Coastal Letters

Newsletter of the coastal and marine geography specialty group of the Association of American Geographers


Vol. 10, No. 2 URL July 1998

Table of Contents

  1. Specialty Group Officers
  2. Editor’s Comments and Election Results
  3. Student Paper Merit Award for 1998
  4. Call for Student Papers
  5. Call for COMA-Sponsored Sessions in Hawaii & Call for Papers
  6. Call for Nominations: R. J. Russell Award
  7. Minutes of the 1998 Business Meeting
  8. COMA Slide Compilation Project 2000 (CDROM)
  9. Scientific and Educational Slide Sets - 1998
  10. Vote for our COMA Logo
  11. Musings from the Chair

Specialty Group Officers
Paul Gares, Chair
Department of Geography
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
(919) 328-6084

Richard Daniels, Vice Chair
Shorelands/Dept of Ecology
P.O. Box 47690
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
(360) 407-6427

Harry Jol, Secretary-Treasurer
Department of Geography
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
105 Garfield Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
(715) 836-3244

Dawn Wright, Member of the Board of Directors
Department of Geosciences
104 Wilkinson Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-5506
(541) 737-1229

Wayne Engstrom, Member of the Board of Directors
Geography Department
California State University
Fullerton, CA 92634-9480
(714) 278-3384

Donald Zeigler, Member of the Board of Directors
5584 Herbert Moore Rd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
(804) 683-3841

Ocean Shores, Washington (46° 55’ 41.9"N, 124° 10’ 21.17’W) on April 1998. This area eroded over 40 m horizontally and 1 m vertically between January and April exposing the south wing wall of this shore protection structure. During this time period, El Nino forcing resulted in an average increase in tide levels of 0.3 m at the Toke Point Tide Gauge (located 23 kilometers to the south). For more information on this photo visit the following site:

Editor’s Comments & Election Results

The 1998 business meeting in Boston brought minimal changes in the specialty group leadership. The major change was the transition of Newsletter Editor and Secretary-Treasurer duties from Dorothy Sack (Ohio University) to Harry Jol (UW-EC). Several minutes of lobbing were required to convince Harry to take on the honorable task of overseeing the funds of the special interest group. However, during the lobbing effort it was determined that the Vice-Chair would assist Harry in the compilation and production of the newsletter. The final election results are as follows:

The special interest group wishes to thank Dorothy Sack for her many years of hard work in both her high (editor) and low (treasurer) visibility positions. Her attention to detail resulted in informative newsletters that were one of the tools COMA members used to plan their agendas for the annual AAG conference. Her editorial presence will be greatly missed.

Rich Daniels, Vice Chair & Co-editor

Student Paper Merit Award for 1998

The Coastal and Marine Special Interest Group student paper competition was held at the AAG 1998 annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Four different sessions, predominantly comprised of students, were sponsored or co-sponsored by the special interest group. This competition had the most student papers in recent memory, with fourteen students eligible for the award.

The papers presented at this years meeting were representative of the wide range of interests within our special interest group. Topics ranged from the effects of shoreline armoring on meiofauna in beach sands to a study on how economic changes in French Polynesia may impact women fishers, farmers, and tourism employees.

During the judging the reviewers critiqued the presentation skills of the speaker, informational content of the paper, and the uniqueness of the research. The wide range of topics made it difficult to inter-compare the informational content of papers. As is almost always the case, more than one paper was identified that contained novel and interesting work that was presented in a clear and concise manner.

From the eligible papers, three were identified for further consideration. The judging became more difficult at this point, as the judges felt that their research backgrounds could bias the selection of the award winner. Thus, the judges decided to confer two student paper awards. One award for the best physical geography paper (physical processes in a coastal or marine environment) and a second for the best human geography paper (human interactions with the coastal or marine environment). Now, without further fanfare, the two winners of this year’s student paper/presentation awards are!!

For best presentation on human interactions with the coastal or marine environment: Michael Craghan, Department of Geography, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, Geomorphically Immaterial -Estuarine Flooding in Built Areas.

For the best presentation on physical processes in a coastal or marine environment: Steven Namikas, Department of Geography, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, A Field Investigation of Aeolian Saltation.

Honorable mention goes to Valerie L. Spalding , Center for Policy Studies, New Jersey Institute of Technology, for her presentation entitled Shoreline Armoring Effects on Coastal Geomorphology and Meiofauna in Raritan Bay, New Jersey.

The special interest group would like to thank all the students for their efforts as well as the following reviewers for assisting in the judging process: Harry Jol, Wayne Engstrom, Don Zeigler, and Richard Daniels.

Call for Student Papers

Eligibility. Full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate students may compete for this award if they (1) are the first or sole author of an oral paper concerning coastal or marine geography which they will be presenting at the 1999 annual AAG meeting, (2) are a member of the AAG and of the Coastal and Marine Geography Specialty Group, and (3) have submitted to the session organizer the completed application form and accompanying materials, to be received by August 26, 1998. Poster presentations are not eligible. Papers are judged both on content and on the quality of the presentation. The award consists of AAG and Coastal and Marine Geography Specialty Group membership dues for the following year and an award certificate.

Instructions. Follow the program participation guidelines outlined in the May 1998 Newsletter of the AAG as an individual participating in an organized paper session. By following those instructions you will have a diskette containing your abstract, one paper copy of the abstract, your participation fee, and a completed AAG program participation form. In addition, complete this application form (below) and attach a second paper copy of your abstract to it. Gather all of these materials into one package and mail it to:

Dr. Paul Gares,
Department of Geography,
East Carolina University,
Greenville, North Carolina, 27858

Dr. Gares must receive your materials by August 26, 1998.


Name _______________________________________________________


Address ___________________________________________________


Email address ______________________________________________


Are you a Ph.D., M.A./M.S., or undergraduate student? ______


In what year of your program? ______________________________


Thesis/project advisor _____________________________________


Are you a member of the AAG? _______________________________


Are you a member of the Coastal and Marine Specialty Group? ____________________


Provide a brief description of the significance of your paper to coastal and/or marine geography,

and attach a hard copy of your abstract.

Call For COMA-Sponsored Sessions in Hawaii

If you are planning to present a paper at the 1999 AAG Annual Conference to be held 23-27 March 1999, in Honolulu on coastal or marine geographer (human, physical, hazards, or techniques) please consider participating in a session sponsored or co-sponsored by the Coastal and Marine Geography Specialty Group (COMA). Special session materials (abstracts, fees, etc.) must be received by the session organizers and submitted to the AAG Office by 4 September 1998. The following is a list of the currently proposed sessions, please contact the session organizers for further information.

Coastal Geomorphology I, II, etc.
Sponsor: COMA Specialty Group
Session Organizer: Paul Gares (address on page 1) Email:

Shoreline Mapping and Hazard Identification on the U.S. West Coast
Sponsor: COMA Specialty Group
Session Organizer: Richard C. Daniels (address on page 1) Email:

Tentative title: Student Paper Sessions
Sponsor: COMA Specialty Group
Session Organizer: Paul Gares (address on page 1) Email:

Tentative title: Global Change and the Coast: Coastal Hazards and Changing Management Regimes
Co-sponsor: Hazards, Human Dimensions of Global Change and COMA Specialty Groups
Session Organizer: Susanne C. Moser, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 Dawn Wright (address on page 1) Email: or

Tentative title: Coastal Remote Sensing and Shoreline Mapping/Change Detection
Co-sponsor: Remote Sensing and COMA Specialty Groups
Session Organizer: Thomas R. Allen, Jr., Old Dominion University, Department of Political Science & Geography, Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0088 Email:

Call for Nominations: R. J. Russell Award

The R. J. Russell Award is named in honor of Richard Joel Russell (1895-1971). He was Dean of the Graduate School at Louisiana State University for 12 years, an organizer of the Coastal Studies Institute (1954), president of both the Association of American Geographers (1948) and Geological Society of America (1957), and named to the National Academy of Sciences (1959).

Rich Daniels, COMA Vice Chair, announces that nominations for this year’s R. J. Russell Award will be accepted through March 1, 1999. This specialty group award is presented in recognition of an individual’s major contributions to the field of coastal or marine geography. These contributions may be in research, teaching, public service, and/or to the specialty group. Previous awardees include Jess Walker (1991), Filmore Earney (1992), Norby Psuty (1993), Karl Norbstrom (1996), and Doug Sherman (1997). Letters of nomination are accepted from COMA members, but nominees do not have to be members of either the specialty group or the AAG. Contact Rich Daniels (address on page 1) to nominate an individual or for further information.

In the nomination letter please include one paragraph describing the nominees contributions to the field of coastal or marine geography and/or to the special interest group and a list of the nominees relevant publications.

Minutes of the 1998 Business Meeting


Paul Gares opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m., March 27, 1998, with 22 members present.


Secretary. The minutes of the last business meeting (Fort Worth 1997), which appeared in June 1997 in v. 9(2) of Coastal Letters, were approved.

Treasurer. Secretary-Treasurer Dorothy Sack reported on financial transactions since the last business meeting in March of 1997. We began the 1997-98 meeting year with $1,155.61, spent $397.57, and received $838.62 in income. The income value includes specialty group dues for both 1997 and 1998. The current balance is $1,596.66.

Chair. Paul Gares reported on the main points covered in the specialty group chairs' luncheon. NSF ( is undergoing some restructuring which will affect geography, including having geography become part of the division title. COMA member Bernie Bauer, of the NSF Geography and Regional Science Program, provided some encouraging details. Consult the Geography and Regional Science web page for latest information on opportunities and target dates.

The AAG research publication series has been dropped. There may be some changes in the newsletter, Annals, and Professional Geographer as well. The PG's web page is accessed via the San Diego State University Department of Geography at

There has been some discussion about creating a contact list so that the AAG will be able to refer questions (e.g., from the media) to members who are expert in the appropriate field.

The AAG has established a procedure for awarding $200 travel grants to selected students to help defray their expenses to the 1999 annual meeting in Honolulu. Students interested in competing for the grants must submit their abstract by June 30, 1998. See the AAG web page ( for more information. The AAG strongly encourages specialty groups to also help students out with travel grants. Specialty groups might give additional funds to those receiving the $200 AAG grant or might provide awards to participating students who did not receive an AAG grant.

Vice chair. Rich Daniels announced that one nomination had been received for the R. J. Russell Award this year, but that it did not contain enough information. No Russell Award, therefore, was presented this year.

Student paper award recipients for the Boston meeting could not be decided by the time of the business meeting because some student papers were scheduled in upcoming sessions (FOR RESULTS SEE THE "STUDENT PAPER MERIT AWARD FOR 1998" ARTICLE).


The specialty group has a web page with East Carolina University's Department of Geography ( Paul Gares would like more information and links to add to it. We might, for example, eventually post the specialty group membership directory on it.

For next year's meeting, Rich Daniels will be organizing a session on the SW Washington coastal erosion project (includes northwest Oregon). Dawn Wright announced that she would like to organize sessions on island studies, island biogeography, and/or clearinghouses for coastal and marine geography data. Paul Gares will continue to coordinate the coastal geomorphology sessions. Anyone interested in participating in those sessions should contact Rich, Dawn, or Paul. Those organizing other sessions which could be sponsored or co-sponsored by the specialty group should send a brief description of their session to Rich Daniels.

A number of field trips are planned for the 1999 meeting, including volcano and coastal trips on the Big Island.


Since the last business meeting, Dawn Wright, Phil Steinberg, and Norb Psuty were nominated as possible co-authors of the Coastal and Marine Geography Specialty Group's chapter in Geography in America--the 21st Century. The motion to include all three as co-authors, with Norb designated as senior author, was passed by acclamation.

Bernie Bauer moved, and Heidi Lannon seconded the motion, that the COMA board of directors, with advice from the specialty group treasurer, work out the details of how the specialty group would handle student travel awards to the 1999 AAG meeting. The motion was passed.

There was some discussion of how to send out future editions of the newsletter. We could stop mailing hard copies altogether and send newsletters only on email, and/or post it on the web. On the other hand, not many members have volunteered to receive it via email in the last two years, and email addresses for many of our members are not available from the AAG. It was decided to revisit this issue in the future.

Jennifer Rahn and her mother created a prototype logo for the group and our web page. It and other possibilities can be posted on the web page for people to consider and vote on. Send suggestions to Paul Gares.

Joann Mossa and Wayne Engstrom reported that they had thus far received only a few slides for the coastal and marine geography slide compilation project. A discussion of members' interests in and possible concerns with the project led to the decision to continue with the project. Joann and Wayne ask Coma members to please consider sending to them (or bring to Hawaii) copies of some of their best or most illustrative coastal and marine geography slides so that they may be included in the special group's slide sets. Individuals contributing slides will receive discounts on slide sets.


  • Harry Jol was elected to a three-year term as secretary-treasurer, with vice chair Rich Daniels agreeing to help with the newsletter.
  • Wayne Engstrom was elected to a new two-year term on the board of directors.
  • Dawn Wright was elected to a two-year term on the board of directors to fill the vacancy created when Harry Jol was elected secretary-treasurer.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

COMA Slide Compilation Project 2000 (CDROM)

This note is a reminder about the Coastal and Marine Specialty Group SLIDE COMPILATION PROJECT 2000.

Coastal and marine geographers work in a variety of marvelous settings on a diversity of research topics, and have unique experiences and documentation of those studies. The exceptional quality of many of our colleague's slides at the last meeting (1997) inspired Wayne Engstrom and Joann Mossa to begin a slide compilation project for and from our membership. Currently, Wayne and Rich Daniels are the primary contacts for the project. If successful, it is anticipate that this will be of great benefit to current and future teachers in the profession, and has potential for providing some small profits back to our specialty group.

For this project to succeed, we will need loans or duplicate copies (this option may be preferable for those of you concerned about possible losses) of some of your FAVORITE coastal and marine geography slides, with a maximum of twenty from any individual. Based on the number of slides received, the quality, and the variety, we will screen and compile them into several thematic collections. The slides may be conceptual, illustrative, verbal, or field oriented (ground or aerials) and should include a brief caption (of what, where, when, and any sources). Obviously, the highest quality visuals and exceptional examples are most desirable. The slides will be scanned and burned to CDROM. The costs of the CD is projected to run about $12, with the CD subdivided into several thematic collections with about 200 slides. We are hoping to collect sets of slide at the 1999 AAG meeting in Hawaii from presenters at the conference. (THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO HAVE YOUR FAVORITE SLIDES CONVERTED INTO A DIGITAL FORM!)

To create some incentive for sharing, contributors will receive a discounted or free CDROM based on the number of their slides used in the package. For each slide used in a package, there will be a 10% discount. Thus, if 10 of your slides are used you will receive a free CDROM. All profits will go back to the specialty group. If you or your institution is interested please contact Wayne Engstrom or Rich Daniels. Hopefully, we will have the prototype CDROM together prior to the next specialty group business meeting so that orders can be placed at the year 2000 annual meeting. Contact Wayne N. Engstrom or Richard C. Daniels (address on page 1 -Officers)

Scientific & Educational Slide Sets - 1998

The National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, Colorado announces the availability of several new geophysical slide sets (20 slides per set, $25 per set). Fifty-three different sets are available covering such diverse topics as "Earthquake damage to transportation systems", "The major tsunamis of 1992 –Nicaragua and Indonesia", "Fire vs. water: The erosional and depositional geology of Hawaiian Islands", "Erosional landforms", and "Polar Ice Cores". Place your orders for these slide sets (and others) online on the world wide web at, click on "geophysical data products", or contact NGDC by phone at (303) 497-6826.

Vote for Our COMA Logo

At the 1997 Annual meeting held in Fort Worth, Texas, it was proposed that the a logo be developed for our special interest group. Jennifer Rahn (Department of Geography, University of Florida) prepared and presented the first two logos for possible selection as the official COMA Logo in Boston (the last was put together by Rich Daniels). Please select your favorite and e-mail your vote to Richard Daniels ( The official logo selection process will continue during the COMA AAG 1999 business meeting. The final selection will be based on this e-mail vote along with a voice vote to be taken at the business meeting. Additional logo proposals are encouraged, bring them along to Hawaii!




Please select your favorite by letter and send your vote, along with comments to Rich Daniels at or come and vote at the 1999 business meeting in Hawaii.



Musings from the Chair

Gone fishing.