Coastal Letters

Newsletter of the coastal and marine geography specialty group of the association of American geographers

Vol. 12, No. 1 Website: or Feb, 2000

Table of Contents

  1. Specialty Group Officers
  2. Editor's Comments
  3. Nominations for Member of the Board of Directors
  4. Call for Award Nominations: R.J. Russell Award
  5. Vice Chair Profile Klause Meyer-Arendt
  6. COMA Coastal CD Completed!
  7. Student Paper Merit Award Deadline March 15
  8. COMA-Sponsored Sessions in Pittsburgh
  9. Other COMA Related Sessions/Papers
  10. Video Review: Haunted Water, Fragile Lands
  11. Video Critiques Wanted
  12. News and Views from Members
  13. Upcoming Conferences
  14. Musings from the Chair - Rich Daniels

Specialty Group Officers

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

Klaus J Meyer-Arendt, Vice Chair
Dept. of Environmental Studies
University of West Florida
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
(850) 474-2746

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

Diane Horn, Member of the Board of Directors
Department of Geography
Birkbeck College
7-15 Gresse St
London W1P 2LL
England (UK)

Membership Renewal

Don't forget to renew your membership in the Coastal and Marine Geography Specialty Group when you renew your membership with the AAG. Please note if you have a yellow mark on your address label it means your membership has not been renewed.

Editor’s Comments

  1. There is a lot happening within the group, please read through the newsletter and pass it along to others.
  2. Welcome to all of you who have recently joined the Coastal and Marine Geography Specialty Group (COMA).
  3. Whether you are a new or long-standing member, please attend our Specialty Group meeting this year in Pittsburgh (April 6, 6:00 pm) as well as COMA-sponsored paper sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. It’s a great way to get involved
  4. You can view the preliminary program for AAG 2000 - Pittsburgh and the current jobs in geography listings on the AAG web site:
  5. Have you been getting e-mails? I periodically send out e-mails of interest to the group. If you have not been receiving these e-mails please send me ( your e-mail address and I will add you to the COMA list.
  6. If you have items that you want to be distributed via the e-mail please forward them to Rich Daniels or Harry Jol.
  7. Our updated COMA web site now has two web site addresses: or Thanks to Rich for maintaining the site!!
  8. Many groups such as ourselves have gone over to complete electronic version of the newsletter – what are your feelings on this? Please bring them along to the Pittsburgh meeting or e-mail me.
  9. Any comments for future editions are always welcome. Thanks to everyone who provided items for this newsletter. This is your newsletter so please forward items.

Harry Jol, Secretary-Treasurer, Editor (


Nominations Open for a Member of the Board of Directors!

Dawn Wright’s term is coming up this April in Pittsburgh. We will be opening up nominations for a one Member of the Board of Directors. According to the bylaws the description for the duties include: judge for the Student Paper Merit Award, serving on that committee under the direction of the vice chair. Members of the board shall also evaluate nominees and select a recipient for the R.J. Russell Award. Each term on the Board of Directors is two years, determined according to the timing of AAG annual meetings.

If you want or know someone who would like to help out the Specialty Group please pass along your nominations to Harry Jol or Rich Daniels.


Call for Award Nominations: The R. J. Russell Award

Nominations for the R.J. Russell Award should be directed to the Vice-Chair. Nominations for the current year should be made at least 2 weeks prior to the annual AAG meeting.

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), Fillmore Earney (1992), Norb Psuty (1993), Karl Nordstrom (1996), Doug Sherman (1997), and Bernard Bauer (1999).

Nominations are accepted from Coma members, but nominees do not have to be members of either the specialty group or the AAG. Two nominations are required for consideration for the Award. At least one of the nominations must include a complete letter of nomination which will 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. 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).

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.


Vice-Chair Profile: Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt

Klaus became our Vice-Chair at the Hawaii AAG meeting. He completed his BA at Portland State University and his MA and PHD at Louisiana State University. He recently (1998) became Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of West Florida. Previously, he was a Professor at Mississippi State University. Klaus specializes in coastal environments, with research interests ranging from physical geography (coastal processes and forms, shoreline erosion and land loss) to cultural geography (human impacts of coastal urbanization, recreation and tourism, and coastal landscape evolution). Recent fieldwork has been conducted mostly along Gulf of Mexico shorelines of the USA and Mexico.

Klaus is active in several regional and national organizations, including the Association of American Geographers (vice-chair of the Coastal/Marine specialty group), The Coastal Society, the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals, and the U.S. EPA Gulf of Mexico Program. He serves on several editorial boards, including Tourism Geographies and the Journal of Cultural Geography, of which he guest-edited two volumes on the geography of tourism. Klaus received a Fulbright Senior Scholar research award to Yucatán in 1994 (where he investigated tourism development and shoreline erosion), and in 1998 he received the Roy Wolfe Award from the Recreation, Tourism, & Sport specialty group of the Association of American Geographers as well as a Distinguished Service Award from the National Geographic Society for contributions to geographic education.

COMA Slide Compilation Project 2000 Completed!

During the past three years members of the Coastal & Marine Specialty Group have participated in a successful project to collect, document, and scan over 200 slides and photographs. These digital images have been assembled into nine individual slide sets that exemplify the continuum of research that is being conducted within the coastal zone.

These digital slide sets are fully documented and have been compiled onto a CD-ROM along with all necessary files to view each slide show interactively on your computer via Microsoft Internet ExplorerTM or NetscapeTM. This CD-ROM compilation comes ready for use and may be suitable for both classroom and computer laboratory settings. In addition, individual photographs contained in the compilation may be reproduced and used for research and educational purposes. A preview of the interface for this CD is available at

To order or reserve your copy of the CD-ROM, fill out the attached order form and return to the address shown below. Price per CD-ROM is $9.00. Orders of ten or more are eligible for a $1 discount ($8.00 each).

Coastal and Marine Slide Compilation (CD-ROM) Order Form

I would like to order _______ copies of the Coastal and Marine

Slide Compilation (CD-ROM), Volume 1, at $9.00 each

($8.00 each if ordering ten or more).

Mailing/Shipping Address:



How would you like to receive your CD’s?

c Mail to the address shown above c Pickup at the AAG Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

How would you like to pay for your CD’s

c Check or money order attached c Pay on pickup at the AAG Annual
(Make check payable to AAG Coastal and Marine)

Return this form to:

Richard Daniels, Chair, COMA
1976 McDonald Avenue
DuPont, WA 98327

Student Paper Merit Award Deadline Extended to March 15, 2000

The deadline for applying for consideration for the COMA Student Paper Merit Award has been extended to March 15, 2000. Since the deadline for submitting abstracts to the AAG for the annual meeting in Pittsburgh has passed; applicants under this extended deadline must have submitted an abstract and be currently registered for the annual meeting. To apply for this award please complete the registration form located at and forward it, along with a copy of your abstract, to the address shown below. Electronic submissions are encouraged.

Richard Daniels

Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Program
Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, Washington 98504-7600


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 annual AAG meeting, (2) are a member of the AAG and COMA, and (3) have submitted a complete application form and abstract to the award committee chair. Poster presentations are not eligible. Papers are judged both on content and on the quality of the presentation.

Award: The award consists of a $100.00 grant and an award certificate. The grant will be used to defray current or future AAG and Coastal and Marine Specialty Group membership dues and travel expenses to the annual meeting.

Applicants: Students who are currently not members of the Coastal and Marine Specialty Group may join (student dues are $1) during COMA’s annual business meeting or by mailing a check made-out to AAG Coastal and Marine to the Treasurer.


COMA-Sponsored Sessions at AAG’2000 - Pittsburgh

Wednesday, April 5

146. Coastal Geomorphology I: Coastal Dynamics (Sponsored by Coastal and Marine and Geomorphology Specialty Groups)

-Organizer: Paul A. Gares, East Carolina University

-Chair: Diane Horn, Birkbeck College-Univ of London

-2:00 Douglas J. Sherman, University of Southern California, Jinkang Wang. University of Southern California, Wave Transformation on a Planar Nearshore

-2:20 Diane Horn, Birkbeck College-Univ of London, Joanna Blewett, University of London, Patrick Holmes, University of London, Swash Hydrodynamics on Steep Beaches: Numerical Modeling and Laboratory Validation

-2:40 Tammie Middleton, East Carolina University, Investigation and Characterization of a Microtidal Estuarine Beach: Roanoke Island, NC

-3:00 Philip L. Chaney, Auburn University, Extratropical Storms of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Type. Frequency, and Wind Conditions

178. Coastal Geomorphology II: Coastal Dunes (Sponsored by Coastal and Marine and Geomorphology Specialty Groups)

-Organizer: Paul A. Gares, East Carolina University

-Chair: Douglas J. Sherman, University of Southern California

-4:00 Robin G.D. Davidson-Arnott, University of Guelph, The Effect of Wind Angle. Fetch Distance, and Moisture Content on Aeolian Transport on Beaches: A Review and Case Study

-4:20 Brian Andrews, East Carolina University, GIS Analysis of Volumetric Change in Coastal Dunes: Coquina Beach, North Carolina

-4:40 Norbert P. Psuty, Rutgers University, Paul A. Gares. East Carolina University, Variations in Dune Topographies Along the New Jersey Shoreline

-5:00 Paul A. Gares, East Carolina University, Dune Recovery Following a Hurricane: Pensacola Beach, FL

-5:20 Ian J. Walker, University of Guelph, A Wind Tunnel Investigation of Mean Flow. Turbulence, and Surface Shear Stress Over Aeolian Dunes

Thursday, April 6

329. Coastal and Ocean Hazards (Sponsored by Coastal and Marine and Hazards Specialty Groups)

-Organizer: Jennifer Rahn, University of Florida

-Chair: Jennifer Rahn, University of Florida

-2:00 Michael Craghan, City College of New York, Assessing Medium-Range Responses to Sea-Level Rise in Coastal New Jersey

-2:20 Micheal Kearney, University of Maryland-College Park, Assessing Historical Shoreline Change in an Atlantic Coastal Plain Estuary

-2:40 Kam-biu Liu, Louisiana State University, Caiming Shen, Louisiana State University, Zuju Yao, Louisiana State UniversityA 3, 000-Year History of Catastrophic Hurricane Landfalls from Virginia Beach

-3:00 Thomas C. Siewicki, NOAA-National Ocean Service, Laura Kracker. NOAA-National Ocean Service, Coastal Landscapes and Estuarine Environmental Health

-3:20 Richard W. Dixon, Southwest Texas State University, A Century of Texas Hurricanes

6:00 pm to 7:15 pm

389. Coastal and Marine Specialty Group Business Meeting

-Chair: Richard C. Daniels, Washington Department of Ecology

Saturday, April 8

8:00 – 9:40 am

590. Geography on Screen: A Photographic Tour of the Coastal and Marine Environment (Sponsored by Coastal and Marine Specialty Group)

-Organizer: Richard C. Daniels, Washington Department of Ecology

-Chairs: Harry M. Jol, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Richard C. Daniels, Washington Department of Ecology

-Panelists: Joann Mossa, University of Florida, Wayne Engstrom, California State Univ-Fullerton, Harry M. Jol, University of Wisconsin-Eau ClaireRichard C. Daniels, Washington Department of Ecology


Other Coastal and Marine Related Sessions/Papers

Wednesday, April 5

51. Illustrated Paper Session: Geomorphology and Water Resources

-Chair: Janet H. Gritzner, South Dakota State University

-8:15 Mark R. Hafen, University of South Florida, Albert Hine, University of South Florida, David Naar, University of South Florida, Identifying Changes in Morphology of Subaqueous Dunes on the West Florida Shelf Using Side-Scan Sonar

-8:35 Brian D. Wardlow, University of Kansas, John A. Harrington, Jr., Kansas State University, Stephen EgbertUniversity of Kansas, A Multi-Sensor Approach to Assessing the Relationship Between Physical Limnological Patterns and Watershed Conditions

114. Illustrated Paper Session: Geographers in the Field: New Teaching Methods

-Organizers: Garry L. Running, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Harry M. Jol, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Brady Foust, University of Wisconsin_Eau Claire

-Chairs: Garry L. Running, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Harry M. Jol, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

-12:25 M. Brian Junck, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Harry M. Jol, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Ground Penetrating Radar Investigation of an Aeolian Sandstone Environment, Zion National Park

124. Poster Session: Geomorphology and Water Resources

-Andrew Bach, Western Washington University, Environmental Factors Lending to a Declining Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) Population in Lake Ozette, Washington

-Patrick Pease, East Carolina University, Mark Lange. East Carolina University, Spatial Variability of Aeolian Erosion on Agricultural Fields of the North Carolina Coastal Plain

-Cristina M. Scarlet, University of Arkansas, Predicting Occurrence of Eutrophication Using the Spatial Variation of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Chlorophyll-a in the Danube Delta, Romania

180. Late Quatenary Events in the Eastern United States

-Chair: Randall J. Schaetzl, Michigan State University

-4:20 Roberta Witters, Florida Atlantic University, Jacqueline Gallagher, Florida Atlantic University, Arlene Fradkin, Florida Atlantic UniversityMapping Past Shorelines Around Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Thursday, April 6

237. Human Impacts in Geomorphology I (Sponsored by Geomorphology Specialty Group)

-Organizers: Richard A. Marston, Oklahoma State University, Jonathan M. Harbor, Purdue University

-Chairs: Richard A. Marston, Oklahoma State University, Jonathan M. Harbor, Purdue University

-8:00 Mark Lange, East Carolina University, Scott Lecce. East Carolina University, Channel Narrowing and Sediment Storage in an Agricultural Drainage on the North Carolina Coastal Plain

-8:20 Catherine Souch, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ, Gabriel Filippelli, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ, Steven Perkins, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ, Nancy Dollar, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ, Accumulation Rates of Airborne Heavy Metals in Wetlands: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

-8:40 Susan Charlesworth, Coventry University, The Distribution of Heavy Metals in the Surficial Sediments of Two Small Urban Lakes. Coventry, UK

306. Management Issues in Parks and Recreational Areas

-Chair: Lisle S. Mitchell, University of South Carolina

-10:40 Lary M. Dilsaver, University of South Alabama, Tourism Conflict at Canaveral National Seashore: Nudism. Law, and Space

321. Human Impacts in Geomorphology III (Sponsored by Geomorphology Specialty Group)

-Organizers: Richard A. Marston, Oklahoma State University, Jonathan M. Harbor, Purdue University

-Chairs: Richard A. Marston, Oklahoma State University, Jonathan M. Harbor, Purdue University

-2:40 Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, George Mason University, Timothy Beach, Georgetown University, Geoarchaeological Field Investigation of the Delicay River Plain, Southern Turkey

-3:00 Timothy Beach, Georgetown University, Nicholas Dunning, University of Cincinnati, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, George Mason University, Human and Natural Impacts on Bajo (Depression) Soils in Northwestern Belize

-3:20 Tim J. Cohen, University of Wollongong, Post-European Channel Dynamics in Coastal NSW, Australia: A Review of Channel and Floodplain Evoultion Models

Friday, April 7

421. Human Impacts in Geomorphology V - Illustrated Paper Session (Sponsored by Geomorphology Specialty Group)

-Organizers: Jonathan M. Harbor, Purdue University, Richard A. Marston, Oklahoma State University

-Chairs: Jonathan M. Harbor, Purdue University, Richard A. Marston, Oklahoma State University

-8:10 David E. Wilkins, Texas A&M University, Comparison of Undeveloped and Developed Barrier Beach Responses to Low Frequency Disturbances

-8:15 Alan F. Arbogast, Michigan State University, Xiomara D. Cordoba, Michigan State University, Interactions Between Humans and Coastal Sand Dunes at Petoskey State Park, MI

495. Sediment Transport in Fluvial Systems III: Sediment Storage and Flood Plains (Sponsored by Geomorphology and Water Resources Specialty Groups and Friends of Hydrology)

-Organizer: Michael C. Slattery, Texas Christian University

-Chair: Scott Lecce, East Carolina University

-2:20 Michael C. Slattery, Texas Christian University, Paul A. Gares, East Carolina University, Jonathan D. Phillips, Texas A&M UniversityLinking the Field to the River: Runoff and Sediment Delivery in Two Coastal Plain Drainage Basins, North Carolina

Saturday, April 8

627. Geomorphology of Shorelines and Estuaries

-Chair: Dorothy Sack, Ohio University

-10:00 Kevin W. Lariscy, Texas A&M University, Mesoscale Morphological Changes of Matagorda Island, Texas

-10:20 Yves Boquet, Universite De Picardi, Coastal Management in the Baie de Somme Area: Choices and Strategies

-10:40 Jon R. French, University College London, Nicholas J. Clifford. University College London, Hydrodynamic Modeling as a Basis for Understanding and Restoring Estuarine Environments

-11:00 Kamron M. Barron, University of Southern California, Inland Sand Entrapment in Los Angeles County That May Decrease Beach Sand Resources

-11:20 Dorothy Sack, Ohio University, The Geographer's Niche in 20th Century Research on Late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville


Video Review of Haunted Waters, Fragile Lands

Gay M. Gomez of McNeese State University ( ) reviews a video that is used every semester to help students become more aware of the inter- connectedness and historical depth of issues in the coastal zone:


by Glen Pitre, for the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (Louisiana), c. 1995 length: approx. 57 minutes

In the central part of Louisiana's southern fringe of marshes, swamps, bayous, beaches, and barrier islands lies the Barataria-Terrebonne estuary, subject of this excellent video that details natural and human-induced change in a fragile coastal region. Its strengths include the use of interviews that express a variety of perspectives--both past and present--on topics such as coastal land loss, wildlife use and management, hurricanes, and human adaptation to and impact on the coastal zone. The video is well organized, with an introduction that details how the Mississippi River's shifting deltas formed the region, followed by sections on bayou frontlands and swampy backlands, marshes or "trembling prairies," and a Gulf shore that is both abundant and threatened. Few negatives mar this production. Instructors wishing to use the video during 50-minute classes will find its length excessive, and the rather singsong voice of the narrator may irritate some viewers. Neither should prevent viewers from enjoying the video and enhancing their understanding of human-land interactions in this extensive wetland region. Neither should the price deter you: the video has been available FREE of charge from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program at 1-800-259-0869.


Video Critiques Wanted

Do you use any videos when teaching coastal or marine geography? (e.g. Beach: A River of Sand). On Don Ziegler's suggestion, the next time you show or view a coastal or marine video, take a moment to jot down its title, brief summary, strengths and weaknesses. Send this information to the Newsletter editors. We will include a column in upcoming newsletters as well as have it posted on the COMA web site.


News and Views from Members


From Nicholas Raphael (

The Department of Geography and Geology (Eastern Michigan University) has been awarded two grants from the US Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District to determine and evaluate digital mapping data of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Included are the availability of digitized coastal orthophoto quads, property lines, riparian land use and topographic mapping. The data will be used to determine future potential economic losses along the shoreline of the lake. C, Nicholas Raphael is the project director of the two-year study which began in 1998.


From Dawn Wright (

New book now available: MARINE AND COASTAL GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS, Dawn J. Wright & Darius J. Bartlett (eds.), London: Taylor & Francis Publishers, 320 pp., 1999.

* First book of its kind to address basic and applied scientific problems in deepsea and coastal science using GIS and remote sensing technologies

* Contributions from leading academics in the field

* A timely compilation of ongoing GIS research and innovation, on the heels of the U.N. International Year of the Ocean

* Should inspire and stimulate continued research.

* More info., table of contents, and online ordering at

From Klaus Meyer-Arendt (

1) Klaus Meyer-Arendt's coastal morphology class at the Univ. of West Florida is having at least a couple of guest speakers this semester. Dr. Ervin Otvos discussed beach ridges and coastal evolution along the gulf Coast. At the end of February, Dr. Norb Psuty will visit as a Sea Grant lecturer and discuss beaches and dunes. In April, the class will attend parts of the EPA Gulf of Mexico Symposium in Mobile.

2) Klaus Meyer-Arendt and students are conducting periodic topographic surveys of Quietwater Beach, a soundside embayment on Santa Rosa Island (Pensacola Beach)where 11,000 yds3 of nourishment sand was deposited. The surveys will determine movement of the sand.

From Dorothy Sack

I had a related paper appear in November (ref below). My current involvement with Lake Bonneville and Great Salt Lake research is through quadrangle mapping for the Utah Geological Survey, and with a comparative study of the Bonneville and Provo shorelines of Lake Bonneville.

Sack, D. 1999. The composite nature of the Provo level of Lake Bonneville, Great Basin, western North America. Quaternary Research 52:316-327.

From Bruce Hooper (

Bruce Hooper (formerly University of Queens land, Brisbane, Australia) has established a natural resources management consulting firm, Integrated Resource Management Research Pty Ltd., also in Brisbane. He recently finished a project to facilitate information exchange between researchers, farmers, Local and State Government agencies and catchment management organizations to improve watershed management. See the demo at He is actively pursuing the development of a new framework to integrate estuary, coastal zone and watershed management, to develop a transparent process applicable across different Australian states. Selected watershed and water resources management documents about IRMR work are available at

From Hazards Specialty Group (

The Hazards Specialty Group encourages all students writing PhD dissertations and Masters' theses on a hazards related topic to consider applying for the Gilbert F. White Award. This award is presented each year to the author of an outstanding hazards thesis or dissertation completed in the past 2 years. Recipients of the White Award receive $100, a plaque, and an autographed copy of Dr. White's two-volume Geography, Resources, and Environment. Individuals who have completed their dissertation or thesis and wish to be considered for the Gilbert F. White should contact Kirstin Dow of the University of South Carolina, Hazards Specialty Group Chair. Phone (803) 777-2482 or E-mail:


Upcoming Conferences

AAG'2000, April 4-8, Pittsburgh, PA, 96th Annual Meeting of the AAG, Paper Abstract Deadline - September 3, 1999; Nystrom Award Papers Deadline - September 3, 1999; Poster Abstract Deadline - October 1, 1999; Illustrated Paper Abstract Deadline - October 1, 1999. Further information:

Fourth Biennial Gulf of Mexico Symposium, April 10-12, Mobile, AL, for more information contact: Alabama Coastal Foundation Director Lisa Adams - 334-621-1541

GPR 2000, Eighth International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 23-26 May, 2000, More information at:

Final Symposium of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) dealing with the contributions of geographers. It will be held in Seoul, Korea in August of 2000, with a joint field excursion involving the Commission on Coastal Environments. Further Information from: Charles Rosenfeld <>

Monsoon Climate, Geomorphologic Processes & Human Activities - A thematic conference is being held in Nanjing, China between 25-29 August 2000 just after the International Geographical Congress in Seoul, Korea. It is sponsored by a number of organizations including the International Association of Geomorphologists. The conference will deal with a variety of topics including glaciers, mountain geomorphology, fluvial and coastal processes, karst landscapes, and natural hazards among others. Several field trips are planned. One will be to Guilin and the karst country, another will visit the Three Gorges and yet another is to the Tianshan mountains. For more information contact Dr. Zhu, X.D. at


If you know of any related conferences coming up in 2000/2001 or if you have announcements or newsworthy items concerning you, your department, or agency, please take a moment to send them to the newsletter co-editors: Harry Jol ( Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54702 or Rich Daniels ( Shorelands/Dept of Ecology, P.O. Box 47690, Olympia, WA 98504. Thanks!


Musings from the Chair - Rich Daniels

Our Membership as We Enter the 21st Century

Recognition of the importance of the ocean came early to the Association of American Geographers (AAG). The first organized meeting of the Marine Geography Committee (MGC) of the AAG was held in 1970 in San Francisco, where it sponsored a single session. Although committee membership was limited to a handful of geographers who were appointed by the AAG, participation in MGC sponsored sessions at the annual meetings of the AAG increased, and by 1978 a marine geography directory listed eight-four persons with coastal or marine expertise (Psuty et al. In press).

When specialty groups were created by the AAG in 1979, the MGC was dissolved and the board membership was reconstituted as the Marine Geography Specialty Group. In 1981 the group was renamed the Coastal & Marine Specialty Group (COMA). COMA sponsored five special sessions in Honolulu at the 1999 Annual Meeting; in comparison to the one session sponsored by the MGC in 1970. In 1999 the group had a paid membership of 180, down from a high of about 197 in 1996 when the annual meeting was held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Within the U.S. our membership is distributed as expected, with it being higher in coastal states. However, the low number of members in Alaska, Georgia, Washington, and Maine is of concern. Review of the on-line descriptions of the Sea Grant Program in each state found that the programs in these four states were centered in Oceanography Departments. Indicating that increased efforts need to be taken by our membership, and geography in general, to bridge the gap between the study of the coastal zone, by geographers, and the offshore, by oceanographers.

The specialty group has gone through a number of changes in focus throughout the years. These changes in emphasis mirror the interests of the current specialty group officers. For example, at the 1989 annual meeting of the AAG the sessions were equally split between geomorphology and coastal hazards/social interactions with the coastal zone. By the 1998 meeting in Boston, four out of five sponsored sessions were physical geography based. The increased prevalence of physical geography in the group’s sessions may have had the unintended impact of discouraging those interested in the study of the economic and social aspects of the hydrosphere from participating in COMA’s activities.

As ever-greater numbers of people move to the ocean’s edge, research conducted by human geographers that deals with the coastal zone is of ever increasing importance. The need for further research on the potential impacts of socioeconomic development on or within the coastal and ocean environment is well known. This need has been magnified by the growing demand for the development of integrated coastal zone management programs at the state, federal, and international level.

The coastal zone management and socioeconomic arena provides a growth opportunity for the group. I feel that human geographers (disguised as coastal planners perhaps?) need and deserve greater representation at our annual business meeting. Through the years the specialty group has successfully promoted communication between geographers interested in the coastal and marine environment. We need to continue to encourage open dialog with our friends next door, as well as those down the hall in the next Department. In conclusion, while in Pittsburgh I challenge you to invite a student, friend, or colleague to one of our special sessions as well as to our annual business meeting (which will be held Thursday, April 6, at 6 pm).

Richard Daniels, Chair


Psuty, N., P. Steinberg, and D. Wright. In press. Coastal & Marine Geography: More than just flotsam and jetsam. In Gaile, G.L. and C.J. Willmott (Eds.). Geography in America at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Oxford University Press, New York, NY