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CCRU logoCambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU)

Providing highest quality scientific research to underpin sustainable coastal management


Welcome to the CCRU

The Unit's brief is to:

  • Provide scientifically-informed input for the better management of shorelines and their associated ecosystems.
  • Facilitate and promote multi-diciplinary research into all aspects of shallow water marine science by bringing together natural and social scientists in Cambridge University and other governmental and non-governmental research institutions.
  • Inform coastal management and decision-making within governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations in the UK and overseas.

Research projects

Research projects

A variety of research projects on coastal topics are being undertaken by the CCRU.

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PhD projects

PhD projects

The Unit has an active group of PhD students, undertaking PhD study at the Department of Geography.

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Learning from the Great Tide

31st January, 2023


On the exact 70th anniversary of the catastrophic 1953 storm surge along the east coast of England, listen to Tom Spencer, Emeritus Professor of Coastal Dynamics, Department of Geography talk about the governmental response at the time, the challenges for the management of low-lying coasts now, and the work of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit in a BBC Radio 4 programme, Seriously... Learning from the Great Tide.

100 years of Australian Coral Reef Science; the Cambridge Connections

16th December, 2022


100 years of Australian coral reef science was celebrated at a special centenary meeting of the Australian Coral Reef Society in Brisbane, Australia, 25-27 November 2022. The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit's Tom Spencer gave the opening keynote address 'The Great Barrier Reef Committee and the making of modern coral reef science' at the Queensland Museum.

Tom showed how early Anglo-Australian collaborations led to the 1928-29 Great Barrier Reef Expedition (leader: Maurice Yonge, Zoology Cambridge; Head of Geographical Section: Alfred Steers, Geography, Cambridge). The Expedition's emphasis on the relationships between reef growth and environment, and the critical importance of their study in the field, effectively set the template for much of modern coral reef science. An accompanying Museum exhibition included the original Expedition dive helmet, used for some of the earliest studies of the variation of coral growth with water depth.

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