The research activities within NEMO are organized in three areas of expertise. These areas correspond to three distinct parts in the cross-shore of sandy coasts:


The NEMO beach and dunes workpackage aims at determining the processes that drive beach morphology and dune accretion on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. This means that:

  1. Monitoring of beach and dune properties (e.g. moisture, vegetation, sediment sorting) and inter-tidal morphology that are expected to influence transport rates, transport gradients and corresponding morphological feedback.
  2. Probabilistic and statistical inference of monitoring data to find correlations between beach and dune properties and natural circumstances like wind, temperature, rain, water levels, waves, etc. and provide insight in the complex process of coastal dune growth.
  3. Prediction of morphological behavior of beaches and dunes on large temporal and spatial scales.


Monitoring of beach dunes and properties isn’t a well established discipline. We will try to use methods from other disciplines (e.g. computer vision, machine learning, statistics and probabilistics) to extract valuable data from state-of-the-art data sources at our disposal, like:

  1. High-resolution ARGUS video
  2. Infra-red imaging
  3. Macro photography

Besides, we will need classical measurement approaches to validate our new data sources using sediment samples, GPS, bathymetry measurements.

Probabilistic and statistical inference

Our monitoring data will describe many interacting processes and consist of a variety of data sources (e.g. point data, field data) on different time scales. In order to fully capture the complexity of the interactions we will use probabilistic networks to extract relations and correlations for us.


Using our probabilistic networks we will be able to predict the morphological behavior of beaches and dunes, naturally including uncertainties.


The NEMO surfzone workpackage aims at determining the processes that drive net alongshore sediment transport on decadal time-scales and their relative contribution. This means that:

  1. Exploratory research is started on processes that are expected to be relevant drivers for long-term coastal evolution.
  2. Behaviour of coastline features will be studied on the basis of available information and newly measured data.
  3. Measurement campaigns will be performed to validate or falsify hypotheses on the relevance of specific  

Exploratory research

The exploratory research should give insight into the relevance for long-term coastal evolution in the surfzone due to coastal features like: 

  1. Beach profile characteristics
  2. Coastline instabilities & Spit growth
  3. 3D beach states
  4. Alongshore sand waves
  5. Sediment sorting & bed armouring
  6. Nourishments 


A number of measurements will be carried out. The following techniques will be used amongst others:

  • ARGUS video imagery
  • Wave bouys
  • ADCP’s
  • Sediment samples


Investigate the morphological behavior of the foreshore region (between NAP -20 and -8 m, approximately) in a LSLT (large-scale long-term) basis. Gain new insights about the morphodynamic processes of the lower beach and its influence in the surf zone through innovative field experiments. This study will contribute to the development of a numerical model capable of providing robust forecasts of the long-term, large-scale coastal changes.

Exploratory Research

This research will be driven by the development of new measurement strategies (high spatial and temporal dataset) in order to obtain a better understanding of numerous LSLT processes that take place in the foreshore region such as: along- and cross-shore transport, bed- and suspended-load transport, morphological features dynamics, etc.

Field Experiment

New field experiments will be undertaken using not only the exiting equipments, but also new ones strategically deployed so as to provide a dataset (combined to those previously available) able to provide new insights about the LSLT processes of the lower beach.

Many subjects suitable for a Master Thesis are available within NEMO. All aspects, like field measurements, data analysis and/or modelling can be covered in such thesis. You will be in the midst of the most recent developments in Coastal Engineering and help collecting lots of unique data and insights. Your own initiative is highly appreciated. In return you can expect excellent support.

A few of the thesis topics currently available are: