Jaap Nienhuis receives the 2020 AGU Luna Leopold award

Jaap Nienhuis

Geomorphologist Dr. Jaap Nienhuis receives the Earth and Planetary Surface Process Luna Leopold Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). In addition, in December he will present the Sharp Lecture during the AGU Fall Meeting. Recipients of the AGU Honors awards have made outstanding achievements in their disciplines and have made significant contributions to science.

Nienhuis received the awards for his ground-breaking research on how waves and tides shape barrier islands and river deltas. 

“My work involves morphodynamics of coastal areas,” Nienhuis says. “I try to understand how waves, tides, and rivers move sand and mud. These processes determine where shorelines and coastal wetlands can grow or erode, and what the effects of sea-level rise will be.”

“I was first drawn into the field by Pieter Roos, my coastal morphodynamics professor at the University of Twente,” Nienhuis continues. “In his lectures he showed how simple theories of sediment movement can create complex landscape patterns. Pieter introduced me to Andrew Ashton, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Andrew became my mentor at the MIT-WHOI PhD program together with Liviu Giosan and Taylor Perron, where I developed simple theories for river deltas and barrier island change. I did postdoctoral work in New Orleans with Tor Tornqvist and Ton Hoitink on the effects of tides on river deltas.”