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Description automatically generatedDr. Joni Thomas Osku Backstrom


Assistant Professor

Department of Environmental Sciences

Center for Marine Science

University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
Tel: 910 962-3140; e-mail:

Background & Research Interests

Osku Backstrom is a coastal geologist and environmental marine scientist with close to 20 years of professional industry and academic expertise across Europe and the United States. Prior to joining UNCW in 2015 as faculty, he spent over five years in Europe as a Principal Marine Geologist with a focus on offshore renewable energy, marine sand & gravel and coastal environmental impact studies. He is particularly interested in beach and shoreface morphodynamics, offshore wind, coastal storms, sand resource management and using remote sensing, diving and sampling techniques to map and characterize reefs, shipwrecks and coastal/marine environments. During his free time, he enjoys surfing, camping and traveling.


Courses Taught

         Offshore Energy and Resource Management

         Marine Survey Techniques/Seafloor Mapping

         Introduction to Environmental Science

         Global Environmental Issues

         Environmental GIS

         Natural Hazards

         Environmental Geology


Ph.D. Environmental Science, Ulster University, Coleraine, Northern Ireland (2008)

M.Sc. Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington (2002)

B.Sc. Marine Geology, Florida Atlantic University (1996)



Publications (peer reviewed, book chapters, technical and government reports)

Hearty, P. and Backstrom, J.T., Surficial and shallow subsurface (-33 m) geology of the northern and central Exuma Cays, the Bahamas. Caribbean Journal of Science (accepted).

Shiflett, S., Backstrom J.T., Paynter, W., Michaud, K., Rotenburg, J. & Busch S., 2021. Dune Vegetation Characterization and Baseline Monitoring, Holden Beach, NC. A technical report for the Town of Holden Beach. 34p.

Backstrom, J.T., Shiflett, S. and Lohan, K., 2020. Inlet-induced shoreline changes along Holden Beach, NC: 2000 to 2019. A technical report for the Town of Holden Beach.

English, P.A., Mason, T.I., Backstrom, J.T., Tibbles, B.J., Mackay, A.A., Smith, M.J. and Mitchell, T. 2017. Improving Efficiencies of NEPA Documentation for Offshore Wind Facilities Case Studies Report. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Herndon. OCS Study BOEM 2017 - 026. 217pp.

Backstrom, J.T., Jackson, D.W.T., Cooper, J.A.G., and Loureiro, C., 2015. Contrasting geomorphological storm response from two adjacent shorefaces. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 40 (15). 2112-2120.

Lloyd-Jones, D., Reach, I., and Backstrom, J.T., 2014. Regional Environmental Assessment of Marine Aggregate Dredging Effects: The UK Approach. In: Environmental Management and Governance: Advances in Coastal and Marine Resources. C.W. Finkl and C. Makowski (eds.). Coastal Research Library 8, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.

Fugro EMU, SMRU and BPO, 2014. Review of environmental data associated with post consent monitoring of offshore windfarms. Report for the UK Marine Management Organization. (Lead author for Physical Environment).

Backstrom, J.T., Jackson, D.W.T., and Cooper, J.A.G., 2009. Contemporary morphodynamics of a high-energy headland-embayment shoreface. Continental Shelf Research, 29 (11-12). pp. 1361-1372.

Backstrom, J.T., Jackson, D.W.T., and Cooper, J.A.G., 2009. Shoreface morphodynamics of a high-energy, steep and geologically constrained shoreline segment in Northern Ireland. Marine Geology, 257 (1-4). pp. 94-106.

Backstrom, J.T., Jackson, D.W.T., Cooper, J.A.G., and Malvarez, G.C., 2008. Storm-driven Shoreface Morphodynamics on a Low-Wave Energy Delta: the Role of Nearshore Topography and Shoreline Orientation. Journalof Coastal Research 24 (6). pp. 1379-1387.

Backstrom, J.T., Jackson, D.W.T., and Cooper, J.A.G., 2007. Shoreface Dynamics of Two High-Energy Beaches in Northern Ireland. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 50, 594-598.