Applied coastal geographers study the dynamics, physical nature, evolution and potential change of coastal areas and their rich ecosystems, the impact of humans on them, and the techniques necessary to manage the marine environment. As a result, they are employed in a wide range of applied positions dealing with the coast and ocean.
Applied geographers may work with environmental protection agencies overseeing the impact of development on the marine environment and developing procedures for minimising this impact. Their work involves monitoring water quality and human impacts in coastal systems, including tropical and temperate reefs, mangroves, wetland and marshes. Geographers also work as consultants in private industry, joining forces with environmental and engineering consultants to provide information to clients about the impact of development in the coastal zone.
In coastal zone management, geographers work for national and marine park authorities whose task it is to manage and protect some of the most valuable coastal and marine ecosystems in the world. They also work with state and local planning authorities who plan and oversee the development of the coastal zone.
Photo: A geographer surveying a section of coastline.