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Meet Joe Carlin

Marine Geologist Studies Impacts on Coastal Environments

Nov. 21, 2014

As a marine geologist, Joe Carlin investigates the role of geological and oceanographic processes in coastal environments — such as oceans, deltas and estuaries — and how they are affected by human activities and influence the geologic record.

"My research, for example, lends itself to looking at the effect of dams on sediment transport to the ocean or the impact of engineered structures on natural beach processes," said Carlin, assistant professor of geological sciences. "This work can provide a scientific basis useful for decision-makers interested in minimizing their impacts to the environment."

Carlin began teaching at Cal State Fullerton this fall semester and looks forward to introducing his students to coastal geoscience and the issues affecting seaside environments.

"Even though our campus is close to the ocean, it can sometimes feel far away. But by introducing students to the varied and exciting coastal environments in their own backyard, I can inspire a lifetime of engagement and learning no matter what career path they ultimately choose," said Carlin, who advocates student involvement in experiential, or high-impact learning outside the classroom, to better understand concepts and achieve academic success.

"I look forward to getting students out on the water as part of their coursework so they can learn about oceanography or marine geology firsthand. There is no substitute for the impact on a student's life that even one afternoon of doing science on the back of a boat can impart."

Carlin, who grew up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, attended Texas A&M University for his undergraduate and graduate studies. He earned a doctorate in oceanography with an emphasis in coastal geological oceanography and a bachelor's degree in ocean and coastal resources at the Galveston campus. He also earned a B.A. in communications and attended the Corpus Christi campus.

His doctoral dissertation focused on sedimentation related to the Brazos River, which runs through Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. Carlin has mentored students on such projects as investigating the impact of shrimp trawling on the seabed and sediment remobilization in a shallow estuary; the latter study was presented at international conferences.

Before joining CSUF, he conducted postdoctoral research in the Marine Science Department at Texas A&M University-Galveston. He also participated in the National Science Foundation/University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System chief scientist training program, a weeklong expedition geared for early career scientists aboard a research ship.

Tags:  Academics & Research