The research conducted by SLIF focuses mainly on areas associated with the present and inherited dynamics of coastal and fluvial systems, with special attention to the study of processes affecting sandy and rocky coasts, estuaries, river catchments water basins, alluvial plains and Gully erosion ravines.

SLIF has tested and proposed methodologies based on spatial instrumentation and analysis to assess the conditioning and triggering factors of present and interited processes. Special attention is also paid to the consequences of sea-level rise and the occurrence of extreme events on the coast, estuaries and river catchments, including alluvial plains.

Among the various R&D projects sponsored nationally and internationally the following should be pointed out:

(i) (2005-2008) CarDune – Carbonate dunes as palaeoclimatic records in the littoral of Portugal (POCTI/MAT/12345/2004; PPCDT/CTE-GEX/59643/2004);

(ii) (2007-2011) BISHOP – Bioprotection and bioerosion on shore platforms in the Algarve and Estremadura (Portugal South and West coast) (PTDC/CTE-GEX/70448/2006);

(iii) (2010-2013) FMI 5000 – Environmental changes: Fluvio-marine interactions over the last 5000yrs (PTDC/CTE-GIX/104035/2008);

(iv) (2010-2013) SECOA: Solutions for Environmental Conflicts in Coastal Areas (FP7- ENV-244251, European Commission); (2013 – )

(v) JUSCOM – Meet the judge. Justice and communities in a transitional period: 1481-1580 (PTDC/EPH-HIS/4323/2012).

A considerable part of the fundamental research conducted at SLIF is applied to coastal and fluvial catchment planning and management, with special emphasis on erosion and flooding risk zoning, the sustainable use of resources and the creation of tools to support decision making at the local, regional, and national scale. Several contracts with public and private institutions have been developed to conduct work on the above subjects.


SLIF focuses primarily on the dynamics of present and inherited coastal and fluvial systems, and on applying this knowledge to spatial planning and management. Main focus:

(i) Analysis of coastal and fluvial processes

Study of marine and wind processes related to the present dynamics of beaches, dunes, cliffs and mixed systems.

Study of present and inherited fluvial processes in water basins and alluvial plains (Holocene evolution, river flow variability, erosion processes, assessment and sustainable planning of natural resources).

(ii) Sea-level elevation and environmental changes

Assessment of Holocene and present environmental changes in fluvio-marine interface areas and resilience of present systems, including related geomorphological and sedimentary processes.

(iii) Extreme marine and fluvial events

Assessment of the impact of extreme events in SLF, including the study of extreme marine and fluvial hydrological events, based on instrumental records, indicators and spatial modelling to predict and evaluate susceptibility, hazard, exposure and vulnerability.

(iv) Spatial planning and development in coastal and fluvial environments

Applying fundamental knowledge of coastal and fluvial dynamics to spatial planning and management, including the development of tools to support decision making and the implementation of partnerships with public and private institutions.


Research Team



    Research Collaborators

      Associate Researchers