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Ian Walker

Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5302
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5302

Ian Walker is a geomorphologist and surficial geologist with expertise in sediment transport and erosion, aeolian (windblown) geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, environmental fluid dynamics, sand dune ecosystems and restoration, beach-dune morphodynamics, Holocene coastal landscape evolution and relative sea level dynamics, and climate change impacts in sedimentary landscapes. 

Prior to joining ASU, Professor Walker was a faculty member at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. To date, he has published over 70 peer-reviewed publications in leading venues including: Geomorphology, Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, Quaternary Science Reviews, Earth Science Reviews, Nature – Geoscience, and Elsevier’s Treatise on Geomorphology. He also enjoys teaching introductory physical geography, geomorphology, close range remote sensing, and field research methods.

Professor Walker’s recent research involves projects in: northern and central California; coastal British Columbia, Canada; Prince Edward Island, eastern Canada; Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts; and the Outer Banks, North Carolina. His program involves controlled experiments and fieldwork on sand transport and flow dynamics over beaches and dunes to quantify and model beach-dune sediment budgets, morphodynamics, and evolution. This work has applications for coastal and wind erosion monitoring, mitigation, and climate change impacts assessments; land use change and/or anthropogenic impacts; dune ecosystem restoration; parks and protected areas management. His research uses a variety of methods and technologies, including: close range remote sensing with UAS (unpiloted aerial systems), Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), micrometeorological instruments (ultrasonic anemometry); sediment transport measurement (laser particle counters, sand traps); sedimentology and geochronology (e.g., optical luminescence and 14C dating); spatial statistics and change detection; and aerial laser imaging (LiDAR) and photographic interpretation of landscape change.

Professor Walker’s research program is supported by funding and collaborations with several government agencies and research partners including: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. National Parks Service, the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, California Parks Service, State of California Coastal Conservancy, American Shore & Beach Protection Association (ASBPA), Geological Survey of Canada, the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, Parks Canada, and the Hakai Institute in British Columbia, Canada. This program supports productive research internships, interdisciplinary training, and job-ready skills development for students, post-docs, and visiting researchers.

(480) 965-8313
  • Ph.D. Geography, University of Guelph, Canada 2000
  • B.Sc. Physical Geography (Honours), University of Toronto, Canada 1995
Research Interests

aeolian geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, sediment transport, environmental fluid dynamics, sand dune ecosystems and restoration, beach-dune morphodynamics, Holocene landscape evolution, relative sea level dynamics, climate change impacts in sedimentary landscapes


Peer-reviewed journal articles & book chapters:

  • 2018    Rader, AM, Pickart, A, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Bauer, BO. Foredune morphodynamics and sediment budgets at seasonal to decadal scales: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California, USA.  Geomorphology 318: 69-87 (
  • 2018    Grilliot, MJ, Walker, IJ, Bauer, BO. Airflow dynamics over a beach and foredune system with large woody debris. Geosciences 8(5): 147; ( Invited for special issue on Aeolian Processes and Geomorphology by E Partelli (ed).
  • 2018    Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, JO, Walker, IJ, Bauer, BO, Delgado-Fernandez, I, Smyth, TAG. Sediment Budget Controls on Foredune Height: a Comparison of Simulation Model Results and Field Data.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 43(9): 1798-1810. (
  • 2018    Eamer, JBR; Shugar, D; Walker, IJ; Neudorf, C; Lian, O; Eamer, J; Bryce, J; Biln, L.  Late Quaternary landscape evolution in a region of stable postglacial relative sea-levels, British Columbia central coast. Boreas: 1-16. ( 
  • 2018    Jeong, A, Cheung, SY, Walker, IJ, Dorn, R. Urban Geomorphology of an Arid  City: Case  Study  of  Phoenix,  Arizona. Ch. 10, Section 4: Developing Geomorphological Hazards During the Anthropocene. In: Thornbush, M, Allen, C. (eds) Urban Geomorphology, pp. 175-199. Elsevier, ISBN: 9780128119518, (  In press for Aug 2018.
  • 2018    Rosskopf, CM, Di Paola, G, Atkinson, DE, Rodríguez, G, Walker, IJ. Recent shoreline evolution and beach erosion along the Central Adriatic coast of Italy: the case of Molise region.  Journal of Coastal Conservation 22(5): 879-895. (
  • 2017    Walker, IJ, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J, Delgado-Fernandez, I, Smyth, TAG. Scale-dependent perspectives on the geomorphology of beach-dune systems.  Earth Science Reviews, 171: 220-253. ( Invited
  • 2017    Smith, A, Gares, P, Wasklewicz, T, Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. Three years of morphologic changes at a bowl blowout, Cape Cod, USA. Geomorphology 295: 452-466. (
  • 2017    Eamer, JBR, Shugar, DH, Walker, IJ, Lian, OB, Neudorf, C, Telka, A. A unique late Pleistocene glacial re-advance during retreat of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Quaternary Research, 87(3): 468-481. (
  • 2017    Eamer, JBR, Shugar, DH, Walker, IJ, Lian, O, Neudorf, CM. Distinguishing depositional setting for sandy deposits in coastal landscapes using grain shape. Journal of Sedimentary Research 87: 1-11. (
  • 2017    Bevington, A, Clague, JJ, Millard, T, Walker, IJ, Geertsma, M. The Diverse Landscapes of Haida Gwaii.  Chapter 21 in Slamaker, O (ed). Landscapes and Landforms of Western Canada.  Springer International, New York. 12p.  ISBN: 978-3-319-44593-9 ( 10.1007/978-3-319-44595-3) Invited.
  • 2016    Hesp, PA, Smyth, TAG, Walker, IJ, Gares, PA, Wasklewisz. Flow within a trough blowout at Cape Cod.  Journal of Coastal Research, SI75: 288-292.
  • 2016    Elko, N, Brodie, K, Stockdon, H, Nordstrom, K, Houser, C, McKenna, K, Moore, L, Rosati, J, Ruggiero, P, Thuman, R, Walker, IJ. Dune management challenges on developed coasts.  Shore & Beach, 84(1), Winter 2016: 1-14. Invited
  • 2016    Darke, IB, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA. Beach-dune sediment budgets and dune morphodynamics following coastal dune restoration, Wickaninnish Dunes, Canada.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, 41(10): 1370-1385. (
  • 2015    Barnard P, Short A, Harley M, Splinter K, Vitousek S, Turner I, Allan J, Banno M, Bryan K, Doria A, Hansen J, Kato S, Kuriyama Y, Randall-Goodwin E, Ruggiero P, Walker IJ, Heathfield D. Coastal vulnerability across the Pacific dominated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Nature Geoscience 8: 801–807. (
  • 2015    Heathfield, DK, Walker, IJ. Evolution of a foredune and backshore river complex on a high-energy, drift-aligned beach.  Geomorphology 248: 440-451. (
  • 2015    Neudorf, CM, Lian, OB, Walker, IJ, Shugar, DH, Eamer, JB, Griffin, LC. Toward a luminescence chronology for coastal dune and beach deposits on Calvert Island, British Columbia central coast, Canada. Quaternary Geochronology 30: 275-281. (
  • 2015    Bauer, BO, Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ, Davidson-Arnott, RGD. Sediment transport (dis)continuity across a beach-dune profile during an offshore wind event. Geomorphology 245: 135-148 (
  • 2015    Abhar, KA, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Gares, P. Spatial-Temporal Evolution of Blowout Dunes at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, USA. Geomorphology 236: 148–162 (
  • 2015    Hesp, PA, Smyth, TA, Nielsen, P, Walker, IJ, Bauer, BO. Flow deflection over a foredune. Geomorphology 230: 64-74 (
  • 2014    Shugar, DH, Walker, IJ, Lian, OB, Eamer, JBR, Neudorf, C, McLaren, D, Fedje, D. Post-glacial sea-level change along the Pacific coast of North America.  Quaternary Science Reviews 97: 170-192 (
  • 2014    McLaren, D, Fedje, D, Hay, M, Mackie, Q, Walker, IJ, Shugar, DH, Eamer, JBR, Lian, OB, Neudorf, C. A post-glacial sea level hinge on the central Pacific coast of Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 97: 148–169 (
  • 2013    Walker, IJ, Eamer, JBR, Darke, IB. Assessing significant geomorphic changes and effectiveness of dynamic restoration in a coastal dune ecosystem. Geomorphology 199: 192-204 ( Invited - 2013 Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium on Coastal Restoration.
  • 2013    Walker, IJ, Shugar, D. Secondary flow deflection in the lee of transverse dunes with implications for dune morphodynamics and migration. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(14): 1642-1654 (
  • 2013    Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Baas, ACW, Jackson, DWT, McKenna Neuman, C, Wiggs, GFS, Hesp, PA. Critical Reflections on the Coherent Flow Structures Paradigm in Aeolian Geomorphology.  Ch. 8 in: Venditti, J, Best, JL, Church, M, Hardy, RJ (eds), Coherent Flow Structures at Earth’s Surface. pp. 111-134. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-119-96277-9. Invited
  • 2013    Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA. Fundamentals of Aeolian Sediment Transport: Airflow Over Dunes. Ch. 11.7.  In: Lancaster, N, Sherman, DJ, Baas, ACW (eds.), Vol. 11: Aeolian Geomorphology.  pp 109-133. In: Shroder, JF (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology. Elsevier: Oxford. ( Invited
  • 2013    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. Fundamentals of Aeolian Sediment Transport: Coastal dunes. Ch. 11.17. In: Lancaster, N, Sherman, DJ, Baas, ACW (eds.), Vol. 11: Aeolian Geomorphology. pp 328-355. In: Shroder, JF (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology. Elsevier: Oxford. ( Invited
  • 2013    Eamer, JBR, Walker, IJ. Quantifying spatial and temporal trends in beach-dune volumetric changes using spatial statistics. Geomorphology 191: 94-108 (
  • 2013    Eamer, JBR, Darke, IB, Walker, IJ. Geomorphic and sediment volume responses of a coastal dune complex following invasive vegetation removal. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(10): 1148-1159 (
  • 2013    Chapman, C, Walker, IJ, Bauer, BO, Hesp, P, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Ollerhead, J. Reynolds stress and sand transport over a vegetated foredune. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(14): 1735-1747 (
  • 2013    Darke, IB, Eamer, JBR, Beaugrand, HER, Walker, IJ. Monitoring considerations for a dynamic dune restoration project: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia, Canada. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(9): 983-993 (
  • 2013    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ, Chapman, C, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO. Aeolian dynamics over a foredune, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(13): 1566-1575 (
  • 2013    Heathfield, DK, Walker, IJ, Atkinson, D. Erosive water level regime and climate variability forcing on southwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(7): 751-762 (
  • 2013    Ollerhead, J, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Walker, IJ, Mathew, S. Annual to Decadal Morphodynamics of the Beach-Foredune System at Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(3): 284-298 (
  • 2012    Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J, Chapman, C. High-frequency sediment transport responses on a vegetated foredune. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 37(11): 1227-1241 (
  • 2012    Delgado-Fernandez, I, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Ollerhead, J, Rhew, H. Assessing aeolian beach-surface dynamics using a remote sensing approach. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 37(15): 1651–1660 (
  • 2012    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. Three-dimensional aeolian dynamics within a bowl blowout during offshore winds: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Aeolian Research 3(4): 389–399 (
  • 2012    Chapman, C, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Bauer, BO, Davidson-Arnott, RGD. Turbulent Reynolds stress and quadrant event activity in wind flow over a foredune. Geomorphology 151-152: 1-12 (
  • 2012    Bauer, BO, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J. Wind direction and complex sediment transport response across a beach-dune system. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 37(15): 1661-1677 (
  • 2012    Martínez, ML, Feagin, RA, Yeager, KM, Day, J, Costanza, R, Harris, JA, Hobbs, RJ, López-Portillo, J, Walker, IJ, Higgs, E, Moreno-Casasola, P, Sheinbaum, J, Yáñez-Arancibia, A. Artificial modifications of the coast in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: quick solutions or long-term liabilities? Frontiers in Ecology & Environment 10: 44-49. (
  • 2011    Heathfield, DK, Walker, IJ. Analysis of coastal dune dynamics, shoreline position, and large woody debris at Wickaninnish Bay, Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 48(7): 1185-1198 (
  • 2010    Walker, IJ. Changing views in Canadian geomorphology: are we seeing the landscape for the processes? The Canadian Geographer, 54(3): 261-276. ( Invited - Early Career Scholars series.
  • 2010    Eamer, JBR, Walker, IJ. Quantifying sand storage capacity of large woody debris on beaches using LiDAR. Geomorphology 118: 33-47. (
  • 2009    Walker, IJ, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Hesp, PA, Bauer, BO, Ollerhead, J. Mean flow and turbulence responses in airflow over foredunes: new insights from recent research. J. Coastal Research SI56: 366-370. (
  • 2009    Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Namikas, SL, Ollerhead, J. Responses of three-dimensional flow to variations in the angle of incident wind and profile form of dunes: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Geomorphology 105(1-2):127-138. (
  • 2009    Bauer, BO, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Hesp, PA, Namikas, SL, Ollerhead, J, Walker, IJ. Aeolian sediment transport conditions on a beach: Surface moisture, wind fetch, and mean transport rates. Geomorphology 105: 106-116. (
  • 2009    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ, Namikas, SL, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Ollerhead, J (2009). Storm wind flow over a foredune, Prince Edward Island, Canada. J. Coastal Research SI56: 312-316. (
  • 2009    Hugenholtz, CH, Wolfe, SA, Walker, IJ, Moorman, BJ. Spatial and temporal patterns of sediment transport within a parabolic dune, Bigstick Sand Hills, Saskatchewan, Canada. Geomorphology 105: 158-170.  (
  • 2009    Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J, Delgado-Fernandez, I. Instantaneous and mean aeolian sediment transport rate on beaches: an intercomparison of measurements from two sensor types. J. Coastal Research SI56: 297-301. (
  • 2008    Abyswirigunawarbena, DS, Walker, IJ. Sea level responses to climate variability and change in northern British Columbia. Atmosphere-Ocean 46(3): 277-296. (
  • 2008    Wolfe, SA, Walker, IJ, Huntley, DJ.  Holocene Coastal Reconstruction, Naikoon Peninsula, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia.  Geological Survey of Canada, Current Research: 2008. (
  • 2007    Davidson-Arnott, RG, Yang, Y, Ollerhead, J, Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. The effects of surface moisture on aeolian sediment transport threshold and mass flux on a beach. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 33(1): 55-74. (
  • 2007    Walker, IJ, Sydneysmith, R. Ch. 8: British Columbia. In: Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F., Bush, E. and Lacroix, J. (editors). From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate. Government of Canada, Ottawa. 56 p. Invited
  • 2006    Anderson, JL, Walker, IJ. Airflow and sand transport variations within a backshore-parabolic dune plain complex: NE Graham Island, British Columbia, Canada. Geomorphology 77: 17-34. (
  • 2006    Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Ollerhead, J. Topographic steering of alongshore airflow over a vegetated foredune: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. J. Coastal Research 22(5): 1278-1291. (
  • 2006    Walker, IJ, Barrie, JV. Geomorphology and sea-level rise on one of Canada's most 'sensitive' coasts: Northeast Graham Island, British Columbia. J. Coastal Research, SI 39: 220-226. (
  • 2006    Dolan, AH, Walker, IJ. Understanding vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change related risks. J. Coastal Research, SI 39:1316-1323. (
  • 2005    Walker, IJ. Physical and logistical considerations of using ultrasonic anemometry in aeolian sediment transport research. Geomorphology 68(1-2): 57-76. (
  • 2005    Pearce, KI, Walker, IJ. Frequency and magnitude biases in the 'Fryberger' model with implications for characterizing geomorphically effective winds. Geomorphology 68(1-2): 39-55. (
  • 2005    Walker, IJ, Roy, AG. Fluid flow & sediment transport processes in geomorphology: innovations, insights & advances in measurement. Preface to the Special Issue. Geomorphology 68(1-2): 1-2. (
  • 2005    Hesp, P, Davidson-Arnott, RG, Walker, IJ, Ollerhead, J. Flow dynamics over a foredune at Prince Edward Island, Canada. Geomorphology 65: 71-84. (
  • 2004    Parsons, DR, Walker, IJ, Wiggs, GFS. Numerical modelling of flow structures over idealised transverse aeolian dunes of varying geometry. Geomorphology 59: 149-164. (
  • 2004    Parsons, DR, Wiggs, GFS, Walker, IJ, Ferguson, RI, Garvey, BG. Numerical modelling of airflow over an idealised transverse dune. Environmental Modelling & Software, 19: 153-162.  (
  • 2003    Walker, IJ, Nickling, WG. Simulation and measurement of surface shear stress over isolated and closely spaced transverse dunes. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, 28: 1111-1124.  (
  • 2002    Walker, IJ, Nickling, WG. Dynamics of secondary airflow and sediment transport over and in the lee of transverse dunes. Progress in Physical Geography, 26(1): 47-75. (
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
GPH 599Thesis
GPH 690Reading and Conference
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
GPH 111Intro to Physical Geography
GPH 493Honors Thesis
GCU 585Geog Resrch Dsgn & Propsal Wtg
SES 692Research
SES 792Research
SES 799Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
GPH 492Honors Directed Study
SES 494Special Topics
SES 598Special Topics
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SES 692Research
SES 792Research
SES 799Dissertation
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
GPH 111Intro to Physical Geography
GCU 585Geog Resrch Dsgn & Propsal Wtg
GPH 599Thesis
SES 692Research
GPH 692Research
PUP 724Planning Methods
SES 792Research
SES 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
GPH 599Thesis
Summer 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
SES 692Research
SES 792Research
SES 799Dissertation
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
GPH 111Intro to Physical Geography
SES 494Special Topics
AST 592Research
GLG 592Research
SES 598Special Topics
GPH 598Special Topics
GLG 599Thesis
AST 692Research
SES 692Research
GLG 692Research
SES 792Research
GLG 792Research
AST 792Research
SES 799Dissertation
AST 799Dissertation
GLG 799Dissertation