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Who we are




Duncan is a Marine Geologist who studies the coastal zone from the inner continental shelf to the landward barrier islands, tidal inlets, estuaries, and marshes focusing on the effects of waves and tides on sediment transport processes and the resulting evolution of coastal geomorphology.

Assistant Research Professor

Zoe is a physical oceanographer and geomorphologist, who studies the impact of climate change, specifically changing wave climates and sea-level rise on coastal environments such as marshes and barrier-beach-dune systems. Her research is cross-disciplinary, including feedbacks between hydrodynamics, landscape evolution and ecogeomorphology. She used a combination of numerical modeling and field monitoring.


Assistant Research Professor

Alyssa Novak is a coastal ecologist that has worked extensively in seagrass systems developing models and conducting health assessments to identify eelgrass restoration sites; assessing the role of donor populations in promoting the establishment and resilience of eelgrass at restoration sites; determining carbon storage capacity of eelgrass beds; and assessing the effects of microplastics on eelgrass populations.  She also works in salt marsh systems studying the processes that govern their formation and stability, as well as their response to climate change.  Alyssa has worked throughout New England, Canada, Florida, and Southeast Asia.  She is currently leading multiple eelgrass projects in Great Marsh (MA), Nantucket (MA), and Great Bay Estuary (NH).


Postdoctoral Researcher

Danghan is currently a postdoc associate focusing on the simulation of coastline evolution under the impacts of storm waves. He obtained his PhD from Utrecht University in the Netherlands studying the biophysical interactions in mangrove ecosystems. 

Danghan works on the Buzzards Bay project in conjunction with the Fagherazzi Lab. 



PhD Candidate

Sarah Black received her B.A. in mathematics and philosophy from Boston University in 2018. She joined the FitzGerald Lab as an undergraduate and stayed on to begin her PhD in 2019. Sarah is interested in the impact of storms and rising sea levels on coastal erosion and sediment transport. Her current research focuses on mapping bluff retreat on the glacially-formed Boston Harbor Islands, and on storm sedimentation in the Great Marsh in Northern Massachusetts.


PhD Candidate

Alice received her Masters in Geology from Rice University. At BU she is studying storm deposition in marshes and the evolution of chenier plains in Brazil.



PhD Student

Sophia received a B.S. in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from MIT in February 2018. After working aboard ships for educational nonprofits and at NOAA, Sophia is now studying marsh resilience to sea level rise and the stability of Nantucket shorelines in response to climate change.


PhD Student

Tansir received his BSc in Civil Engineering from IUT and MSc in Water Resources Development from BUET. He is from Bangladesh. Currently, he is working on the inlet migration and morphodynamic evolution of Allens Pond, Massachusetts under the Buzzards Bay Project.

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Undergraduate Researcher

.Evie has been part of the lab since summer 2023. When she is not skiing or hiking or snorkeling she is helping out with GIS on the Buzzards Bay project or our salt degradation projects. 


Who we were


Previous Postdoctoral Researcher

Silke was a Postdoctoral Associate on the Buzzards Bay project. She is from Belgium and has lived in the Netherlands during her studies. She obtained her PhD from Delft University of Technology, studying chenier dynamics in the context of eroding mangrove-mud coasts. She has now taken a position as an Assistant Professor at Wageningen University.



Graduated 2023 from the FitzGerald Lab!

Lucila Houttuijn Bloemendaal is from New Orleans and has lived in Houston and Groningen, The Netherlands.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Ocean Sciences from Duke University.  At Duke, she did here honor’s thesis in paleoceanography, using microfossils to reconstruct historical water temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic to understand past ocean-climate interactions.  She is interested in the role of geology in informing and developing coastal resiliency measures, especially with flooding, storms, and sea level rise, all the while improving equity and conservation outcomes.  At BU she was a Clare Boothe Luce Fellow and NOAA Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, and her current work focuses on East Coast marshes, their response to storms, and marsh loss.


Undergraduate Researcher

Research into microplastics accumulation in saltmarsh.

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Undergraduate Researcher

Boyuan is an undergraduate student at Boston University who began working in the lab in summer 2022. For his senior honors thesis in Marine Science, Boyuan uses GIS to trace marsh pond area in the Great Marsh, contributing to the marsh platform degradation project. His research areas of interest are coastline erosion, sediment transport, and the coastal environment.


Undergraduate Researcher

Ryen has taken all our classes, has interned for us during summer helping with seagrass and saltmarsh field and lab work. 

She undertook a UROP project looking at microplastic abundance in seagrass beds as a function of hydrodynamic climate.



Master's student

Cece is from Southern New Jersey 

and studies microplastic accumulation patterns, mechanisms, and potential impacts on the temperate seagrass species Zostera marina. Cece is interested in seagrass restoration and conservation, and aim to understand how microplastics impact the future of these valuable ecosystems.

Cece finished her B.A./M.S. in December 2021 and now works for the state of Massachusetts.


Undergraduate Researcher

Tara is a recent graduate of BU (CAS '21) from New Jersey who is continuing her undergraduate work on New England salt marshes. Tara's research interests are in coastal morphology, sedimentology, GIS/remote sensing analysis, and conservation science. Tara's ongoing research project is on the formation and expansion of potholes in northern salt marsh systems. Over the past winter, Tara has collected samples and measured changes in potholes along the Great Marsh in Massachusetts to assess their role in the deterioration of this ecosystem. As part of her undergraduate coursework, Tara has studied marsh accretion at Joppa Flats in Newburyport, MA; modeled vulnerability of southern New Jersey salt marshes to sea level rise; studied growth and bleaching patterns of Acropora cervicornis coral at Laughing Bird Caye in Belize; and researched climate change preparedness and mitigation plans of Massachusetts coastal/riverine municipalities to flood, storm, and sea level rise hazards. Tara has also recently helped perform assessments on the threatened status of North Atlantic seagrass species for the IUCN Red List.



Coastal Geology Researcher

Emma Tombaugh is from New Jersey and worked as a Coastal Geology Researcher in the lab during the summer of 2019. While at the lab she studied the impacts of sea level rise by collecting and analyzing marsh sediment cores, beach sand samples, and coastline GPS data. She graduated from Tufts University in 2021 with a degree in Geoscience and is currently interning with the Maine Geological Survey to work on their beach and nearshore mapping programs. Her research interests include geomorphology, slope stability, geohazards, and coastal geology. Her past research project is on "Tectonic Geomorphology of Secondary Faults in the Torlesse Fault Zone" completed at University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Undergraduate Researcher

Andrew is from Boston and is a undergrad at Boston University. Andrew helps with marking bluffs on the Boston Harbor Islands using ArcGIS. Andrew also assists in some lab work where he takes sand and dirt collected from the Boston Harbor Islands and sorts them out by grain sizes.



Former PhD Candidate

Carol is now a Professor at LSU. She gained her PhD at BU in the Coastal Lab working with Duncan, looking at Saltmarsh evolution. We are so proud of her!


Former PhD Candidate

Chris is now a Professor at VIMS. He gained his PhD at BU in the Coastal Lab working with Duncan, looking at coastal change as a result of climate change. He is still a close collaborator in the lab.

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