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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Jean Taylor Ellis

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Geography
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-1593
Office: Callcott, Room 229
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment
Department of Geography
Jean Taylor Ellis


Dr. Ellis received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2006 and held a position at NASA’s Applied Science Program at Stennis Space Center prior to joining the faculty at USC in 2009. She was a 2014 Fulbright Scholar at LABOMAR – Universidade Federal do Ceara. She is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies.


Dr. Ellis and her students focus on coastal and aeolian geomorphology and the impact of humans on the coastal environment. The WIND Lab approaches research from a field and instrument intensive perspective. In the field, we measure characteristics of wind, waves, and sand transport, often with custom instruments. Our main lab projects focus on geomorphic impacts of the beach-dune system post hurricane and small-scale aeolian sand transport (vertical and horizontal sand flux and ripple formation). We use in situ and remote sensors to identify conduct our research. Members of the lab also work with community members to bridge the gap between science and the publics.


  • GEOG 104: Introduction to Physical Geography
  • GEOG 201: Landform Geography
  • GEOG 360: Geography of Wind
  • MSCI/GEOG 590: Beach and Dune Interactions
  • GEOG 516: Coastal Zone Management

Representative Publications

*Wegner, C.E. and Ellis, J.T., 2017. The influence of sea-level rise on wave energy dissipation and wave-driven currents at Buck Island National Monument. Journal of Coastal Research, 33(1): 56-66.

Carvalho, A.M., Ellis, J.T., Lamothe, M., and Maia, L.P., 2016Using wind direction and shoreline morphology to model sand dune mobilization. Journal of Coastal Research, 32(5): 1005-1015. 

Guimarães, P.V, Pereira, P.S., Calliari, L.J. and Ellis, J.T., 2016. Behavior and identification of ephemeral sand dunes at the backshore zone using video images. Anais da Academia Brasileria de Ciências, 88(3): 1357-1369.

Ellis, J.T. and Sherman, D.J. (Volume Editors), 2015. Coastal and Marine Hazards, Risks, and Disasters. Shroder, J.F. (Series Editor in Chief).Elsevier, Hazards and Disaster Series, 593 pp.

Pelletier, J.D., Sherman, D.J., Ellis, J.T., Farrell, E.J., Jackson, N.J., Li, B., Nordstrom, K.F., Maia, L.P., Omidyeganeh, M., 2015. Dynamics of sediment storage and release on aeolian dune slip faces: A field study in Jericoacoara, Brazil. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 120(9): 1911-1934.

Li, B., Ellis, J.T., and Sherman, D.J., 2014. Estimating the impact threshold for wind-blown sand. Journal of Coastal Research, SI70: 627-632.

Ellis, J.T., and Sherman, D.J., 2013.Fundamentals of aeolian sediment transport: Wind blown sand,In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Lancaster, N., Sherman, D.J., and Baas, A.C.W. (Eds.), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 11, Aeolian Geomorphology, pp. 85-108. (invited contribution)

*Barrineau, P. and Ellis, J.T., 2013. Sediment transport and wind flow around hummocks. Aeolian Research, 8: 19-27.

Houser, C. and Ellis, J., 2013. Morphodynamic systems: Beach and dune Interactions, In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Sherman, D.J. (Ed.), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 10, Coastal Geomorphology, pp. 267-288. (invited contribution)

Ellis, J.T., Sherman, D.J., Farrell, E.J., and Li, B., 2012. Temporal and spatial variability of aeolian sand transport: Implications for field measurements. Aeolian Research, 3: 379-387. 

* denotes students or postdocs