Rice University logoShell Center for Sustainability
Top blue bar image
  • Shell Center for Sustainability
  • Shell Center for Sustainability
  • Shell Center for Sustainability
Facebook btnRSS


The Shell Center for Sustainability's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities' living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life.

Gulf Coastal Science Consortium Founding Members


Founding members:

Dr. John Anderson, Rice University   
John Anderson received his B.S degree in 1968 from the University of South Alabama, his M.S. degree in 1970 from the University of New Mexico, and his Ph.D. in 1972 from Florida State University. He began his professional career at Hope College in 1972, where he was an assistant professor. In 1975, John joined the faculty at Rice University, where he is currently the Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography. He served as chairman of the department from 1992 through 1998.

John has conducted research on various aspects of Antarctic marine geology since his first visit there as a student in 1970. He has participated in 24 scientific expeditions to Antarctica. The culmination of this research was published in "Antarctic Marine Geology" by Cambridge University Press. Anderson's other research has focused on the evolution of the northern Gulf of Mexico Basin (see Late Quaternary Stratigraphic Evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Margin, Society of Sedimentary Geology Special Publication No. 79), and the response of coastal systems to global change. His most recent book is entitled "The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast" and he recently co-edited a Geological Society of America Special Paper entitled "Response of Upper Gulf Coast Estuaries to Holocene Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise," and the American Geophysical Union Special Publication "Tectonic, Climatic and Cryosphere Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula."

John received the 1992 GCAGS Outstanding Educator Award, the 1996 Rice University Graduate Teaching Award, 2004 Rice University Presidential Mentoring Award, and was the 2007 recipient of the Society of Sedimentary Research Shepard Medal. He has served as associate editor for Geology, the American Geophysical Union Antarctic Research Series, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, Sedimentology, and Marine Geology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and past president of the Society for Sedimentary Research. John has served on the AAS-Polar Research Board, on the 1997 NSF Oversight Panel for Polar Programs, and is currently chairman of the Antarctic Research Vessel Oversight Committee.

John Anderson pic sm 1010
Dr. Harry Roberts, Louisiana State University   
Harry H. Roberts is the former director of Coastal Studies Institute (for 10 years) in the  School of the Coast and Environment at LSU where he is a Boyd Professor emeritus.  He has had a career in marine geology and sedimentology that spans more than 40 years and has worked in many foreign countries as well as in the United States.  Recently, he has focused his research on two areas: (a) deltaic sedimentation and processes, and (b) surficial geology of the northern Gulf’s continental slope.  The former research area is directly related to the fundamental science questions that relate to Louisiana’s substantial land loss problem.  The latter research thrust has concentrated on building an understanding of the impacts of fluid and gas expulsion on the biology and surficial geology of the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope.

 /uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/Harry Roberts.jpg 

Dr. John W. Day Jr., Louisiana State University   
John Day is a distinguished professor emeritus the Dept. of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences  and Coastal Ecology Institute, School of the Coast & Environment, Louisiana State University where he has taught since 1971.  He received his PhD at the University of North Carolina working with Howard T. Odum.  He has studied coastal and wetland ecosystems in the Mississippi delta for the past 35 years.  He has also studied coastal ecosystems in many areas of the world, including Latin America and the Mediterranean,  and spent sabbaticals in Mexico, the Netherlands, France and England.  For the past 20 years, he has investigated the use of wetlands for wastewater assimilation and has worked on an integrated program for using wetlands to improve water quality in the Mississippi basin.  From 2003 until 2005, he served as the Chair of the National Technical Review Committee that was appointed to provide technical oversight to the restoration program for the Mississippi delta.  Professor Day is presently a member of the National Scientific Working Group appointed by the Corps of Engineers Headquarters to develop a multi-objective water resources plan for Mississippi delta restoration after Hurricane Katrina.  Professor Day has served as major professor for 61 students.

/uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/John W. Day.jpg 
 Dr. David Mohrig, University of Texas   
David Mohrig received his B.A. from Pomona College and his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Washington in 1994.  He began his professional career at Exxon Production Research Company and ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company where he was a Senior Research Geologist.  In 2001, David joined the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.  In 2006 he joined the newly formed Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences.

Mohrig’s research interests include (1) the transport of sediment through lowland rivers to the coast and (2) patterns of sediment erosion and deposition at shorelines associated with large storms and tsunamis.  He is applying his work on coastal rivers and deltas to optimizing the portfolio of possible river-sediment diversions for both cost and coastal land building. 

 David Morig pic 
Dr. Tony Rodriguez, University of North Carolina Marine Sciences Institute   
Tony graduated from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) in 1994 with a BA in Geology and Rice University in May 1999 with a Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics.  He stayed at Rice for the next year as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (from May 1999 to January 2000) and as a Lecturer (from January to July 2000).  In August 2000, he accepted a job at the University of Alabama, Department of Geological Sciences as an Assistant Professor.  There he pursued his research in coastal geology, taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and advised graduate students through their MS and Ph.D. degrees.  He left the University of Alabama in August, 2005 as a College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Faculty Fellow, and the George Lindahl Fellow, and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Institute of Marine Sciences and Department of Marine Sciences.  His research focuses on quantifying the impacts of climate and sea-level change on estuaries and barrier islands across the northern Gulf Coast and middle Atlantic coast.  He also collaborates with many of his colleagues at UNC examining anthropogenic and climate impacts on marsh, oyster-reef, and beach sustainability. More information about Tony's research interests can be found here.

/uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/Antonio (Tony) Rodriguez(1).JPG 
Dr. Alex Kolker, Lousiana Universities Marine Consortium   
Alexander S. Kolker is an Assistant Professor at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. He is a coastal geologist who has worked in systems around the nation, including the Florida Everglades, the wetlands surrounding Long Island, NY, and more recently, the Mississippi River Delta. His work has examined the dynamical drivers of sea level variability, the influence of climate change on coastal wetlands, and the role that subsidence plays as a driver of wetland loss in the Mississippi River Delta. He is also actively involved in examining how natural deltaic processes can be used to restore the Mississippi River Delta and the coast of Louisiana. Dr. Kolker received his Bachelors' degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his Masters' and Doctoral degrees from Stony Brook University. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA.  More information about Dr. Kolker's research interests can be found here.

/uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/Alexander Kolker.jpg
Dr. Torbjörn E. Törnqvist, Tulane University   
Torbjörn E. Törnqvist is a Quaternary scientist who received his degrees in physical geography from Utrecht University (PhD, 1993). He was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago before joining Tulane University as an associate professor in 2005, becoming a full professor in 2010 and chair of Tulane’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in 2012. Since 2006, he has served as the Director of the National Institute for Climatic Change Research Coastal Center, a funding agency that resides under the US Department of Energy and supports basic research that aims to reduce the uncertainty about the future of coastal ecosystems nationwide due to climate and sea-level change.

Torbjörn’s research interests revolve around the evolution of rivers, deltas, and shallow oceans in response to climate and sea-level change. His fieldwork currently focuses on the Mississippi Delta and the adjacent US Gulf Coast, with the primary objective to obtain detailed Holocene sea-level records to assess potential future threats for low-lying coastal environments. This includes connections between climate change and global sea-level change, as well as inferring rates of coastal subsidence and its mechanisms. Another aspect of his research concerns the late Quaternary evolution of fluvial and deltaic stratigraphy.

/uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/Torbjörn E. Törnqvist.jpg 
Dr. Mead Allison, University of Texas   
Mead Allison is presently a Senior Research Scientist and Associate Director of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin.  Prior to coming to UT in 2007, he was Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Tulane University in New Orleans.  Allison has been conducting fieldwork and publishing on Gulf coastal topics for more than 15 years.  This includes research on sediment dynamics in a variety of Gulf coastal environments, including wetlands, estuaries, river channels and the continental shelf.  He has also published on a number of topics relating to climate change including the geomorphic impact of Gulf hurricanes, sea level rise, wetland species latitudinal migration, and variations in riverine sediment input.

  Mead Allison
Dr. Davin Wallace, Rice University   
Davin Wallace completed his B.S. degree Cum Laude in Geology and German Literature and Language from Tulane University in 2006. His senior year at Tulane, he was mentored by Dr. Torbjörn E. Törnqvist on a research project. He completed his Ph.D. degree in Earth Science from Rice University in 2010 under the advisement of Dr. John B. Anderson. His research interests include coastal geology and hazards, paleotempestology, sediment consolidation and subsidence, geomorphology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, fluvial systems, coastal response to relative sea level changes, global change, and sustainability.

/uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/Davin J. Wallace.JPG
Dr. Mark Kulp, University of New Orleans   
Mark A. Kulp is an Associate Professor within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans and Director of the Coastal Research Laboratory within the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University. Between 2008 and 2011 he was chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science.

His background is in the areas of coastal stratigraphy, geomorphology, and surficial processes. During the last decade his research has been directed toward the geology of the northern Gulf Coast with a special emphasis on the sedimentary framework of the Mississippi River delta system and evolution of the Louisiana coastal plain in response to changes in sediment supply, sea-level rise, and subsidence. Recent investigations within his group address the evolution of Louisiana barrier islands and tidal inlets in response to coastal erosion and interior wetland loss, latest Quaternary stratigraphy and evolution of the north-central Gulf Coast, geomorphologic response of saltwater marshes to relative sea-level rise and hurricane impacts, and effect of fault movement on coastal environments. He has been engaged in a range of Louisiana coastal zone management projects including the 2012 Louisiana Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast and numerous barrier island renourishment and marsh creation projects.

 Mark Kulp pic sm 
Dr. Paul Kemp, Audubon Society   
Paul Kemp grew up on Long Island, New York, and received a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in 1975.  He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography and Coastal Geology from Louisiana State University in 1978 and 1986, respectively, while also serving as a NOAA Knauss Fellow in 1984 in the office of Senator Ted Kennedy.  Dr. Kemp worked as a consulting geologist in industry until 1989 when he helped found the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and became its first Executive Director.  CRCL is a Louisiana based nongovernmental organization that remains influential today in driving coastal restoration in Louisiana.  Dr. Kemp returned to LSU in the mid-1990s as assistant and then associate professor with the School of the Coast and Environment, eventually with a joint appointment as Director of the Natural Systems Modeling Group and Associate of the LSU Hurricane Center.  His research interests included development and application of numerical models for high-intensity, short-term events like hurricanes, and low-intensity, long-term phenomena like delta formation, wetland loss/restoration and ecosystem change.  Paul has always had a strong interest in applying science to catalyze shifts in natural resources policy and has served on a number of policy oriented boards and commissions.  Perhaps the most difficult assignment in that vein was Dr. Kemp’s engagement with the Team Louisiana forensics investigation of the failures of the New Orleans flood protection system.  While he continues as an adjunct professor, Dr. Kemp left LSU in early 2007 to begin a new career as Vice-President for the Gulf Coast Initiative of the National Audubon Society, a century-old conservation organization that connects people to nature and advocacy for nature through a shared love of birds.  At National Audubon, Dr. Kemp is enjoying a new freedom to work with volunteers and conservation professionals as well as help manage one of the oldest privately held coastal wildlife sanctuaries in the U.S., the 26,000 acre Paul J. Rainey Sanctuary in the marsh south of Intracoastal City and west of Vermilion Bay.


 Paul Kemp pic sm 
Dr. Joseph Donoghue, Florida State University   
Dr. Joseph  Donoghue is a faculty member in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at Florida State University.   His research interests include the geology and geomorphology of coastal environments and continental margins, the causes and effects of sea-level change, and Quaternary geology and geochronology.   He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in coastal processes, marine geology, Quaternary geology, and environmental geology.  He has published more than 50 papers and a large number of technical reports, and has presented or co-authored more than 100 papers at professional meetings.  In addition to his position at Florida State University he is also a research associate at the Florida Geological Survey, a frequent visiting scientist at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and an associate editor of the Journal of Coastal Research.  He and his colleagues are involved in modeling the potential effects of sea-level and climate change on coastal systems and infrastructure in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  The work has the the goal of developing methodologies to enable coastal communities and installations to prepare for and mitigate environmental change over the next century

/uploadedImages/Shell_Center/Gulf_Coast_Science_Consortium/Joseph Donoghue.JPG 
Dr. Harold Wanless, University of Miami   
Hal Wanless is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. He received his B.A. in Geology at Princeton University, his M.S. in Marine Geology at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, and his Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His Master’s Thesis documented evolution of sedimentary environments in Biscayne Bay as rising sea level flooded the bay over the past 6,000 years. His Doctoral Dissertation was a paleo-environmental reconstruction of Middle Cambrian sediment strata in the Grand Canyon, a sequence recording dozens of marine to non-marine cycles resulting from sea level cycles.

In 2010, he was named a Cooper Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami. In 2012 Poder Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in south Florida.

He and his graduate and undergraduate students have been studying the dynamics of coastal and shallow marine environments of south Florida, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos since the mid 1960s, especially focusing on the influence of sea level and hurricanes and on the short- and long-term evolution of tropical wetland, sandy coastal, and shallow marine environments.

He also maintains a research program in paleo-environmental reconstruction of ancient reefal and other limestone sequences. Since the early 1970s he has led frequent field training trips for students, professionals and lay persons to modern and ancient tropical marine environments throughout north America.

 Harold Wanless
Dr. Jaye E. Cable, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 


Return to GCSC main page