Professor Iris Moeller

Professor Iris Moeller

Professor of Geography 1966/Head of Dept, Geography

3531896 2661


Prof Möller is a coastal geomorphologist who researches how physical and biological processes interact at the coast, particularly in the intertidal zone (the area between tidal high and low water). She uses these insights to work with others within and beyond the discipline of Geography to develop integrative solutions for a coastal environment in which people are protected from flooding and erosion whilst also taking advantage of the many benefits healthy ecosystems and dynamic coastal landforms, particularly coastal wetlands, have for humans. The monitoring and understanding of long-term coastal morphodynamics (the link between coastal landforms and the processes shaping them) forms a key component of her work, as does how we use these insights to adapt to a changed environmental future through climate change, sea-level rise, and altered storm frequency/severity. The coast is home to a vast array of different land forms that can rapidly change in response to external drivers, such as sea level rise, altered sediment fluxes, altered atmospheric composition, and human land use. Given the complexity of the coastal system, field observations are crucial in allowing theories to be verified and tested. Similarly, the ability to control conditions in the laboratory context or in numerical models is important in allowing theory to be developed. In recent years, Prof Möller has worked closely with specialists in deploying remote sensing methods via remotely controlled airborne vehicles (UAVs) and satellite (e.g. the Copernicus suite of Sentinels). Such methods allow the capture of frequent images of a rapidly changing environment without the logistical difficulties of working in treacherous terrain. Using all of these methods, Prof. Möller and her team and collaborators have led and contributed to a range of projects funded by national and international governmental funding agencies, including the European Union FP7 and Horizon 2020 Programmes, as well as the private sector and non-government organisations.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

  • Pollard J.A., Spencer, T., Brooks, S.M., Christie, E.K., and Möller, I, Understanding spatio-temporal barrier dynamics through the use of multiple shoreline proxies, Geomrphology, 2020Journal Article, 2020, DOI , URL
  • Joshua Kiesel, Mark Schuerch, Iris Möller, Tom Spencer, Athanasios Vafeidis, Attenuation of high water levels over restored saltmarshes can be limited. Insights from Freiston Shore, Lincolnshire, UK, Ecological Engineering, 136, 2019, p89--100Journal Article, 2019
  • P. W. J. M. Willemsen, B. W. Borsje, S. J. M. H. Hulscher, D. Van der Wal, Z. Zhu, B. Oteman, B. Evans, I. Möller, T. J. Bouma, Quantifying Bed Level Change at the Transition of Tidal Flat and Salt Marsh: Can We Understand the Lateral Location of the Marsh Edge?, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 2018Journal Article, 2018
  • Spencer T, Möller I, Rupprecht F, Bouma TJ, van Wesenbeeck BK, Kudella M, Paul M, Jensen K, Wolters G, Miranda-Lange M, Schimmels S, Salt marsh surface survives true-to-scale simulated storm surges, EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS, 2016Journal Article, 2016
  • Sue M. Brooks, Tom Spencer, Anna McIvor, Iris Möller, Reconstructing and understanding the impacts of storms and surges, southern North Sea, Earth Surf. Process. Landforms, 41, (6), 2016, p855--864Journal Article, 2016
  • Reef, R, Spencer, T, Mӧller, I, Lovelock, CE, Christie, EK, McIvor, AL, Evans, BR, and Tempest, JA, The effects of elevated CO 2 and eutrophication on surface elevation gain in a European saltmarsh, Global Change Biology, 2016Journal Article, 2016
  • Reef, R., Spencer, T., Möller, I., Lovelock, C.E., Christie, E.K., Mcivor, A.L., Evans, B.R., Tempest, J.A., The effects of elevated CO2 and eutrophication on surface elevation gain in a European salt marsh, Global Change Biology, 2016Journal Article, 2016
  • James Alexander Tempest, Iris Möller, Tom Spencer, A review of plant-flow interactions on salt marshes: the importance of vegetation structure and plant mechanical characteristics, WIREs Water, 2, (6), 2015, p669--681Journal Article, 2015
  • F. Rupprecht, I. Möller, B. Evans, T. Spencer, K. Jensen , Biophysical properties of salt marsh canopies Quantifying plant stern flexibility and above ground biomass, COASTAL ENGINEERING, 2015Journal Article, 2015
  • Spencer, T., Brooks, S.M., Evans, B.R., Tempest, J.A., Möller, I., Southern North Sea storm surge event of 5 December 2013: Water levels, waves and coastal impacts, Earth-Science Reviews, 146, 2015, p120-145Journal Article, 2015
  • Möller, I., Kudella, M., Rupprecht, F., Spencer, T., Paul, M., van Wesenbeeck, B.K., Wolters, G., Jensen, K., Bouma, T.J., Miranda-Lange, M., Schimmels, S., Wave attenuation over coastal salt marshes under storm surge conditions, NATURE GEOSCIENCE, 2014Journal Article, 2014
  • Thomas Spencer, Susan M. Brooks, Iris Möller, Ben R. Evans, Where Local Matters: Impacts of a Major North Sea Storm Surge, Eos Trans. AGU, 95, (30), 2014, p269--270Journal Article, 2014
  • Friess, D.A., Möller, I., Spencer, T., Smith, G.M., Thomson, A.G., Hill, R.A., Coastal saltmarsh managed realignment drives rapid breach inlet and external creek evolution, Freiston Shore (UK), Geomorphology, 208, 2014, p22-33Journal Article, 2014
  • Doswald, N., Munroe, R., Roe, D., Giuliani, A., Castelli, I., Stephens, J., Möller, I., Spencer, T., Vira, B., Reid, H., Effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation: review of the evidence-base, Climate and Development, 6, (2), 2014, p185-201Journal Article, 2014
  • Spencer, T., Brooks, S.M., Möller, I., Floods: Storm-surge impact depends on setting, Nature, 505, (7481), 2014Journal Article, 2014
  • McIvor, A., Spencer, T., Spalding, M., Lacambra, C., Möller, I., Mangroves, Tropical Cyclones, and Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction, Coastal and Marine Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, 2014, p403-429Journal Article, 2014
  • Sutherland, W.J., Gardner, T., Bogich, T.L., Bradbury, R.B., Clothier, B., Jonsson, M., Kapos, V., Lane, S.N., Möller, I., Schroeder, M., Spalding, M., Spencer, T., White, P.C.L., Dicks, L.V., Solution scanning as a key policy tool: Identifying management interventions to help maintain and enhance regulating ecosystem services, Ecology and Society, 19, (2), 2014Journal Article, 2014
  • Mark D. Spalding, Anna L. McIvor, Michael W. Beck, Evamaria W. Koch, Iris Möller, Denise J. Reed, Pamela Rubinoff, Thomas Spencer, Trevor J. Tolhurst, Ty V. Wamsley, Bregje K. van Wesenbeeck, Eric Wolanski, Colin D. Woodroffe, Coastal Ecosystems: A Critical Element of Risk Reduction, Conservation Letters, 7, (3), 2013, p293--301Journal Article, 2013
  • Spencer, T., Möller, I., Mangrove Systems, Treatise on Geomorphology, 10, 2013, p360-391Journal Article, 2013
  • Friess, D.A., Spencer, T., Smith, G.M., Möller, I., Brooks, S.M., Thomson, A.G., Remote sensing of geomorphological and ecological change in response to saltmarsh managed realignment, The Wash, UK, International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 18, (1), 2012, p57-68Journal Article, 2012
  • Munroe, R., Roe, D., Doswald, N., Spencer, T., Möller, I., Vira, B., Reid, H., Kontoleon, A., Giuliani, A., Castelli, I., Stephens, J., Review of the evidence base for ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation to climate change, Environmental Evidence, 1, (1), 2012Journal Article, 2012
  • Spencer, T., Friess, D.A., Möller, I., Brown, S.L., Garbutt, R.A., French, J.R., Surface elevation change in natural and re-created intertidal habitats, eastern England, UK, with particular reference to Freiston Shore, Wetlands Ecology and Management, 20, (1), 2012, p9-33Journal Article, 2012
  • Feagin, RA, Irish, J.L., Möller, I, Williams, A.M.,Colon-Rivera,R.J., and Mousavi, M.E., Short communication: Engineering properties of wetland plants with application to wave attenuation, Coastal Engineering, 2011Journal Article, 2011
  • Möller, I., Mantilla-Contreras, J., Spencer, T., Hayes, A., Micro-tidal coastal reed beds: Hydro-morphological insights and observations on wave transformation from the southern Baltic Sea, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 92, (3), 2011, p424-436Journal Article, 2011
  • Turner, R., Möller, I., Spencer, T., Field observations and numerical modelling of wave energy dissipation over a North-West European saltmarsh, Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters: Adapting to Change - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference, 2, 2010, p725-728Journal Article, 2010
  • Feagin, RA, Lozada-Bernard, SM, Ravens, TM, Möller, I, Yeager, KM, Baird, AH., Does vegetation prevent wave erosion of salt marsh edges?, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 2009Journal Article, 2009
  • Möller, I., Lendzion, J., Spencer, T., Hayes, A., Zerbe, S., The sea-defence function of micro-tidal temperate coastal wetlands, WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 126, 2009, p51-62Journal Article, 2009
  • Kroon, A., Larson, M., Möller, I., Yokoki, H., Rozynski, G., Cox, J., Larroude, P., Statistical analysis of coastal morphological data sets over seasonal to decadal time scales, Coastal Engineering, 55, (7-8), 2008, p581-600Journal Article, 2008
  • Brown, J.D., Spencer, T., Möller, I., Modeling storm surge flooding of an urban area with particular reference to modeling uncertainties: A case study of Canvey Island, United Kingdom, Water Resources Research, 2007Journal Article, 2007
  • I. Möller, Quantifying saltmarsh vegetation and its effect on wave height dissipation: Results from a UK East coast saltmarsh, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 69, (3-4), 2006, p337--351Journal Article, 2006
  • MINEKE WOLTERS, JAN P. BAKKER, MARK D. BERTNESS, ROBERT L. JEFFERIES, IRIS MÖLLER, Saltmarsh erosion and restoration in south-east England: squeezing the evidence requires realignment, Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, (5), 2005, p844--851Journal Article, 2005
  • Möller, I., The sea-defence role of intertidal habitats, Working Paper - Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, (1), 2004, p72-85Journal Article, 2004
  • Smith, G.M., Thomson, A.G., Möller, I., Kromkamp, J.C., Using hyperspectral imaging for the assessment of mudflat surface stability, Journal of Coastal Research, 20, (4), 2004, p1165-1175Journal Article, 2004
  • Iris Möller, Tom Spencer, Jane Rawson, SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY OF WAVE ATTENUATION OVER A UK SALTMARSH, Coastal Engineering 2002, 2003Journal Article, 2003
  • Smith, G., Thomson, A., Möller, I., Kromkamp, J., Potential of hyperspectral imaging to assess the stability of mudflat surfaces by mapping sediment characteristics, Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 4886, 2002, p330-341Journal Article, 2002
  • Thomalla, F., Brown, J., Kelman, I., Möller, I., Spence, R., Spencer, T., Towards an integrated approach for coastal flood impact assessment, Solutions to Coastal Disasters 2002, 2002, p142-158Journal Article, 2002
  • Schans, H., Möller, I., Spencer, T., Large-scale classification of the east anglian coastline, UK, Coastal Dynamics 2001, 2001, p683-692Journal Article, 2001
  • Möller, I., Spencer, T., French, J.R., Leggett, D.J., Dixon, M., The sea-defence value of salt marshes - a review in the light of field evidence from North Norfolk, Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, 15, 2001, p109 - 116Journal Article, 2001
  • Möller, I., Spencer, T., French, J.R., Leggett, D.J., Dixon, M., The Sea-Defence Value of Salt Marshes: Field Evidence from North Norfolk, Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, 15, (2), 2001, p109-116Journal Article, 2001
  • Southgate, H.N., Möller, I., Fractal properties of coastal profile evolution at Duck, North Carolina, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 105, (C5), 2000, p11489-11507Journal Article, 2000
  • Cahoon, D.R., French, J.R., Spencer, T., Reed, D., Möller, I., Vertical accretion versus elevational adjustment in UK saltmarshes: An evaluation of alternative methodologies, Geological Society Special Publication, 175, 2000, p223-238Journal Article, 2000
  • Smith, G.M., Spencer, T., Möller, I., Visualization of coastal dynamics: Scolt Head Island, North Norfolk, England, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 50, (1), 2000, p137-142Journal Article, 2000
  • Möller, I., Spencer, T., French, J.R., Leggett, D.J., Dixon, M., Wave transformation over salt marshes: A field and numerical modelling study from north Norfolk, England, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 49, (3), 1999, p411-426Journal Article, 1999
  • Moeller, I., Spencer, T., and French, J.R., Wind Wave Attenuation over Saltmarsh Surfaces : Preliminary Results from Norfolk , England, Journal of Coastal Research, 1996Journal Article, 1996
  • Smith, G.M., Thomson, A.G., Möller, I. & Kromkamp, J.C., Hyperspectral imaging for mapping sediment characteristics. , Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association Bulletin, 45, (14), 2004Journal Article, 2004
  • Rendón, Olivia R., Garbutt, Angus, Skov, Martin, Möller, Iris, Alexander, Meghan, Ballinger, Rhoda, Wyles, Kayleigh, Smith, Greg, McKinley, Emma, Griffin, John, Thomas, Merryn, Davidson, Kate, Pagès, Jordi F., Read, Simon, Beaumont, Nicola, A framework linking ecosystem services and human well"being: Saltmarsh as a case study, People and Nature, 1, (4), 2019, p486-496Journal Article, 2019, DOI
  • Joshua Kiesel, Mark Schuerch, Elizabeth K. Christie, Iris Möller, Tom Spencer, Athanasios Vafeidis, Breach the dikes! How to design saltmarsh restoration schemes for mitigating coastal flooding., 2020Journal Article, 2020
  • Clementine Chirol, Helen Brooks, Simon Carr, Elizabeth Christie, Ben Evans, Jason Lynch, Iris Möller, Kate Royse, Kate Spencer, Tom Spencer, Effect of belowground structure on coastal wetland erosion resistance using X-Ray Computed Tomography, 2020Journal Article, 2020
  • Olivia Shears, Iris Möller, Tom Spencer, Katherine Royse, Ben Evans, Erodibility of vertically exposed salt marsh sediments, 2020Journal Article, 2020
  • Ben Evans, Helen Brooks, Simon Carr, Clementine Chirol, Elizabeth Christie, Matthew Kirkham, Iris Moeller, Katherine Royse, Olivia Shears, Kate Spencer, Thomas Spencer, Species-dependent variation in geotechnical properties and erodibility of salt marsh sediments, 2020Journal Article, 2020
  • Helen Brooks, Iris Moeller, Tom Spencer, Kate Royse, The influence of grain size and frictional/cohesional shear strength components on UK salt marsh substrate stability, 2020Journal Article, 2020
  • Brooks H., Moller I., Carr S., Chirol C., Christie E., Evans B., Spencer K.L., Spencer T., Royse K., Resistance of salt marsh substrates to near-instantaneous hydrodynamic forcing, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2020Journal Article, 2020, DOI
  • Chen L., Zhou Z., Xu F., Moller I., Zhang C., Field Observation of Saltmarsh-Edge Morphology and Associated Vegetation Characteristics in an Open-Coast Tidal Flat, Journal of Coastal Research, 95, (sp1), 2020, p412 - 416, p412-416Journal Article, 2020, DOI
  • Tom Fairchild, William Bennett, Greg Smith, Brett Day, Martin Skov, Iris Möller, Nicola Beaumont, Harshinie Karunarathna, John Griffin, Coastal wetlands mitigate storm flooding and associated costs in estuaries, 2021Journal Article, 2021
  • Brooks, Helen, Moeller, Iris, Spencer, Tom, Royse, Katherine, Price, Simon, Kirkham, Matt, How strong are salt marshes? Geotechnical properties of coastal wetland soils, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2022Journal Article, 2022, DOI
  • Solan, Martin, Spencer, Tom, Paterson, David M., Unsworth, Christopher A., Christie, Elizabeth K., Blight, Andrew J., Brown, Jenny, Brooks, Helen, Lichtman, I. Dougal, Wei, Xiaoyan, Li, Xiaorong, Thorne, Pete, Leyland, Julian, Godbold, Jasmin A., Thompson, Charlie, Williams, Megan E., Plater, Andrew, Moller, Iris, Amoudry, Laurent O., Biological"physical interactions are fundamental to understanding and managing coastal dynamics, Royal Society Open Science, 10, (7), 2023Journal Article, 2023, DOI
  • Möller, Iris, Ionescu, Maria Smaranda, Constantinescu, Adriana Maria, Evans, Ben Richard, Scrieciu, Albert, Stanica, Adrian, Grosu, Dumitru, Bio-Physical Controls on Wave Transformation in Coastal Reed Beds: Insights From the Razelm-Sinoe Lagoon System, Romania, Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 2022Journal Article, 2022, DOI
  • Steinigeweg, Charlotte S., Löbel, Swantje, Schröder, Boris, Schoutens, Ken, Reents, Svenja, Evans, Ben R., Temmerman, Stijn, Bouma, Tjeerd J., Möller, Iris, Paul, Maike, Plant trait-mediated drag forces on seedlings of four tidal marsh pioneer species, Frontiers in Marine Science, 10, 2023Journal Article, 2023, DOI
  • Pétillon, Julien, McKinley, Emma, Alexander, Meghan, Adams, Janine B., Angelini, Christine, Balke, Thorsten, Griffin, John N., Bouma, Tjeerd, Hacker, Sally, He, Qiang, Hensel, Marc J.S., Ibáñez, Carles, Macreadie, Peter I., Martino, Simone, Sharps, Elwyn, Ballinger, Rhoda, de Battisti, Davide, Beaumont, Nicola, Burdon, Daryl, Daleo, Pedro, D'Alpaos, Andrea, Duggan-Edwards, Mollie, Garbutt, Angus, Jenkins, Stuart, Ladd, Cai J.T., Lewis, Heather, Mariotti, Giulio, McDermott, Osgur, Mills, Rachael, Möller, Iris, Nolte, Stefanie, Pagès, Jordi F., Silliman, Brian, Zhang, Liquan, Skov, Martin W., Top ten priorities for global saltmarsh restoration, conservation and ecosystem service research, Science of The Total Environment, 898, 2023, p165544Journal Article, 2023, DOI
  • Brooks, Helen, Moeller, Iris, Spencer, Tom, Royse, Katherine, Shear strength and erosion resistance of salt marsh substrates: Which method to use?, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 292, 2023, p108452Journal Article, 2023, DOI
  • Ben R. Evans, Iris Möller, Tom Spencer, Topological and Morphological Controls on Morphodynamics of Salt Marsh Interiors, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 9, (3), 2021, p311 - 332Journal Article, URL
  • Möller, I and Spencer, T, 'Saltmarsh Restoration: An Introduction', Saltmarsh Restoration Handbook, Environment Agency, 2022, -Conservation, restoration work


  • Fellow Royal Geographical Society 2018
  • Fellow of the British Society of Geomorphology (FBSG) October 2023