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Walter A. Barnhardt, PhD

My scientific background is in marine geology and my passion is working on basic scientific problems that have societal and management implications. I focus on understanding how coasts have evolved through time and space, so we can better predict their future behavior and minimize losses due to storms, chronic erosion and sea-level rise.

I lead the Coastal and Shelf Geology Group at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. This internationally recognized team consists of about 25 scientists and technologists who apply state-of-the-art methods to map coastal/shelf environments and model the processes that shape them. Products and tools produced from our studies help resource managers to make sustainable, science-based decisions and mitigate the impacts of storms, sea-level rise, and human activities along the nation’s coasts. I have 30+ years of experience in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes, where I advise federal/state/local agencies, Tribal nations, and non-governmental organizations on coastal erosion strategies, environmental restoration projects, and offshore infrastructure development. I also oversee efforts to recruit students from under-represented groups to the USGS workforce through a speaker series and internship program with the City College of New York.