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Emily Eidam, PhD

I’m a coastal sedimentologist studying fluxes of river-derived material to estuaries, deltas, and continental shelves. I grew up in Alaska near Cook Inlet, a large, muddy, glacial-filled embayment with extensive mudflats influenced by winter ice. After completing a civil engineering degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I stayed for a geology degree to learn about glacial and permafrost processes. In graduate school I connected the dots between geologic processes and coastal oceanography through studies of deltaic and continental shelf sediments at the University of Washington. Past research includes studies of the Elwha Delta (Washington) during a major dam removal, the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, and fjord sedimentation in the West Antarctic Peninsula and LeConte Bay (AK – part of a post-doc at UO). Present studies include sediment transfer on the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf (Arctic Ocean), and estuarine sediment dynamics in Coos Bay, Oregon. I’m delighted to be running a well-equipped sedimentology lab at UNC with an energetic team of graduate and undergraduate students who are involved in all aspects of our field, lab, and analytical work. If you’re interested in opportunities to be involved in future research, please contact me at efe @

(UNC MASC page)


John Malito, MS student

As a native of Austin, Texas my life has been heavily influenced by music, football, and the outdoors. I received a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science from the University of Texas at Austin where I developed a keen interest in coastal and fluvial geomorphology. As an undergrad I conducted a capstone research project (under the tutelage of David Mohrig) looking at a unique situation on the Texas coast in which the San Bernard river mouth has been closed completely by sediment from the rapidly growing Brazos river delta nearby. While at UT I also spent a year as a GIS intern in the hydro-geomorphology lab of Edgardo Latrubesse where I mapped and sequenced alluvial terraces in the upper Amazon river basin. After completion of my undergraduate degree, I spent a year working as an Environmental/GIS Specialist for a small civil engineering firm where I performed environmental assessments and cartography to support residential development projects in the Austin area. At UNC my research will focus on observing and modelling sediment dynamics the northern coast of Alaska, an environment that is rapidly changing due to receding sea ice and increasing sediment delivery. I am beyond excited to start graduate studies here at UNC!


Tyler Souza, MS student

Tyler SouzaI grew up on the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia where I developed a love for being on the water and coastal environments.  I first fell in love with the outdoors on a Boy Scout camping trip and have been looking for ways to get outside ever since.  I followed this path to North Carolina where I attended UNC for undergrad, majoring in Environmental Science and Economics with a marine science minor.  While at UNC I was a part of a Capstone research team under Dr. Kaylyn Gootman studying water quality and bathymetry on Jordan Lake outside of Chapel Hill.  After graduation I headed to Boston to become a park ranger with Boston Harbor Islands National Park where I assisted with the park’s ongoing research and monitoring projects involving everything from rocky intertidal species surveys to invasive species reduction to geomorphological modelling.  I also served as the park’s head cartographer and created maps for National Park sites throughout the greater Boston region.  In my Master’s research I will be examining sediment dynamics on the Beaufort Shelf in Northern Alaska, an incredibly dynamic area that is rapidly changing.  I cannot wait to get started on research with UNC!


McKenzie McLean, Lab Assistant

I was Tar Heel born and bred in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. I’m currently a junior at UNC majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Water and Climate and a minor in Marine Science. With the Blue Ridge Parkway in my backyard, it was easy to love the outdoors. This passion began to grow beyond the mountains after taking my first intro to marine science and intro to geology class at UNC. From there, I changed my minor to Marine Science and decided to dive headfirst (pun intended) into all UNC had to offer, which landed me here! I hope to visit the IMS field site in Morehead City in Fall 2021 where I will further develop my research skills, apply topics learned in lectures and textbooks to real life, and hopefully conduct my research project focused on the relationship between coastal processes and sediment transport. I’m thrilled about this educational journey!


Owen White, Lab AssistantOwen White

Hello! I’m a Junior majoring in Geology with an Earth Sciences background along with a GIS minor. I enjoy biking and am learning to enjoy sediments just as much.






Lab Alum

Carly Richardson – Lab tech 2019-2020

Hello! My name is Carly Richardson and I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Environmental Science (Quantitative Energy Systems Track) and Computer Science with a minor in Marine Science. My interest in marine science grew during my semester at UNC IMS, where my research focused on analyzing compositional changes in intertidal oyster reefs in high and low tidal ranges. Overall, my science interests primarily relate to sediment transport, bottom composition, and oceanography. In the lab, I hope to continue to build my understanding of sedimentology as well as work to intersect the fields of marine science and computer science. I also hope to work on projects related to building OBSs. Being born and raised in North Carolina, I am extremely excited to be working on projects focused in areas outside of the East Coast.



Rachael Rankin – Summer 2019 IDEA intern

Hi! I’m Rachael, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Growing up, I lived in four different states and three corners of the contiguous U.S. before fourth grade, and developed an appreciation for the environmental diversity of our planet. While visiting Hilton Head Island, my fascination with the natural world branched into marine science, and led me to pursue a major in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Marine Sciences with a concentration in Ecology and Natural Resources. In Dr. Eidam’s lab, my research centers around sediment accumulation in NC estuarine systems through application of laser particle sizing and isotope analysis (focusing on Pb-210). I hope to use knowledge of sediment transport and estuarine processes to gain a more holistic view of ecosystems and their services, as I am interested in landscape connectivity, source-to-sink dynamics, and trophic interactions caused by fluctuating environmental parameters. Next semester, I’ll be researching these topics at the Morehead City Field Site through UNC IMS. There, I hope to examine the influence of oyster reefs in the intertidal zone upon seabird populations. In Chapel Hill, I am the current Vice President of United Solar Initiative, a non-profit applying solar energy solutions to aid underdeveloped communities. Additionally, I serve as the secretary for Walk. Support. Glow., a recently-established student organization involved with suicide prevention and mental health awareness on campus.