John T. Wells

Dean and Director and Professor of Marine Science, Emeritus

Email: [[wells]]
Department: Physical Sciences
Retired: 2021
Phone: (804) 684-7270
Office: Andrews Hall 213

  • B.S., Geology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • M.S., Geological Oceanography, Old Dominion University
  • Ph.D., Marine Sciences (minor in Statistics), Louisiana State University
Research Interests

The focus of my research prior to becoming Dean and Director in 2004 was in the field of coastal Marine Geology, with emphasis on the sedimentology and morphology of clastic sedimentary environments and the physical processes that shape their evolution. Specific topics of research included: dynamics of fine-grained sediments; estuarine and deltaic sedimentation; and, beach and shelf processes. Field sites were located along the central North Carolina beaches, lower Neuse River and Pamlico Sound, the Mississippi Delta, along the west coast of Korea and northeastern South America, and in Lake Malawi in east Africa.

Selected Service
  • 2018: Invited Site Review Team Member, North Carolina Sea Grant Program Review
  • 2017-18: Invited Review Team Member, University of Georgia, Department of Marine Sciences
  • 2015: Invited Site Review Team Member, Florida Sea Grant Program Review
  • 2015: Invited Site Review Team Member, Louisiana Sea Grant Program Review
  • 2014-16: Invited Panelist and Chair, The Water Institute of the Gulf, Review of Diversion Planning and Implementation (Mississippi River)
  • 2014-15: Invited Member, Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission (Chair, Public Education Workgroup)
  • 2014: Invited Review Panelist, East Carolina University, External Review of PhD Program in Coastal Resources Management and the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy
  • 2011: Invited Review Panelist, Louisiana Board of Regents, Review of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
  • 2009: Member, Review Panelist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi River West Bay Diversion
  • 2009-19: Chair, Chesapeake Research Consortium (member since 2004)
  • 2008: Member, Review Panel, Puget Sound Nearshore Estuarine Restoration Program
  • 2006-16: Member, Board of Directors, Coastal Studies Institute (UNC System in Manteo)
Selected Publications
  • Foster, M.J., M. O’Donnell, M. Luckenbach, E. Andrews, E. Steinhilber, Wells, and M. Davis. 2018. Institutionalizing Resilience in US. Universities: Prospects, Opportunities, and Models. Marine Technology Society Journal 52:106-110.
  • Dean, R.G., J.T. Wells, H.J. Fernando, and P. Goodwin. 2014.  Sediment diversions on the Lower Mississippi River: Insight from simple analytical models.  Journal of Coastal Research 30:13-29. DOI:10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00252.
  • Park, J.Y., P.T. Gayes, and J.T. Wells. 2009. Transport and fate of nourished sands on the sediment-starved Grand Strand Beach, South Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research 25:336-349.
  • Gratiot, N., E.J. Anthony, A. Gardel, C. Gaucherel, C. Proisy, and J.T. Wells. 2008 Significant contribution of the 18.6 year tidal cycle to regional coastal changes. Nature Geoscience 1:169-172.
  • Day, J.W., D.F. Boesch, E.J. Clairain, G.P. Kemp, S.B. Laska, Wm. J. Mitsch, K. Orth, H. Mashriqui, D.R. Reed, L. Shabman, C.A. Simenstad, B.J. Streever, R.R. Twilley, C.C. Watson, J.T. Wells, and D.F. Whigham. 2007. Restoration of the Mississippi Delta: lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Science 315:1679-1684.
  • Camann, E. and J.T. Wells. 2007. Two-component methodology for detailed beach surveying with RTK-GPS. Shore and Beach 76:3-7.
  • Park, J.Y. and J.T. Wells, 2007. Spit growth and downdrift erosion: results of longshore transport modeling and morphologic analysis at the Cape Lookout cuspate foreland. Journal of Coastal Research 23:553-568.
  • McNinch, J.E., A.C. Trembanis, and J.T. Wells. 2006. Predicting the fate of artifacts in energetic shallow marine environments: an approach to site management. International Journal of Nautical Archeology 35:290-309.
  • Orth, K., J.W. Day, D.F. Boesch, E.J. Clairain, W.J. Mitch, L. Shabman, C. Simenstad, B. Streever, C. Watson, J.T. Wells, and D. Whigman. 2005. Lessons learned: an oassessment of the effectiveness of a National Technical Review Committee for oversight of the plan for restoration of the Mississippi Delta. Ecological Engineering 25:127-198.
  • Park, J.Y. and J.T. Wells, 2005.  Longshore transport at Cape Lookout, North Carolina: shoal evolution and the regional sediment budget. Journal of Coastal Research 21:1-17.
  • Conaway, C.A. and J.T. Wells, 2004. Aeolian dynamics along scraped shorelines, Bogue Banks, North Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research 20:393-405.
  • Wells, J.T. and J.E. McNinch, 2003. Role of inlet dynamics in scour and burial of marine artifacts in energetic coastal settings. Proceedings of the 1st International Maritime Heritage Conference. WIT Press, pp. 87-96.
  • Borrelli, M. and J.T. Wells, 2002. Sediment bypassing, spit progradation and the Cape Lookout "Jetty". Shore and Beach 70:15-19.
  • Roessler, T.S. and J.T. Wells, 2001. Beach changes along eastern Bogue Banks, NC resulting from the 1996 hurricane season. Journal of Coastal Research 17:964-975.
  • Wells, J.T. and J.E. McNinch, 2001. Reconstructing shoal and channel configuration in Beaufort Inlet: 300 years of change at the site of Queen Anne's Revenge. Southeastern Geology 40:11-18.
Honors and Awards
  • 2016-19: Recognition Award (4 consecutive years) as one of three editors of Most Cited Special Issue in Marine Geology, titled “State-of-the-Art in Marine Geology”
  • 2000-15: Editor-in-Chief, Marine Geology
  • Recipient of 1998 Distinguished Teaching Award at UNC-Chapel Hill for post-baccalaureate instruction