a few small chan­nels that incise the man­grove forests that char­ac­ter­ize this part of the Brazil­ian coastline.

A small chan­nel at low tide incis­ing man­grove forest

A closeup of a chan­nel at low tide



R/V Barnes’ 1000th cruise

The UW’s R/V Clif­ford A. Barnes recently com­pleted its 1000th research cruise, as described in this UW Today arti­cle. Our group has used the Barnes exten­sively over the past few years as part of our project on sed­i­ment impacts related to the Elwha dam removal. Be sure to check the photo gallery on the UW Today arti­cle for a shot of our own Kris­ten Web­ster on a Barnes cruise in 2009!