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Curt Storlazzi

Research Geologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

2002-present Research Geologist and Oceanographer

Coastal and Marine Geology Program, US Geological Survey

2002-present Research Associate

Institute for Marine Sciences,University of California at Santa Cruz

2002-2004 Research Fellow

Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans Consortium

2000-2002 Post-doctoral Researcher

Institute for Marine Sciences,University of California at Santa Cruz

2000 Ph.D. University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Earth Sciences Department, Concentrations: Coastal Geology and Oceanography

1996 B.Sc. University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Geology Department, Concentrations: Geomorphology and Sedimentology

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Storlazzi, C.D., Elias, E., Field, M.E., and Presto, M.K., 2011. “Numerical modeling of the impact of sea-level rise on fringing coral reef hydrodynamics and sediment transport Coral Reefs, DOI 10.1007/s00338-011-0723-9.


Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E., and Bothner, M.H., 2011. "The use (and misuse) of sediment traps in coral reef environments: Theory, observations, and suggested protocols" Coral Reefs, DOI 10.1007/s00338-010-0705-3.


Storlazzi, C.D., and Reid, J.A., 2010. “The influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles on wave-driven sea-floor sediment mobility along central California continental margin.” Continental Shelf Research, v. 30, p. 1582-1599.


Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E., Bothner, M.H., Presto M.K., and Draut, A.E., 2009. “Controls on sediment dynamics in a coral reef embayment: Hanalei Bay, Kauai” Marine Geology, v. 264, p. 140-151.


Peery, M.Z., Newman, S.H., Storlazzi, C.D., and Beissinger, S.R., 2009. “Meeting reproductive demands in a dynamic upwelling system: foraging strategies of a pursuit-diving seabird, the Marbled Murrelet” The Condor, v. 111(1), p. 120-134.


Draut, A.E., Bothner, M.H., Reynolds, R.L., Field, M.E., Cochran, S.A., Logan, J.B., Storlazzi, C.D., and Berg, C.J., 2009. “Supply and dispersal of seasonal flood deposits in Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i, HI, USA: Implications for coral-reef ecosystems” Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 121(3-4), p. 574-585.


Storlazzi, C.D. and Jaffe, B.E., 2008. “The relative contribution of processes driving variability in flow, shear, and turbidity over a fringing coral reef: West Maui, Hawaii” Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, v. 77(4), p. 549-564.


Piniak, G.A. and Storlazzi, C.D., 2008. “Diurnal variability in turbidity and coral fluorescence on a fringing reef flat: Southern Molokai, Hawaii” Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, v. 77(1), p. 56-64.


Wingfield, D.K. and Storlazzi, C.D., 2007. “Variability in oceanographic and meteorologic forcing along Central California and its implications on nearshore processes” Journal of Marine Systems, v. 68, p. 457-472.


Storlazzi, C.D., McManus, M.A., Logan, J.B., and McLaughlin, B.E., 2006.  “Cross-shore velocity shear, eddies, and heterogeneity in water column properties over fringing coral reefs: West Maui, Hawaii” Continental Shelf Research, v. 26, p. 401-421.


Storlazzi, C.D., Brown, E.K., and Field, M.E., 2006.  “The application of acoustic Doppler current profilers to measure the timing and patterns of coral larval dispersal” Coral Reefs, v. 25, p. 369-381.


Bothner, M.H., Reynolds, R.L., Casso, M.A., Storlazzi, C.D. and Field, M.E., 2006. “Quantity, composition and source of sediment collected in sediment traps along the fringing coral reef off Molokai, Hawaii” Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 52(9), p. 1034-1047.


Presto, M.K., Ogston, A.O., Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E., 2006.  “Temporal and spatial variability in the flow and dispersal of suspended-sediment on a fringing reef flat, Molokai, Hawaii” Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, v. 67, p. 67-81.


Storlazzi, C.D., Brown, E., Field, M.E., Rogers, K., and Jokiel, P.L., 2005.  A model for wave control on coral breakage and species distribution in the Hawaiian IslandsCoral Reefs, v. 24, p. 43-55.


Adams, P.N., Storlazzi, C.D., and Anderson, R.S., 2005.  “Nearshore wave-induced cyclical flexing of seacliffs” Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, v. 110, F02002, DOI:10.1029/2004JF000217.


McManus, M.A., Cheriton, O.M., Drake, P.J., Holliday, D.V., Storlazzi, C.D., Greenlaw, C.E.,

and Donaghay, P.L., 2005.  “Thin layers and the transport and retention of marine plankton in coastal systems” Marine Ecology Progress Series, v. 301, p. 199-215.


Drake, P., McManus, M.A., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2005.  “Local wind forcing of the Monterey Bay area inner shelf” Continental Shelf Research, v. 25, p. 397-417.


Storlazzi, C.D., Ogston, A.S., Bothner, M.H., Field, M.E., and Presto M.K., 2004.  “Wave- and tidally-driven flow and sediment flux across a fringing coral reef: South-central Molokai, Hawaii” Continental Shelf Research, v. 24(12), p. 1397-1419.


Ogston, A.S., Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E. and Presto, M.K., 2004.  “Currents and suspended sediment transport on a shallow reef flat: South-central Molokai, Hawaii” Coral Reefs, v. 23, p. 559-569.


Engels, M.S., Fletcher, C.H., Field, M.E., Storlazzi, C.D., Grossman, E.E., Rooney, J.B., Conger, C.L., and Glenn, C., 2004.  “Holocene reef accretion: southwest Molokai, Hawaii” Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 74(2), p. 255-269.


Storlazzi, C.D., Logan, J.B., and Field, M.E., 2003.  “Quantitative morphology of a fringing reef tract from high-resolution laser bathymetry: Southern Molokai, Hawaii” Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 115, no. 11, p. 1344–1355.


Storlazzi, C.D., McManus, M.A., and Figurski, J.D., 2003. “Long-term high-frequency ADCP and temperature measurements along central California: Insights into upwelling and internal waves on the inner shelf” Continental Shelf Research, v. 23, p. 901-918.


Storlazzi, C.D., and Jaffe, B.E., 2002.  “Flow and sediment suspension events on the inner shelf of central California” Marine Geology, v. 181, p. 195-213.


Storlazzi, C.D. and Field, M.E., 2000.  “Sediment distribution and transport along a rocky, embayed coast: Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Bay, California” Marine Geology, v. 170, no. 3-4, p. 289-316.


Storlazzi, C.D. and Griggs, G.B., 2000.  “The influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events on the evolution of central California’s shoreline” Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 112, no. 2, p. 236-249.


Storlazzi, C.D., Willis, C.M., and Griggs, G.B., 2000.  “Comparative impacts of the 1982-83 and 1997-98 El Niño winters on the central California coast” Journal of Coastal Research, v. 17, no. 4, p. 1022-1036.


Benumof, B.T., Storlazzi, C.D., Seymour, R.J., and Griggs, G.B., 2000.  “The relationship between incident wave energy and seacliff erosion rates: San Diego County, California” Journal of Coastal Research, v. 17, no. 4, p. 1162-1178.


Storlazzi, C.D. and Griggs, G.B., 1998.  “The 1997-98 El Niño and erosion processes along the central coast of California” Shore and Beach, v. 66, no. 3, p. 12-17.



My Science Topics

Science Topic
Oceans and Coastlinescoastal ecosystems
Oceans and Coastlinescoastal zones
Oceans and Coastlinesmarine ecosystems
Oceans and Coastlinesmarine geology
Oceans and Coastlinesmarine water quality
Oceans and Coastlinesocean characteristics
Oceans and Coastlinesocean circulation
Oceans and Coastlinesocean currents
Oceans and Coastlinesocean processes
Oceans and Coastlinesocean salinity
Oceans and Coastlinesocean temperature
Oceans and Coastlinesocean tides
Oceans and Coastlinesocean waves
Oceans and Coastlinesreef ecosystems
Oceans and Coastlinessea-floor characteristics

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

A National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program

Climate Variability & Change

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

The influence of physical processes on coral and bedrock reef habitats and ecosystems

The inner shelf comprises important hard (coral and bedrock) and unconsolidated sedimentary (sand and mud) habitat for many species of concern and commercial interest (including fish, benthic invertebrates and marine mammals). It is also these coastal environments that have been most impacted by infrastructure development, nutrient and contaminant delivery, and natural and human-induced sedimentation. The high geomorphic and hydrodynamic complexity both within and between coral and bedrock reefs, in conjunction with past technical restrictions, has limited our understanding of the nature of flow and the resulting flux of physical, chemical, and biologic material in these ecosystems. Understanding the physical controls on the timing and magnitude of flow and sediment, larvae, nutrient, and contaminant transport, along with their impact on seafloor geomorphology, stability, and sedimentation in these refugia are essential to assessing modern anthropogenic impacts (climate change, etc.) on these ecosystems.

This research utilizes in situ time-series instrumentation, water column profilers, GPS drifters, numerical modeling, and repetitive geophysical mapping to try better understand the influence of meteorologic and oceanographic forcing on hydrodynamics and the resulting water column properties and seafloor geomorphology. The goal is to clarify the connection between hydrodynamics, geologic processes, and the resulting changes in habitat and population dynamics of shallow water coral and bedrock reef biological communities.

The current study sites include Central California and the Hawaiian and Mariana Islands.

Research Interests

My interests span the coastal zone, from seacliff erosional processes to sediment dynamics in the shallow coastal ocean. My research focuses on the quantitative study of hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and geomorphology in coastal and marine environments. Specific topics of interest include:

Coral reef and rocky shoreface morphology, hydrodynamics, sediment distribution, and the resulting modes of sediment, larval, nutrient and contaimant transport

The influence of coastal hydrodynamics on nearshore rock and reef biologic communities

The influence of extreme storm events on the geomorphic evolution of rocky coasts

The interplay between geologic structure, climatic fluctuations, and coastal processes

Seacliff and shore platform erosional processes

High-resolution oceanographic instrumentation and coastal mapping techniques

Contact Information

Curt Storlazzi
2831 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-427-4748 - Fax
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