Ian Walker


Ian Walker is a geomorphologist and surficial geologist well known for his expertise in sediment transport and erosion, aeolian (windblown) geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, environmental fluid dynamics, sand dune ecosystems and restoration, beach-dune morphodynamics, Holocene coastal landscape evolution and relative sea level dynamics, and climate change impacts in sedimentary landscapes. 

Prior to joining ASU, Professor Walker was a faculty member at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. To date, he has published more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in leading venues including: Geomorphology, Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, Quaternary Science Reviews, Earth Science Reviews, Nature – Geoscience, and Elsevier’s Treatise on Geomorphology. He also enjoys teaching introductory physical geography, geomorphology and field research methods.

Professor Walker’s recent research involves projects in: coastal British Columbia, western Canada; Price Edward Island, eastern Canada; northern and central California; Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts; and the Outer Banks, North Carolina. His program involves controlled experiments and fieldwork on sand transport and flow dynamics over beaches and dunes to quantify and model beach and/or dune sediment budgets and morphodynamics and evolution. This work has applications for coastal and wind erosion monitoring, mitigation, and climate change impacts assessments; land use change and/or anthropogenic impacts; dune ecosystem restoration; parks and protected areas management. His research uses a variety of methods and technologies, including: near-field remote sensing with UAVs (unpiloted aerial vehicles), terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), and Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry; micrometeorological instruments (ultrasonic anemometry); sediment transport measurement (laser particle counters, sand traps); sedimentology and geochronology (e.g., optical luminescence and 14C dating of sediment deposits); spatial statistics and change detection; and aerial laser imaging (LiDAR) and photographic interpretation of landscape change.

Professor Walker’s research program is supported by funding and collaborations with several government agencies and research partners including: the U.S. Geological Survey, Geological Survey of Canada, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,  U.S. National Parks Service, the National Science Foundation, the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada,  Parks Canada, American Shore & Beach Protection Association (ASBPA), State of California Coastal Conservancy, Friends of the Dunes (Humboldt Coastal Nature Center) and the Hakai Institute in British Columbia, Canada. This program supports productive research internships, leading-edge interdisciplinary training and job-ready skills development for students, post-docs, and visiting researchers.


(480) 965-8313


  • Ph.D. Geography, University of Guelph, Canada 2000
  • B.Sc. Physical Geography (Honours), University of Toronto, Canada 1995

Google Scholar

Research Interests

aeolian geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, sediment transport, environmental fluid dynamics, sand dune ecosystems and restoration, beach-dune morphodynamics, Holocene landscape evolution, relative sea level dynamics, climate change impacts in sedimentary landscapes


Peer-reviewed journal articles & book chapters:

  • 2017   Eamer, JBR, Shugar, D, Walker, IJ, Lian, O, Neudorf, C. Distinguising depositional setting for sandy deposits in coastal landscapes using grain shape. Journal of Sedimentary Research 87: 1-11. (http://dx.doi.org/10.2110/jsr.2016.92)
  • 2016    Hesp, PA, Smyth, TAG, Walker, IJ, Gares, PA, Wasklewisz. Flow within a trough blowout at Cape Cod.  Journal of Coastal Research, SI75: 288-292.
  • 2016    Elko, N, Brodie, K, Stockdon, H, Nordstrom, K, Houser, C, McKenna, K, Moore, L, Rosati, J, Ruggiero, P, Thuman, R, Walker, IJ. Dune management challenges on developed coasts.  Shore & Beach, 84(1), Winter 2016: 1-14. Invited
  • 2016    Darke, IB, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA. Beach-dune sediment budgets and dune morphodynamics following coastal dune restoration, Wickaninnish Dunes, Canada.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, 41(10): 1370-1385. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3910)
  • 2015    Barnard P, Short A, Harley M, Splinter K, Vitousek S, Turner I, Allan J, Banno M, Bryan K, Doria A, Hansen J, Kato S, Kuriyama Y, Randall-Goodwin E, Ruggiero P, Walker IJ, Heathfield D. Coastal vulnerability across the Pacific dominated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Nature Geoscience 8: 801–807. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NGEO2539).
  • 2015    Heathfield, DK, Walker, IJ. Evolution of a foredune and backshore river complex on a high-energy, drift-aligned beach.  Geomorphology 248: 440-451. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.08.006)
  • 2015    Neudorf, CM, Lian, OB, Walker, IJ, Shugar, DH, Eamer, JB, Griffin, LC. Toward a luminescence chronology for coastal dune and beach deposits on Calvert Island, British Columbia central coast, Canada. Quaternary Geochronology 30: 275-281. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quageo.2014.12.004).
  • 2015    Bauer, BO, Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ, Davidson-Arnott, RGD. Sediment transport (dis)continuity across a beach-dune profile during an offshore wind event. Geomorphology 245: 135-148 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.05.004)
  • 2015    Abhar, KA, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Gares, P. Spatial-Temporal Evolution of Blowout Dunes at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, USA. Geomorphology 236: 148–162 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.02.015).
  • 2015    Hesp, PA, Smyth, TA, Nielsen, P, Walker, IJ, Bauer, BO. Flow deflection over a foredune. Geomorphology 230: 64-74 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.11.005).
  • 2014    Shugar, DH, Walker, IJ, Lian, OB, Eamer, JBR, Neudorf, C, McLaren, D, Fedje, D. Post-glacial sea-level change along the Pacific coast of North America.  Quaternary Science Reviews 97: 170-192 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.022)
  • 2014    McLaren, D, Fedje, D, Hay, M, Mackie, Q, Walker, IJ, Shugar, DH, Eamer, JBR, Lian, OB, Neudorf, C. A post-glacial sea level hinge on the central Pacific coast of Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews 97: 148–169 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.023)
  • 2013    Walker, IJ, Eamer, JBR, Darke, IB. Assessing significant geomorphic changes and effectiveness of dynamic restoration in a coastal dune ecosystem. Geomorphology 199: 192-204 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.04.023). Invited - 2013 Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium on Coastal Restoration.
  • 2013    Walker, IJ, Shugar, D. Secondary flow deflection in the lee of transverse dunes with implications for dune morphodynamics and migration. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(14): 1642-1654 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3398)
  • 2013    Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Baas, ACW, Jackson, DWT, McKenna Neuman, C, Wiggs, GFS, Hesp, PA. Critical Reflections on the Coherent Flow Structures Paradigm in Aeolian Geomorphology.  Ch. 8 in: Venditti, J, Best, JL, Church, M, Hardy, RJ (eds), Coherent Flow Structures at Earth’s Surface. pp. 111-134. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-119-96277-9. Invited
  • 2013    Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA. Fundamentals of Aeolian Sediment Transport: Airflow Over Dunes. Ch. 11.7.  In: Lancaster, N, Sherman, DJ, Baas, ACW (eds.), Vol. 11: Aeolian Geomorphology.  pp 109-133. In: Shroder, JF (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology. Elsevier: Oxford. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374739-6.00300-6). Invited
  • 2013    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. Fundamentals of Aeolian Sediment Transport: Coastal dunes. Ch. 11.17. In: Lancaster, N, Sherman, DJ, Baas, ACW (eds.), Vol. 11: Aeolian Geomorphology. pp 328-355. In: Shroder, JF (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology. Elsevier: Oxford. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374739-6.00310-9). Invited
  • 2013    Eamer, JBR, Walker, IJ. Quantifying spatial and temporal trends in beach-dune volumetric changes using spatial statistics. Geomorphology 191: 94-108 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.03.005)
  • 2013    Eamer, JBR, Darke, IB, Walker, IJ. Geomorphic and sediment volume responses of a coastal dune complex following invasive vegetation removal. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(10): 1148-1159 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3403)
  • 2013    Chapman, C, Walker, IJ, Bauer, BO, Hesp, P, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Ollerhead, J. Reynolds stress and sand transport over a vegetated foredune. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(14): 1735-1747 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3428)
  • 2013    Darke, IB, Eamer, JBR, Beaugrand, HER, Walker, IJ. Monitoring considerations for a dynamic dune restoration project: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia, Canada. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(9): 983-993 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3380)
  • 2013    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ, Chapman, C, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO. Aeolian dynamics over a foredune, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(13): 1566-1575 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3444)
  • 2013    Heathfield, DK, Walker, IJ, Atkinson, D. Erosive water level regime and climate variability forcing on southwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(7): 751-762 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3350)
  • 2013    Ollerhead, J, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Walker, IJ, Mathew, S. Annual to Decadal Morphodynamics of the Beach-Foredune System at Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 38(3): 284-298 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3327)
  • 2012    Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J, Chapman, C. High-frequency sediment transport responses on a vegetated foredune. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 37(11): 1227-1241 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3275)
  • 2012    Delgado-Fernandez, I, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Ollerhead, J, Rhew, H. Assessing aeolian beach-surface dynamics using a remote sensing approach. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 37(15): 1651–1660 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3301)
  • 2012    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. Three-dimensional aeolian dynamics within a bowl blowout during offshore winds: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Aeolian Research 3(4): 389–399 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2011.09.002)
  • 2012    Chapman, C, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Bauer, BO, Davidson-Arnott, RGD. Turbulent Reynolds stress and quadrant event activity in wind flow over a foredune. Geomorphology 151-152: 1-12 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2011.11.015)
  • 2012    Bauer, BO, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J. Wind direction and complex sediment transport response across a beach-dune system. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 37(15): 1661-1677 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.3306)
  • 2012    Martínez, ML, Feagin, RA, Yeager, KM, Day, J, Costanza, R, Harris, JA, Hobbs, RJ, López-Portillo, J, Walker, IJ, Higgs, E, Moreno-Casasola, P, Sheinbaum, J, Yáñez-Arancibia, A. Artificial modifications of the coast in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: quick solutions or long-term liabilities? Frontiers in Ecology & Environment 10: 44-49. (www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/100151)
  • 2011    Heathfield, DK, Walker, IJ. Analysis of coastal dune dynamics, shoreline position, and large woody debris at Wickaninnish Bay, Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 48(7): 1185-1198 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/e11-043)
  • 2010    Walker, IJ. Changing views in Canadian geomorphology: are we seeing the landscape for the processes? The Canadian Geographer, 54(3): 261-276. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-0064.2010.00307.x). Invited - Early Career Scholars series.
  • 2010    Eamer, JBR, Walker, IJ. Quantifying sand storage capacity of large woody debris on beaches using LiDAR. Geomorphology 118: 33-47. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.12.006)
  • 2009    Walker, IJ, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Hesp, PA, Bauer, BO, Ollerhead, J. Mean flow and turbulence responses in airflow over foredunes: new insights from recent research. J. Coastal Research SI56: 366-370. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/25737599)
  • 2009    Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Namikas, SL, Ollerhead, J. Responses of three-dimensional flow to variations in the angle of incident wind and profile form of dunes: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Geomorphology 105(1-2):127-138. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.12.019)
  • 2009    Bauer, BO, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Hesp, PA, Namikas, SL, Ollerhead, J, Walker, IJ. Aeolian sediment transport conditions on a beach: Surface moisture, wind fetch, and mean transport rates. Geomorphology 105: 106-116. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.02.016)
  • 2009    Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ, Namikas, SL, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Ollerhead, J (2009). Storm wind flow over a foredune, Prince Edward Island, Canada. J. Coastal Research SI56: 312-316. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/25737588)
  • 2009    Hugenholtz, CH, Wolfe, SA, Walker, IJ, Moorman, BJ. Spatial and temporal patterns of sediment transport within a parabolic dune, Bigstick Sand Hills, Saskatchewan, Canada. Geomorphology 105: 158-170.  (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.12.017)
  • 2009    Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Bauer, BO, Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Ollerhead, J, Delgado-Fernandez, I. Instantaneous and mean aeolian sediment transport rate on beaches: an intercomparison of measurements from two sensor types. J. Coastal Research SI56: 297-301. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/25737585)
  • 2008    Abyswirigunawarbena, DS, Walker, IJ. Sea level responses to climate variability and change in northern British Columbia. Atmosphere-Ocean 46(3): 277-296. (http://dx.doi.org/10.3137/ao.460301)
  • 2008    Wolfe, SA, Walker, IJ, Huntley, DJ.  Holocene Coastal Reconstruction, Naikoon Peninsula, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia.  Geological Survey of Canada, Current Research: 2008. (http://dx.doi.org/10.4095/225498)
  • 2007    Davidson-Arnott, RG, Yang, Y, Ollerhead, J, Hesp, PA, Walker, IJ. The effects of surface moisture on aeolian sediment transport threshold and mass flux on a beach. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 33(1): 55-74. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.1527)
  • 2007    Walker, IJ, Sydneysmith, R. Ch. 8: British Columbia. In: Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F., Bush, E. and Lacroix, J. (editors). From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate. Government of Canada, Ottawa. 56 p. Invited
  • 2006    Anderson, JL, Walker, IJ. Airflow and sand transport variations within a backshore-parabolic dune plain complex: NE Graham Island, British Columbia, Canada. Geomorphology 77: 17-34. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2005.12.008)
  • 2006    Walker, IJ, Hesp, PA, Davidson-Arnott, RGD, Ollerhead, J. Topographic steering of alongshore airflow over a vegetated foredune: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. J. Coastal Research 22(5): 1278-1291. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/4300394)
  • 2006    Walker, IJ, Barrie, JV. Geomorphology and sea-level rise on one of Canada's most 'sensitive' coasts: Northeast Graham Island, British Columbia. J. Coastal Research, SI 39: 220-226. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/25741565)
  • 2006    Dolan, AH, Walker, IJ. Understanding vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change related risks. J. Coastal Research, SI 39:1316-1323. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/25742967)
  • 2005    Walker, IJ. Physical and logistical considerations of using ultrasonic anemometry in aeolian sediment transport research. Geomorphology 68(1-2): 57-76. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2004.09.031)
  • 2005    Pearce, KI, Walker, IJ. Frequency and magnitude biases in the 'Fryberger' model with implications for characterizing geomorphically effective winds. Geomorphology 68(1-2): 39-55. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2004.09.030)
  • 2005    Walker, IJ, Roy, AG. Fluid flow & sediment transport processes in geomorphology: innovations, insights & advances in measurement. Preface to the Special Issue. Geomorphology 68(1-2): 1-2. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2004.09.029)
  • 2005    Hesp, P, Davidson-Arnott, RG, Walker, IJ, Ollerhead, J. Flow dynamics over a foredune at Prince Edward Island, Canada. Geomorphology 65: 71-84. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2004.08.001)
  • 2004    Parsons, DR, Walker, IJ, Wiggs, GFS. Numerical modelling of flow structures over idealised transverse aeolian dunes of varying geometry. Geomorphology 59: 149-164. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2003.09.012)
  • 2004    Parsons, DR, Wiggs, GFS, Walker, IJ, Ferguson, RI, Garvey, BG. Numerical modelling of airflow over an idealised transverse dune. Environmental Modelling & Software, 19: 153-162.  (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1364-8152(03)00117-8)
  • 2003    Walker, IJ, Nickling, WG. Simulation and measurement of surface shear stress over isolated and closely spaced transverse dunes. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, 28: 1111-1124.  (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.520)
  • 2002    Walker, IJ, Nickling, WG. Dynamics of secondary airflow and sediment transport over and in the lee of transverse dunes. Progress in Physical Geography, 26(1): 47-75. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/0309133302pp325ra)


Fall 2018
Course Number Course Title
GPH 492 Honors Directed Study
SES 494 Special Topics
SES 598 Special Topics
Summer 2018
Course Number Course Title
SES 692 Research
SES 792 Research
SES 799 Dissertation
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
GPH 111 Intro to Physical Geography
GCU 585 Geog Resrch Dsgn & Propsal Wtg
GPH 599 Thesis
SES 692 Research
GPH 692 Research
PUP 724 Planning Methods
SES 792 Research
SES 799 Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
GPH 599 Thesis
Summer 2017
Course Number Course Title
SES 692 Research
SES 792 Research
SES 799 Dissertation
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
GPH 111 Intro to Physical Geography
SES 494 Special Topics
AST 592 Research
GLG 592 Research
SES 598 Special Topics
GPH 598 Special Topics
GLG 599 Thesis
AST 692 Research
SES 692 Research
GLG 692 Research
SES 792 Research
GLG 792 Research
AST 792 Research
SES 799 Dissertation
AST 799 Dissertation
GLG 799 Dissertation