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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Geography

Faculty & Staff Directory

Jean Taylor Ellis

Associate Professor
Department of Geography
University of South Carolina

Phone Number: (803) 777-1593
Website: Beach Dune & Processes Lab
Office: Callcott, Room 229
Curriculum vitae: Download PDF
Jean Taylor Ellis


Dr. Ellis received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2006 and held a position at NASA’s Applied Science Program at Stennis Space Center prior to joining the faculty at USC in 2009. She was a 2014 Fulbright Scholar at LABOMAR - Universidade Federal do Ceara. She is an Associate Professor, jointly appointed between the Department of Geography and the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment. She is also an adjunct with the Environment and Sustainability Program and an associated faculty with the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences.


My research focuses on coastal and aeolian geomorphology and the impact of humans on the coastal environment. I approach my geomorphic research from a field and instrument intensive perspective. In the field, my lab measures characteristics of wind, waves, and sand transport, often with custom instruments. My current projects focus on small-scale aeolian sand transport (vertical and horizontal sand flux and ripple formation), dune migration, and wave transformation around breakwaters. The latter project compares field and laboratory collected data. I have had funding to use satellite data to identify areas in the coastal zone for conservation and restoration, with an emphasis on wetlands.


GEOG 104: Introduction to Physical Geography
MSCI/GEOL 215: Coastal Environments of the Southeast US (even Spring semesters)
MSCI 390: Science and Environmental Policy (odd Fall semesters)
GEOG 360: Geography of Wind
MSCI/GEOG 590: Beach and Dune Interactions (even Fall semesters)
GEOG 516: Coastal Zone Management (every Spring semester)

Representative Publications 

*Wegner, C.E. and Ellis, J.T., in press. The influence of sea-level rise on wave energy dissipation and wave-driven currents at Buck Island National Monument. Journal of Coastal Research.

Ellis, J.T. and Sherman, D.J. (Volume Editors), 2015. Coastal and Marine Hazards, Risks, and Disasters. Shroder, J.F. (Series Editor in Chief).Elsevier, Hazards and Disaster Series, 593 pp.

Pelletier, J.D., Sherman, D.J., Ellis, J.T., Farrell, E.J., Jackson, N.J., Li, B., Nordstrom, K.F., Maia, L.P., Omidyeganeh, M., 2015. Dynamics of sediment storage and release on aeolian dune slip faces: A field study in Jericoacoara, Brazil. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 120(9): 1911-1934.

Li, B., Ellis, J.T., and Sherman, D.J., 2014. Estimating the impact threshold for wind-blown sand. Journal of Coastal Research, SI70: 627-632.

Ellis, J.T., and Sherman, D.J., 2013.Fundamentals of aeolian sediment transport: Wind blown sand,In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Lancaster, N., Sherman, D.J., and Baas, A.C.W. (Eds.), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 11, Aeolian Geomorphology, pp. 85-108. (invited contribution)

*Barrineau, P. and Ellis, J.T., 2013. Sediment transport and wind flow around hummocks. Aeolian Research, 8: 19-27.

Houser, C. and Ellis, J., 2013. Morphodynamic systems: Beach and dune Interactions, In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Sherman, D.J. (Ed.), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 10, Coastal Geomorphology, pp. 267-288. (invited contribution)

Ellis, J.T., Sherman, D.J., Farrell, E.J., and Li, B., 2012. Temporal and spatial variability of aeolian sand transport: Implications for field measurements. Aeolian Research, 3: 379-387. 

* denotes students or postdocs