Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center


We conduct multidisciplinary scientific research in the coastal and offshore areas of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and other US Pacific Islands; and in other waterways of the United States.

Research Projects

Research Projects

Read about our science projects, find out where we are working, and why it matters

Explore Our Science

Seminar Series

Seminar Series

Join us for public seminars at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, CA

Upcoming Seminars


Date published: May 3, 2019

New evidence for a roughly 600-year-old tsunami impacting the Hawaiian Islands

In a comprehensive survey of Hawaiian tsunami deposits, USGS scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center and collaborators found evidence for a widespread tsunami striking the islands between 1250 and 1450 CE.

Date published: April 24, 2019

Ocean engineer gives students a tour of USGS facilities

Schools are welcome to contact USGS about tours in Santa Cruz, California.


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Year Published: 2019

Assessing morphologic controls on atoll island alongshore sediment transport gradients due to future sea-level rise

Atoll islands’ alongshore sediment transport gradients depend on how island and reef morphology affect incident wave energy. It is unclear, though, how potential atoll morphologic configurations influence shoreline erosion and/or accretion patterns, and how these relationships will respond to future sea-level rise (SLR). Schematic atoll models...

Shope, James B.; Storlazzi, Curt D.

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Year Published: 2019

Spatial and temporal variability in ripple formation and migration across a coral reef flat and lagoon

Sediment produced on fringing coral reefs that is transported along the bed or in suspension affects ecological reef communities as well as the morphological development of the reef, lagoon, and adjacent shoreline. This study quantified the physical process contribution and relative importance of sea‐swell waves, infragravity waves, and mean...

Rosenberger, Kurt J.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Pomeroy, Andrew; Cheriton, Olivia; Lowe, Ryan J.; Hansen, Jeff

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Year Published: 2019

Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction

The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision making...

Storlazzi, Curt D.; Reguero, Borja G.; Cole, Aaron D.; Lowe, Erik; Shope, James B.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Nickel, Barry A.; McCall, Robert T.; van Dongeren, Ap R.; Beck, Michael W.
Storlazzi, C.D., Reguero, B.G., Cole, A.D., Lowe, E., Shope, J.B., Gibbs, A.E., Nickel, B.A., McCall, R.T., van Dongeren, A.R., and Beck, M.W., 2019, Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1027, 42 p.,