Sarah McSweeney

LecturerSarah McSweeney

Internal Phone: 91891


Research Interests

I am a coastal geomorphologist whose research interests lie at the interface of coastal physical processes, landform evolution, and management. My research aims to understand how interacting physical processes control the morphodynamics and evolution of coastal landforms, and how these processes and landforms are in turn impacted by human activities.

Principle scientific questions that drive my research include: Where is sediment eroded, transported, and stored across the coastal zone? How will coastal landforms respond to changing boundary conditions over tidal to geological timescale? And how does geologic setting influence natural and human processes? To answer these questions, I use a combination of field, lab, and modelling methods to collect empirical data. I then use this data to predict past, present-day, and future behaviour with an emphasis on producing information that is useful for managers and policy makers. My research interests and expertise can be summarised by three semi-overlapping research topics: (1) estuary entrance processes (2) the evolution of estuaries and barrier systems, and (3) shoreline change in response to ocean wave processes. I am passionate about undertaking research that can contribute to improving our understanding how coastal processes may change in future (e.g. under climate change and sea level rise) and that is useful in practice for coastal communities and managers.

Recent Publications

  • McSweeney SL. and Stout JC. (2023) Hydraulic gradient and wave height control the success of estuary artificial entrance openings. Journal of Hydrology 619
  • Gao J., Kennedy DM., Konlechner TM., McSweeney S., Chiaradia A. and McGuirk M. (2022) Changes in the vegetation cover of transgressive dune fields: A case study in Cape Woolamai, Victoria. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 47(3): 778-792.
  • Köhler M., Shulmeister J., Patton NR., Rittenour TM., McSweeney S., Ellerton DT., Stout JC. and Hüneke H. (2021) Holocene evolution of a barrier-spit complex and the interaction of tidal and wave processes, Inskip Peninsula, SE Queensland, Australia. Holocene 31(9): 1476-1488.
  • McSweeney S., Stout J. and Savige T. (2021) Basin infill increases seaward sediment delivery in small, tide-dominated estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 258
  • Barrowcliffe R., McSweeney S., da Silva GM. and Santini T. (2020) Crashing Into Sisterhood: An All-Female Fieldwork Expedition in Moon Point Area, K'gari (Fraser Island, Australia). Journal of Coastal Research 101(sp1): 419-424.