Dr. Jessica Pilarczyk

Assistant Professor

Research interests:

The aim of my research is to understand how coastal systems have been altered by both extreme events (storms, tsunamis) and gradual environmental changes over the Holocene.  My objective is to extend the short-term instrumental record, and through this improved understanding of impacts and processes, enhance our ability to forecast how coastal systems will respond in the future.  Many of the best reconstructions of coastal systems have been derived from sedimentary and paleontological proxies.  I use sedimentary, mollusk, and microfossil evidence to better understand the paleo-record in a variety of coastal systems (temperate, tropical, and arid environments).  My current research interests fall into, but are not limited to, four broad themes.

  • The application of microfossils in monitoring and reconstructing coastal environments
  • The role of storms and tsunamis on coastal evolution
  • Assessment of the risk of future great earthquakes along subduction zone coastlines
  • Millennial scale changes in sea level


Selected publications:

Pilarczyk, J.E., Horton, B.P., 2015.  MolluscaIn: Shennan, I., Horton, B.P., Long, A. (eds.), Sea Level Handbook.  John Wiley and Sons.   

Kelsey, H., Engelhart, S.E., Pilarczyk, J.P., Horton, B.P., Rubin, C.M., Daryono, M., Ismail, N., Hawkes, A.D., Bernhardt, C., Cahill, N., 2015.  Accommodation space, relative sea level, and the archiving of paleo-earthquakes along subduction zonesGeology 43(8), 675-678.

Sieh, K., Daly, P., McKinnon, E.E., Pilarczyk, J.E., Chiang, H.-W., Horton, B.P., Rubin, C.M., Shen, C.-C., Ismail, N., Vane, C., 2015.  Penultimate predecessors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh, Sumatra: stratigraphic, archaeological and historical evidence.  Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth 120, 308-325.

Dura, T., Cisternas, M., Horton, B.P., Ely, L.L., Wesson, R.L., Nelson, A.R., Pilarczyk, J.E., 2015.  Coastal evidence of mid-Holocene earthquakes and tsunamis in central ChileQuaternary Science Reviews 113, 93-111 

Pilarczyk, J.E., Dura, T., Horton, B.P., Engelhart, S.E., Kemp, A.C., Sawai, Y., 2014.  Microfossils in coastal environments as indicators of paleo- earthquakes, tsunamis and stormsPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 413, 144-157.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Goff, J., Mountjoy, J., Lamarche, G., Pelletier, B., Horton, B.P., 2014.  Sediment transport trends from a tropical Pacific lagoon as indicated by Homotrema rubra taphonomy: Wallis Island, PolynesiaMarine Micropaleontology 109, 21-29.

Brown, A., Reinhardt, E.G., van Hengstum, P.J., Pilarczyk, J.E., 2014.  A coastal Yucatan sinkhole records intense hurricane eventsJournal of Coastal Research 30(2), 418-428.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Horton, B.P., Witter, R.C., Vane, C.H., Goff, J., Chagué-Goff, C., 2012. Sedimentary and foraminiferal evidence of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami on the Sendai coastal plain, Japan. Sedimentary Geology 282, 78-89.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Reinhardt, E.G., 2012.  Homotrema rubrum (Lamarck) taphonomy as an overwash indicator in marine ponds on Anegada, British Virgin IslandsNatural Hazards 63 (1), 85-100.

Reinhardt, E.G., Pilarczyk, J.E., Brown, A., 2012.  Probable tsunami origin for a shell and sand sheet from marine ponds on Anegada, British Virgin IslandsNatural Hazards 63 (1), 101-117.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Reinhardt, E.G., 2012. Testing foraminiferal taphonomy as a tsunami indicator in a shallow arid system lagoon: Sur, Sultanate of OmanMarine Geology 295-298, 128-136.

Pilarczyk, J.E., Reinhardt, E.G., Boyce, J.I., Schwarcz, H.P., Donato, S.V., 2011.  Assessing surficial foraminiferal distributions as an overwash indicator in Sur Lagoon, Sultanate of OmanMarine Micropaleontology 80, 62-73.

Donato, S.V., Reinhardt, E.G., Boyce, J.I., Pilarczyk, J.E., Jupp, B.P.  2009.  Particle-size distribution of inferred tsunami deposits in Sur Lagoon, Sultanate of OmanMarine Geology 257, 54-64.