Costas, Susana

Principal invited researcher (IF-FCT) | Vice-coordinator RNII
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | tel: 289 800 100 ext.: 7898  |
Key Words: Coastal risk, coastal geomorphology, climate variability, aeolian activity, coastal barriers

Additional Info

  • Bio:

    Susana Costas graduated in Marine Sciences (specialty: Geosciences) by the University of Vigo in 2000 where she started her research career and contributed for the future management of the Atlantic Islands of Galiza National Park. She initiated her PhD in 2002 in Coastal Geosciences at the University of Vigo, Spain, where she was granted with a fellowship founded by the University. After concluding her PhD, she was awarded with a Post-doctoral Fulbright Scholarship at the International Hurricane Research Center during 2007 (Florida International University, Miami, USA) and at Boston University (Boston, USA) during 2008. Following this postdoctoral stage, she was hired as research assistant within the Ciência Programme at UGM-National Laboratory of Energy and Geology, Portugal, between 2009 and 2013. The next step gave her the change to work as post-doctoral researcher in the frame of a European Research Project (Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts-toolKIT - RISCKIT) at CIMA-University of Algarve, Portugal. In this frame, she focused on socio-economics and on the elaboration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures while working within a research team that accounts with some of the best European model developers. At present, she is working as research assistant at CIMA.

  • Interests:

    My research focuses on deciphering the evolution of the coast at different time scales, from seasonal morphodynamics to millennial scale landscape dynamics. In this framework, I have acquired experience and skills in a number of scientific techniques, including sediment textural analysis, palaeoecology, acquisition, processing and interpretation of subsurface geophysical data (Ground Penetrating Radar, GPR), integration of information in geographical systems and have had the opportunity to integrate into different research groups in Spain, the United States and Portugal. During my career as a researcher, I have always strived to create and work with interdisciplinary groups, in order to approach scientific challenges from an integrated and holistic point of view. This gave me the opportunity of working with climate and palaeoclimate modellers, palynologists and palaeoceanographers, using climate variability to explain coastal changes and adaptation.

  • Additional Information: ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4005-077X
  • Publications:



    Costas, S., 2007. Origen y evolución del conjunto playa-duna-lagoon de Cíes (Parque Nacional Marítimo-Terrestre de las Islas Atlánticas de Galicia). Naturaleza y Parques Nacionales. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Madrid, 191 pp.


    Book chapters

    Costas, S. et al., 2015. The Joint History of Tróia Peninsula and Sado Ebb-Delta. In: G. Randazzo, D.W.T. Jackson and J.A.G. Cooper (Editors), Sand and Gravel Spits. Coastal Research Library. Springer International Publishing, pp. 79-102.

    Costas S, Brito P, Fitzgerald D, Goble R. 2013. Climate-driven episodes of dune mobilization and barrier growth along the central coast of Portugal. In: Martini IP and Wanless, H. R. (eds) Sedimentary Coastal Zones from High to Low Latitudes: Similarities and Differences. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 388,

    Costas, S. and Alejo, I., 2005, Estructura interna y evolución de una barrera de arena mediante GPR, in Hernández-Calvento, L, Alonso-Bilbao, I., Mangas, J. and Yanes, A., (eds.) Tendencias actuales en Geomorfología Litoral, 31-35.

    Peer-reviewed journal articles


    Martinez, G., Armaroli, C., Costas, S., Harley, M. D., and Paolisso, M. 2018. Experiences and results from interdisciplinary collaboration: Utilizing qualitative information to formulate disaster risk reduction measures for coastal regions, Coastal Engineering, 134, 62-72.

    Plomaritis, T. A., Costas, S., and Ferreira, Ó. 2018. Use of a Bayesian Network for coastal hazards, impact and disaster risk reduction assessment at a coastal barrier (Ria Formosa, Portugal), Coastal Engineering, 134, 134-147.

    Plomaritis, T. A., Ferreira, Ó., and Costas, S. 2018. Regional assessment of storm related overwash and breaching hazards on coastal barriers, Coastal Engineering, 134, 124-133.

    Cumiskey, L., Priest, S., Valchev, N., Viavattene, C., Costas, S. and Clarke, J. 2018. A framework to include the (inter)dependencies of Disaster Risk Reduction measures in coastal risk assessment, Coastal Engineering, 134, 81-92.




    Domingues, R. B., Costas, S., Jesus, S. N., and Ferreira, Ó. 2017. Sense of place, risk perceptions and preparedness of a coastal population at risk: the case of Faro Beach, Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, 5, 163-175.

    González-Villanueva, R., Pérez-Arlucea, M., Costas, S. 2017. Lagoon water-level oscillations driven by rainfall and wave climate. Coastal Engineering, 130, 34-45.

    González-Villanueva, R., Pérez-Arlucea, M., Costas, S. 2017. Lagoon water-level oscillations driven by rainfall and wave climate. Coastal Engineering, 130, 34-45.

    Ferreira, Ó., Plomaritis, T.A., Costas, S. 2017. Process-based indicators to assess storm induced coastal hazards, Earth-Science Reviews, 173, pp. 159-167.


    Costas, S., Ferreira, Ó., Plomaritis, T.A. and Leorri, E., 2016. Coastal barrier stratigraphy for Holocene high-resolution sea-level reconstruction. Scientific Reports, 6: 38726.

    Naughton, F., Sanchez Goñi, M.F., Rodrigues, T., Salgueiro, E., Costas, S., Desprat, S., Duprat, J., Michel, E., Rossignol, L., Zaragosi, S., Voelker, A.H.L. and Abrantes, F., 2016. Climate variability across the last deglaciation in NW Iberia and its margin. Quaternary International, 414: 9-22.

    Costa, P.J.M., Costas, S., González-Villanueva, R., Oliveira, M.A., Roelvink, D., Andrade, C., Freitas, M.C., Cunha, P.P., Martins, A., Buylaert, J.P. and Murray, A., 2016. How did the AD 1755 tsunami impact on sand barriers across the southern coast of Portugal? Geomorphology, 268: 296-311.

    Costas, S., Naughton, F., Goble, R., Renssen, H., 2016. Windiness spells in SW Europe since the last glacial maximum. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 436, 82-92.


    Costas, S., Ferreira, O., Martinez, G., 2015. Why do we decide to live with risk at the coast? Ocean & Coastal Management, 118, Part A, 1-11.

    González-Villanueva, R., Pérez-Arlucea, M., Costas, S., Bao, R., Otero, X.L., Goble, R., 2015. 8000 years of environmental evolution of barrier–lagoon systems emplaced in coastal embayments (NW Iberia). The Holocene, 25, 1786-1801.

    Naughton, F., Keigwin, L., Peteet, D., Costas, S., Desprat, S., Oliveira, D., de Vernal, A., Voelker, A., Abrantes, F., 2015. A 12,000-yr pollen record off Cape Hatteras — Pollen sources and mechanisms of pollen dispersion. Marine Geology, 367, 118-129.


    Font, E., Veiga-Pires, C., Pozo, M., Nave, S., Costas, S., Ruiz Muñoz, F., Abade, M., Simões, N., Duarte, S. 2013. Benchmarks and sediment source(s) of the 1755 Lisbon tsunami deposit at Boca do Rio Estuary. Marine Geology, 343(0): 1-14.

    González-Villanueva, R., Costas, S., Pérez-Arlucea, M., Jerez, S. and R. M. Trigo. 2013. Impact of Atmospheric Circulation Patterns on Coastal Dune Dynamics, NW Spain. Geomorphology, 185, 96-109.

    Rebêlo, L., Costas, S., Brito, P., Ferraz, M., Prudêncio, M. I. and Burbidge, C., 2013. Imprints of the 1755 tsunami in the Tróia Peninsula shoreline, Portugal In: Conley, D.C., Masselink, G., Russell, P.E. and O’Hare, T.J. (eds.), Proceedings 12th International Coastal Symposium (Plymouth, England), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 65, pp. 814-819.


    Costas, S., Jerez, S., Trigo, R.M., Goble, R.,Rebêlo, L. 2012. Sand invasion along the Portuguese coast forced by westerly shifts during cold climate events. Quaternary Science Reviews, 42, 15-28.

    Costas, S. and FitzGerald, D. 2011. Sedimentary architecture of a spit-end (Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts): the imprints of sea-level rise and inlet-dynamics. Marine Geology, 284, 203-216.

    González-Villanueva, R., S. Costas, H. Duarte, M. Pérez-Arlucea and I. Alejo, 2011. Blowout evolution in a coastal dune: using GPR, aerial imagery and core records. Journal of Coastal Research, SI64, 278-282.

    R. Ramos, M. C. Freitas, C. Andrade, C. Bristow, S. Costas, C. Grangeia, H. Hermozilha, M. J. Senos Matias, 2010. Sedimentary structure of the Nazaré coastal dunes (Portugal). Proceeding XIII GPR 2010, pp. 973-978.


    Costas, S., Muñoz Sobrino, C., Alejo, I. and Pérez-Arlucea, M. 2009. Holocene evolution of a rock-bounded barrier-lagoon system, Cíes Islands, NW Iberia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34, 1575–1586.

    Costas, S. and Alejo, I. 2007. Local and global influences on the evolution of a transgressive sand barrier: Cíes Barrier, Northwest Spain. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 50, p. 1121-1125.

    R.González-Villanueva, Costas, S., Alejo, I. and Pérez-Arlucea, M. 2007. Morphological changes forced by the tidal cycle in a low energy estuarine beach. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 50, p. 1010-1014.

    Costas, S., Alejo, I., Rial, F., Lorenzo, H. and Nombela, M.A., 2006, Cyclical evolution of a modern transgressive sand barrier in nw-spain elucidated by GPR and aerial photo. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 76, p. 1077-1092.

    Costas, S., Alejo, I., and Nombela, M.A., 2006, Sand barrier behavior under man-induced inlet relocation. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 39, p. 428-432.

    Costas, S., Alejo, I., and Nombela, M.A., 2006, The role of sediment source in beach management. A case study from Cíes Islands (NW Spain). Journal of Coastal Research, SI 39, p. 1389 – 1394.

    Costas, S., Alejo, I., Vila-Concejo, A., and Nombela, M.A., 2005, Persistence of storm-induced morphology on a modal low-energy beach: A case study from NW-Iberian Peninsula. Marine Geology, 224, p. 43-56.

    Alejo, I; Costas, S. and Vila-Concejo, A. 2005. Littoral evolution as a response to human activity: the case of two sedimentary systems in a Galician Ría. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 49 (Proceedings of the 2nd Meeting in Marine Sciences), 64–69. Valencia -– Spain, ISSN 0749-0208.

    Diz, P., Frances, G., Costas, S., Souto C., and Alejo, I., 2004. Distribution of benthic foraminifera in coarse sediments, Ria de Vigo, NW Iberian margin. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, v. 34, p. 258-275.


  • Projects:


    Member of the team: Proposta técnica em resposta ao concurso público internacional para a elaboração do plano intermunicipal de: Adaptação ás alteraçoes climáticas da AMAL. 343000€. PI: Luis Dias (University of Lisbon).

    Principal Investigator: Multi-scale approach of long-term coastal adaptation to climate variability (IF/01047/2014). 50 000€. PI: Susana Costas (CIMA/UAlg, Portugal).

    Member of the team: EVREST – Evolution and resilience of barrier island systems (PTDC/MAREST/1031/2014). 157 188€, PI: Ana Matias (CIMA/UAlg, Portugal).

    Participation: Vulnerabilidad costera en el marco del cambio climático: respuesta y medidas de adaptación (ADACOSTA), 2015-2017, PI: Laura del Rio (University of Cadiz, Spain).

    Participation: Project RISC-KIT-GA-2013-603458 - Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts - toolKIT, 2013-2017, PI: Ap van Dongeren (Deltares, Netherlands).

    Principal Investigator: Reconstruction of the shoreline position along the Portuguese coast over the last 6000 years - Analysis of the architecture and stratigraphy of sand barriers (SCARPS), PI: Susana Costas, (UGM-LNEG, Portugal). 195 000 € February 2010- July 2013.

    Participation: Evolução da Península de Tróia: Morfodinâmica dos Sistemas Dunares e da

    Linha de Costa durante o final do Quaternário (EVOTROIA), 2005-2009, Luís Rebêlo (LNEG).

    Participation: High-resolution geologic mapping offshore of Massachusetts. Boston University, June 2008 to September 2008, Bradford Butman (USGS)/ Duncan FitzGerald (BU).

    Member of the team: Storm and Tides project. Florida International University, July 2007 to December 2007, Stephen Leatherman (FIU).

    Member of the team. Efectos de los cambios climáticos naturales en los complejos sedimentarios del Parque Nacional de las Islas Atlánticas de Galicia, diagnóstico de la situación actual y previsiones futuras. University of Vigo, 2007-2010, Irene Alejo (UVigo).

    Member of the team: Cuantificación e integración espacio-temporal de los factores que controlan el balance sedimentario de la costa Atlántica de Galicia: aportes, eustatismo, tectónica y clima durante el Cuaternario. Universidad de Vigo, 2005-2008, Marta Pérez Arlucea (UVigo).

    Member of team: Cuantificación e integración espacio-temporal de los factores que controlan el balance sedimentario de la costa Atlántica de Galicia: aportes, eustatismo, tectónica y clima durante el Cuaternario. Universidad de Vigo, 2003-2004, Marta Pérez Arlucea (UVigo).

    Participation: Late Holocene Shallow Marine Environments of Europe (HOLSMEER). Universidad de Vigo 2000-2003, James Scourse, Guillermo Francés (UVigo).

    Participation: Análisis comparado de la evolución y situación ambiental de los principales sistemas dunares de Canarias. Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2003-2005, Ignacio Alonso Bilbao (UPalmas Gran Canaria).