Coastal scientist co-authors new book for Geography A-level students

An internationally renowned coastal scientist from the University of Plymouth has co-authored a new book designed to give A-level students an informed insight into our coastlines.

Top Spec Geography: Coasts is written by Professor of Coastal Geomorphology Gerd Masselink, Director of the University’s Coastal Processes Research Group, and geography teacher Debbie Milton.

It is part of a series of publications produced by the Geography Association for post-16 students, with each title written by a pair of authors to combine the expertise of a classroom teacher and a specialist in their field.

Most teenagers study basic coastal processes and the resulting coastal features at GCSE, and – as areas of global importance economically, socially and environmentally – coasts are a very popular option at A-level, with over 50,000 students taking this course.

The new book aims to take students’ existing knowledge to a higher level by placing coasts within a scientific systems-based approach, preparing them so they can pursue the subject into further and higher education.

During the course of the book, they will learn about a range of subject areas including: coastal systems, including analysis of how they operate; the role and relative importance of waves, tides and currents; the landforms and processes at rocky and sandy coasts; people-environment relationships at the coast; and coasts as dynamic environments, including the future impact of rising sea levels.

The book builds on Professor Masselink’s extensive research in the area, which includes detailed assessments of the impact of storms and rising sea levels on coastlines across the world.

Professor Masselink said:

“This project was motivated by the recognition that some of the existing A-level material on coastal environments and processes was overly simplistic and rather outdated. I had previously written degree-level textbooks, so we took those as a starting point and made them suitable for A-level students.
“The resulting book combines up-to-date knowledge and understanding of coastal processes and landforms with global examples of coastal systems, activities and extensive online case studies. It is brilliant to be able to use our world-leading research to inspire students at all levels and encourage them to consider coastal and marine science as genuine options for their future studies and careers."

Professor of Coastal Geomorphology Gerd Masselink said:

It is brilliant to be able to use our world-leading research to inspire students at all levels and encourage them to consider coastal and marine science as genuine options for their future studies and careers

Find our more about the new book

Coastal Processes Research Group

The Coastal Processes Research Group is an internationally recognised group of researchers, specialising in field studies of coastal processes and seeking to understand and predict the behaviour of coastal and estuarine systems. Research topics include:

  • beach morphodynamics and nearshore sediment transport
  • coastal erosion and storm impacts
  • video monitoring of coastal systems
  • coastal process modelling
  • estuarine processes and evolution.

The group operate a research-informed consultancy Coastal Marine Applied Research