Ian Walker is a geomorphologist 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 coastal landscapes.
To date, Dr. Walker has published over 75 peer-reviewed publications in leading venues including: Geomorphology, Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, Quaternary Science Reviews, Earth Science Reviews, and Nature – Geoscience. He has also published several chapters in leading books on geomorphology including Elsevier’s Treatise on Geomorphology. Dr. Walker enjoys teaching introductory physical geography/geology, geomorphology, close range remote sensing, research design, and field research methods.
Professor Walker’s recent research involves projects in: northern and central California; coastal British Columbia; Prince Edward Island, eastern Canada; Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts; the Outer Banks, North Carolina; and the Nizzanim Dune Preserve in Israel. His program involves controlled experiments and fieldwork on sand transport and erosion processes on beaches and dunes to quantify and model beach-dune sediment budgets, morphodynamics, and evolution. This work has applications for coastal and wind erosion monitoring, dust emissions mitigation and air quality control, climate change impacts and adaptation planning, land use and protected areas management, and ecosystem restoration. 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) and aerial LIDAR, micrometeorological and sediment instruments (e.g., ultrasonic anemometry, laser particle counters, sand traps), sedimentology and geochronology (e.g., optical luminescence and 14C dating), spatial statistics and change detection, photographic interpretation of landscape change.
Professor Walker’s research program is supported by funding and collaborations with several government agencies and research partners including: USC-Seagrant, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. National Parks Service, the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, State of California Department of Parks & Recreation, 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 many productive research internships, interdisciplinary training, and job-ready skills development for students, post-docs, and visiting researchers.