Stu Hamilton



Professor and Chair

Department of Coastal Studies



Stuart Hamilton was born and raised in Crosby, England. He attended Canterbury University in England, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the University of Southern Mississippi. He is now the Chair of Coastal Studies at ECU as well as a professor in the department. He is based part-time at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and part-time at the ECU campus in Greenville, NC. Hamilton is a remote sensor and geographic information systems specialist interested in nearshore environments, particularly mangrove forest change and other estuarine processes. Much of his research is conducted at his three sites in Jinja, Uganda, Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador, and Barreirinhas in Brazil.



2012: Ph.D. in Geography (GIS), University of Southern Mississippi

2003: M.S. in Geography (GIS), State University of New York at Buffalo

1996: B.S. in Geography and Applied Social Science, Canterbury University


Research Interests

Much of my research is based on quantifying changes in the nearshore environment, primarily mangrove deforestation, but also hurricane impacts on the natural environment. My foci are the role of mangrove deforestation in depleting fisheries, increasing erosion, driving livelihood losses and decreases in food security, and enhancing global climate change. My investigation into mangrove losses in Ecuador drove much of my career driving my research and teaching agenda. Since 2016 I have been transitioning to an African focus with a specialty in and around Lake Victoria, examining environmental issues relating to the Great Lakes of East Africa.


Selected Publications


Hamilton, S.E. (2020) Mangroves and Aquaculture: A Fifty-Year Remote Sensing Analysis of Ecuador’s Estuarine Environments. Coastal Research Library (COASTALRL) Vol 33, Springer Nature. ISBN 303022239X & 9783030222390, (pp. 1-195)

Hamilton, S.E, Castellanos, G., Millones, M., Chen, M. (3/2018). Remote Sensing of Mangrove Forests: Current Techniques and Existing Databases. In Makowski, C., & Finkl, C. W. (Eds.), Threats to Mangrove Forests: Hazard, Vulnerability, and Management., Coastal Research Library (COASTALRL) Vol 25, ISBN 978-3-319-73016-5, Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, Book Chapter. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-73016-5_22 (Chapter 22, pp. 497-520).


Hochard, J.P., Barbier E., & Hamilton S. E. (2021). Mangroves and Coastal Topography Create Economic “Safe Havens” from Tropical Storms. Nature Scientific Reports.

Hamilton, S. E., Gallo, S. M., Krach, N., Nyamweya, C. S., Okechi, J. K., Aura, C., … & Kaufman, L. (2020). The use of unmanned aircraft systems and high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor tilapia fish-cage aquaculture expansion in Lake Victoria, Kenya. Bulletin of Marine Science 96(1), 71-93

Barbier E., Hochard, J.P., & Hamilton S. E. (2019). Mangroves Shelter Coastal Economic Activity from Cyclones. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 16(25), 12232-12237.

Friess D.A., Rogers K., Lovelock C., & Hamilton S. E. et al. (2019). Mangrove deforestation in the 20th Century. The past, present and future state of the world’s mangrove forests. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 44, 89-115.

Lee, S.Y., Hamilton, S.E., Barbier, E.B., Primavera, J., & Lewis III, R.R. (2019). Conservation of mangrove ecosystems requires sound restoration policies. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3, 870-887.

Hamilton, S.E., Talbot, J., & Flint, C. (2018). The use of open-source GIS algorithms, big geographic data, and cluster computing techniques to compile a geospatial database that can be used to evaluate upstream bathing and sanitation behaviors on downstream health outcomes in Indonesia, 2000–2008. International Journal of Health Geographics, 17(14).

Mejía-Rentería, J.C., Castellanos-Galindo, G.A., Cantera-Kintz, J.R., & Hamilton S. E. (2018). A comparison of Colombian Pacific mangrove extent estimations: Implications for the conservation of a unique Neotropical tidal forest. Estuarine, Coast and Shelf Science, 212(15), 233-240. IF 3.02.

Garg, T., Hamilton, S.E., Hochard, J.P., Kresch, E.P., & Talbot, J. (2018). (Not so) gently down the stream: River pollution and health in Indonesia. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 92, 35-53. IF 2.80.

Hamilton, S.E. & Friess, D. A. (2018). Global carbon stocks and potential emissions due to mangrove deforestation from 2000 to 2012. Nature Climate Change (NCC), 8, 240-244 (2018). IF5 21.108.

Hamilton, S. E., Lovette, J., Borbor-Cordova, M. J., & Millones, M. M. (2017). The Carbon Holdings of Northern Ecuador’s Mangrove Forests. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1107(1), 54-71. IF5 5.02.

Hamilton, S. E. & Casey, D. (2016). Creation of a high spatiotemporal resolution global database of continuous mangrove forest cover for the 21st Century (CGMFC-21). Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25(6), 729-738, IF5 7.18.

Buntaine, M. T., Hamilton, S. E., & M. Millones. (2015). Titling community land to prevent deforestation: An evaluation of a best-case program in Morona-Santiago, Ecuador. Global Environmental Change, 33, 32-43, IF 9.05, (equal author contributions).

Hamilton, S. E. (2015). No evidence that shrimp aquaculture is responsible for minimal mangrove deforestation. BioScience, 65(5), 457, IF5 6.73.

Hamilton, S. E. & Lovette, J. (2015). Ecuador’s mangrove forest carbon stocks: A spatiotemporal analysis of living carbon holdings and their depletion since the advent of commercial aquaculture. PLoS One, 10(3), IF5 4.24.

Hamilton, S. E. (2013). Assessing the Role of Commercial Aquaculture in Displacing Mangrove Forest. Bulletin of Marine Science, 89(2), 585-601, IF5 1.70.

Hindsley, P., Hamilton, S. E., & Morgan, 0. A. (2012). Gulf Views: Toward a Better Understanding of Viewshed Scope in Hedonic Property Models. The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 1-17, IF 1.07.

Morgan, 0. A., & Hamilton, S. E. (2011). Disentangling Access and View Amenities in Access-restricted Coastal Residential Communities. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics (JAAE), 43(2), 157-166, IF 1.05.

Morgan, 0. A., & Hamilton, S. E. (2010). Estimating a Payment Vehicle for Financing Nourishment of Residential Beaches using a Spatial-Lag Hedonic Property Price Model. Coastal Management, 38(1), 65-75, IF5 1.29.

Hamilton, S. E., & Morgan, 0. A. (2010). Integrating Lidar, GIS and Hedonic Price Modeling to Measure Amenity Values in Urban Beach Residential Property Markets. Computers Environment and Urban Systems, 34(2), 133-141, IF5 3.03.

Houser, C., & Hamilton, S. E. (2009). Sensitivity of Post-Hurricane Beach and Dune Recovery to Event Frequency. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34(5), 613-628, IF5 2.74.

Houser, C., Hapke, C., & Hamilton, S. E. (2008). Controls on Coastal Dune Morphology, Shoreline Erosion and Barrier Island Response to Extreme Storms. Geomorphology, 100(3-4), 223-240, IF5 3.07.