Skip to Content
Ian Walker

Ian Walker

Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Arizona State University
PO Box 875302
Tempe, AZ 85287-5302


  • Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Ian Walker is a geomorphologist and surficial geologist well known for his expertise in sediment transport and erosion, aeolian (windblown) geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, environmental fluid dynamics, sand dune ecosystems and restoration, beach-dune morphodynamics, Holocene coastal landscape evolution and relative sea level dynamics, and climate change impacts in sedimentary landscapes.

Prior to joining ASU, Professor Walker was a faculty member at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. To date, he has published more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in leading venues including: Geomorphology, Earth Surface Processes & Landforms, Quaternary Science Reviews, Earth Science Reviews, Nature – Geoscience, and Elsevier’s Treatise on Geomorphology. He also enjoys teaching introductory physical geography, geomorphology and field research methods.

Professor Walker’s recent research involves projects in: coastal British Columbia, western Canada; Price Edward Island, eastern Canada; northern and central California; Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts; and the Outer Banks, North Carolina. His program involves controlled experiments and fieldwork on sand transport and flow dynamics over beaches and dunes to quantify and model beach and/or dune sediment budgets and morphodynamics and evolution. This work has applications for coastal and wind erosion monitoring, mitigation, and climate change impacts assessments; land use change and/or anthropogenic impacts; dune ecosystem restoration; parks and protected areas management. His research uses a variety of methods and technologies, including: near-field remote sensing with UAVs (unpiloted aerial vehicles), terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), and Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry; micrometeorological instruments (ultrasonic anemometry); sediment transport measurement (laser particle counters, sand traps); sedimentology and geochronology (e.g., optical luminescence and 14C dating of sediment deposits); spatial statistics and change detection; and aerial laser imaging (LiDAR) and photographic interpretation of landscape change.

Professor Walker’s research program is supported by funding and collaborations with several government agencies and research partners including: the U.S. Geological Survey, Geological Survey of Canada, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. National Parks Service, the National Science Foundation, the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, Parks Canada, American Shore & Beach Protection Association (ASBPA), State of California Coastal Conservancy, Friends of the Dunes (Humboldt Coastal Nature Center) and the Hakai Institute in British Columbia, Canada. This program supports productive research internships, leading-edge interdisciplinary training and job-ready skills development for students, post-docs, and visiting researchers.


  • PhD, Geography, University of Guelph, 2000
  • BSc, Geography, University of Toronto, 1995

External Links

Book Chapters


Jeong, A., S. Y. Cheung, I. J. Walker and R. I. Dorn. 2018. Chapter 10 - Urban geomorphology of an arid city: Case study of Phoenix, Arizona. Pp. 177-204 In: Thornbush, M. J. and C. D. Allen eds., Urban Geomorphology: Landforms and Processes in Cities. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-811951-8.00010-2. ISBN: 978-0-12-811951-8. (link )