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A key driver of coastal change is the force exerted by the ocean waves and currents. The energy exerted on a sandy beach will change the shape and distribution of the sand. Water currents and waves can cause estuaries to open and close, and wave energy can heighten the inherent risk of rocky coast for recreational activities.

Recent research into hydrodynamics has seen wave probes deployed off the tropical island of Niue as well as off the Victorian Coast at Cape Paterson. Information can be used to understand the movement of sediment along the coast, as well as quantifying risk from waves on rocky shores.

Currently, research along the southern and eastern coast of Australia is focused on understanding how wave energy is transformed from open ocean onto rocky shores. This information will be used to quantify the risk to recreational visitors of the coast, as part of the research project on: Rocky Coasts: A Framework for risk assessment in order to reduce drowning