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Durham University

Department of Geography

Current Postgraduate Students

Miss Zuzanna Swirad

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Geography
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801

Contact Miss Zuzanna Swirad (email at


  • 2014-present: PhD Physical Geography, Durham University
  • 2014: Research Assistant, Department of Geography, Cambridge University
  • 2013-2014: Intern, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University
  • 2011-2013: MSc Physical Geography, Wroclaw University
  • 2008-2012: BA Classics and Mediterranean Culture, Wroclaw University
  • 2008-2011: BSc Geography, Wroclaw University

Current Research

Landscape evolution modelling of post-glacial rocky coastlines

Predicted sea level rise and intensification of wave action as well as increasing human pressure on coastal zone means understanding evolution of rocky coastlines is of increasing importance. The simple extrapolation of current erosion rates is of questionable validity for predicting long-term (millennial) evolution while responses of hard-rock coasts to environmental changes are complex and difficult to evidence in the field. There is a need to understand which processes control development of coastal form, and the manner in which spatial and temporal variations in these processes contribute to the rate and direction of coastal change, resulting in the coastal morphology visible today. A question remains around the dominance of the inherent nature of the coast (lithology and structure) or adjustment to changing environmental conditions. Here, combining process-based numerical modelling with high-resolution geomorphological mapping and field monitoring of a post-glacial coast gives a unique opportunity to apportion these controls on coastal change, as the basis for considering the rates and direction of past, present and future change. I also aim to give an insight in how current process rates reflect long-term evolution trend and which is the role of Quaternary history (sea-level fluctuations and deposition of glacial till in coastal zone) in shaping current coasts.

The project is part of Coastal Behaviour and Rates of Activity (CoBRA) project of Durham University and Cleveland Potash Ltd.

Demonstrating & tutoring

  • GEOG1081 Physical Geography (2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18)
  • GEOG1232 Introduction to Geographical Research (BSc) (2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18)
  • GEOG1251 Understanding Earth’s Challenges (2014/15, 2015/16)
  • GEOG2591 Handling Spatial Data (2016/17, 2017/18)
  • GEOG3191 Sea Level Change and Coastal Evolution (2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18)
  • GEOG3261 Environmental Remote Sensing (2014/15, 2016/17)
  • GEOG3897 Martian Landscapes (2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17)
  • GEOG4018 Advanced Methods in Physical Geography (2016/17)


Courses and placements:

  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights NSW, Australia: Visiting Student - Calculation of 10Be concentrations in rock samples using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (Apr 2018)
  • Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London: Visiting Student - Rock preparation for cosmogenic isotope dating (Sept 2016 - Mar 2018)
  • University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway: Graduate Student - Permafrost and Periglacial Landforms course (Apr-May 2013)
  • Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University: ERASMUS Trainee - General use of remote sensing and image processing software (July-Sept 2012)
  • Bieszczady National Park: Trainee - Management of tourist paths (Aug 2011)
  • Institute of Geography, University of Seville, Spain: ERASMUS Student (Sept 2010 - Feb 2011)

External activities:


Conference presentations (1st author)

  • Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Vann Jones EC. 2017. Machanisms and controls of shore platform down-wearing: 9th International Conference on Geomorphology, Delhi, India (oral presentation)
  • Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Vann Jones EC. 2016. Monitoring mm-scale erosion of shore platforms using Structure-from-Motion: QRA Sea Level and Coastal Change Conference, Whitby (oral presentation)
  • Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Vann Jones EC. 2016. Reconstructing palaeo-coastline positions using 10Be concentrations: model development: QRA Sea Level and Coastal Change Conference, Whitby (poster)
  • Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Vann Jones EC. 2016. What controls the geometry of rocky coasts?: 14th International Coastal Symposium, Sydney, Australia (oral presentation)
  • Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Vann Jones EC, de Vilder SJ. 2015. Distribution of rock hardness across foreshore platforms: British Society for Geomorphology Annual Meeting, Southampton (poster)
  • Swirad ZM, Séjourné A. 2014. Ice-related landforms on Mars: 35th Polar Symposium, Wroclaw, Poland (oral presentation)
  • Swirad ZM, Migoń P, Strzelcki MC. 2014. Coastal embayments between Werenskioldbreen and Hansbreen (Hornsund, Svalbard): morphology, development and controls: 35th Polar Symposium, Wroclaw, Poland (poster)
  • Swirad ZM, Rees WG, Migoń P. 2014. A geomorphometric approach to linear geomorphic features - the coastline of NW Hornsund, Svalbard, and controlling factors: 2nd Martian Workshop, Wroclaw, Poland (oral presentation)
  • Swirad ZM, Rees WG. 2013. Application of GNU Octave tools to analyse the shape of a rocky shoreline – an example from Hornsund area (SW Spitsbergen, Svalbard): 8th International Conference on Geomorphology, Paris, France (oral presentation)

Other talks

  • 'Importance of shore platform erosion in reconstructing long-term cliff retreat rates in North Yorkshire, UK', Centre for Accelerator Science, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation: 13 Apr 2018.
  • 'Unpacking resistance: rock control in coastal evolution', 3rd Year Post-Graduate Conference, Department of Geography, Durham University: 16 Mar 2017.
  • 'Evolution of rocky coasts: monitoring erosion and long-term perspectives', Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London: 26 Sept 2016.
  • 'Controls on the geometry of foreshore platforms: a statistical study of the North Yorkshire coast', Stats4Grads, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University: 20 Jan 2016.
  • 'Rock control on high-latitude coastline geometry', Post-Graduate Summer Seminar Series, Department of Geography, Durham University: 19 Aug 2015.
  • 'Modelling the evolution of post-glacial rocky coastlines', 1st Year Post-Graduate Conference, Department of Geography, Durham University: 6 May 2015.


Journal Article