In_CoaST (Intertidal Coastal Sediment Transport Research Unit)

Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
What the facility does

Coastal and fluvial sediment transport, sediment analysis, historical and contemporary morphodynamics

Area(s) of Expertise

The Intertidal Coastal Sediment Transport (In_CoaST) Research Unit seeks to examine the interactions and feedbacks that occur between topography, biota, hydrodynamic and sedimentary processes and the resultant adjustment of intertidal morphology. Of particular interest is the response of intertidal environments to changes in forcing functions (e.g. wind, waves, currents, sediment, vegetation, topography, tidal energy and climate changes) and how human activities (e.g. coastal engineering, tidal power development) impact this response. The unit includes a suite of state-of-the-art, autonomous instrumentation pods that can provide simultaneous measurement and visualization of sediment transport, deposition, erosion and vegetative processes in the coastal intertidal zone, including historical analyses. It is complemented by a comprehensive sedimentological lab with a Coulter Multisizer 3 instrument.

Research Services

3D flow velocity, Sediment transport and concentration, Grain-size analysis, Organic-matter and carbon-content analysis, Coastal evolution, Low-altitude aerial photography (blimp), Coastal wetland restoration



Coulter Multisizer 3

Particle analysis, size distribution

Nortek velocimeters (3 ADVs)

3D velocity at point and depth

Nortek shallow-water acoustic Doppler probe (1 ADCP), upward facing

3D velocity water column and acoustic backscatter and depth

Nortek Vectrino ADV

3D velocity and bottom tracking, high resolution, lab only

ISCO automated suspended sediment water sampler

Timed bottle samples of water and suspended particulate matter

Muffle furnace and drying oven

Water content, organic-matter content by loss on ignition

Optical backscatterance probe (2 OBS)

Suspended-sediment concentration

RBR probe (1)

Temperature, salinity, turbidity

Campbell scientific portable meteorological station

Wind speed, direction, temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure

Low-altitude aerial-photography balloon (Plover 1)

Low-altitude (<150 metres) aerial photography

Water level loggers

In situ measures of water depth

  • CB Wetlands and Environmental Specialists (CBWES) Inc.
  • Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
  • Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Bedford Institute of Oceanography)
  • Ecology Action Centre



FORCE visitor centre (video and displays)

Money flows into tidal energy research (10/27/2011)

Fundy tide research (video)

The ecology of innovation (Springboard Atlantic; 6/25/2012)

Intertidal current and sediment transport research (NortekUSA; 6/19/2012)

Saving the seaside (Canada Foundation for Innovation; 06/03/2009)

Not all classrooms have desks (09/21/2010)

Constructing the coast (Canada Foundation for Innovation; 06/26/2010)

Energy production affects Nova Scotia’s coastal ecosystems: how? (SMArts; SMU Faculty of Arts newsletter; Fall 2010/Winter 2011)

Far-field effects of energy extraction on salt marsh hydrodynamics and depositional processes in the Minas Basin (Fundy Energy Research Network)