I am currently a doctoral student in oceanography at the University of Delaware, studying under Dr. Art Trembanis in the Coastal Sediments Hydrodynamics and Engineering Laboratory (CSHEL).

I grew up in Villa Park, IL, far from the ocean but close to a pretty big body of water, Lake Michigan. During my childhood, I made many great memories visiting the lake with friends and family.  My interest in the outdoors, science, and numbers influenced my decision to study geology/applied math at Augustana College (in Rock Island, IL), which were some unforgettable years with a great group of friends. During the summer after my junior year at Augie, I was lucky enough to complete an internship at UD, which eventually led to an opportunity for graduate work in oceanography. My time at UD has helped me become a better scientist as well as introduced me to some great folks to study and work with.

My main research focus is geomorphology, or the study of earth’s surface processes. Our lab uses robotic systems like autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and drones, as well as sensors like sonar and LiDAR to study and map the seafloor and the coast.

While at UD, I have contributed to a variety of projects. In CSHEL, we spend a lot of time in the field and at sea collecting data. Some projects I have been involved in include recurrent sonar mapping of the Chincoteague Inlet; drone mapping at the north and south ends of Assateague Island; drone mapping of Cedar Island, VA; sonar mapping of Rehoboth Bay for derelict crab pots; sonar, magnetometer, and photographic mapping of the USS Nina (shipwreck off the coast of Fenwick Island, DE); GPR, sub-bottom profiling, hand-auger sampling, vibracore and geoprobe sampling of Carolina Bays in Delaware and Virginia; various projects involving developing CNN detectors for features like Carolina Bays, crab pots, monkfish, pockmarks, and ray pits; and a comprehensive, multi-platform mapping project in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario looking for shipwrecks (https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/21greatlakes/welcome.html).

Some of my research interests include investigating the origin of Carolina Bays, using deep learning for geomorphic feature detection, underwater image enhancement, and photogrammetry. Some software and data related to my work is available at https://github.com/mlundine


Carolina Bay Detection and Characterization

The figure below summarizes some of the results from some recent work published in Remote Sensing. I used convolutional neural networks to map Carolina Bays from LiDAR-derived digital elevation models. Essentially, I trained an algorithm on how to recognize Carolina Bays, let it come up with a series of computations to correctly identify them, and then fed it new images and let it find each Carolina Bay. This allowed me to map over 20,000 Carolina Bays all along the US East Coast.

Shown below is a demonstration of the detector in real time.

Pockmark Detection via deep learning

I am currently working on other applications of this method, see the two below maps for some results on pockmark detection. Pockmarks are round seafloor depressions that form due to seabed fluid escape. They are common in estuaries with lots of organic deposits and methane. The source data in this case is bathymetric sonar.

Shoreline Extraction via generative adversarial networks

Shown below is some recent experimentation using generative adversarial networks (GANs) for shoreline extraction from satellite imagery. This model was trained on a subset of satellite imagery of the Delaware beaches from Broadkill Beach to Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island, dating back to 1984. The full dataset is over 10,000 images. The trained model can extract shorelines from the full dataset in about 25 minutes. Manual annotation of a shoreline takes a minute to two minutes per image. That’s a big time saver. Hopefully with more development this research can allow coastal scientists to quickly gather shoreline change data for various sites.

And then the result of the shoreline extraction GAN running on imagery from Cape Henlopen back to 1987. Cape Henlopen is a sandy spit that has grown northward and migrated inland pretty rapidly in terms of geologic time due to longshore drift. Back in the 1800s, the end of the spit was about a mile south of its position today.

The final goal is to have an automated system where a user can input an area of the coast to look at, download that area’s satellite imagery, run the imagery through the shoreline extraction GAN, and then use the extracted shorelines to construct timeseries of shoreline change at automatically generated transects. Below is an figure illustrating more on this idea, with some data from Assateague Island, VA.

Some Underwater Exploration

Below is a video I made from some underwater images and sidescan sonar of the Gallinipper shipwreck. The images and sonar were collected from an underwater robot in Lake Michigan during the summer of 2021. These images were collected in about 200 feet of water, so very little light is able to penetrate that far. The little amount of light that does reach that depth is mostly in the blue spectrum. This video was made from some code I developed to take out the blue and add some red to underwater imagery, while also computing each image’s footprint on the seafloor. This allows us to track how much of the seafloor each image covers, while also tracking the position of each image.

Shown below are some maps of a mesophotic reef in Bermuda. The left-most map is showing the bathymetry, or depth. The middle map is showing an orthorectified mosaic of RGB imagery. Last, the right-most map is showing an enhanced version of the orthorectified mosaic. These were constructed from around 10,000 images collected from an AUV over the reef, through a process called structure from motion photogrammetry.

Highlights from the Field and Lab

The next video captures an Iver3 AUV launch on Lake Michigan.

And the next video shows an eBee fixed wing RTK drone recovery.

Grant Otto demonstrating the stability and strength of our new vibracore tetrapod.



University of Delaware, Lewes, DE, PhD, Oceanography, 2018-Present

Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, B.A., Geology and Applied Mathematics, Physics Minor, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2014-2018

Augustana East Asia Term:  11 weeks in Japan, Taiwan, and China studying geology, politics, literature, traditional Chinese medicine, Fall 2016

Willowbrook High School, Villa Park, IL, 2010-2014.

Research Experience

Unidel Graduate Fellow, University of Delaware, Summer 2018-Present

Guest Student, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, June 2019

Research Experience for Undergraduates Internship, University of Delaware, Summer 2017

Research Assistant, Western Illinois University-Quad Cities, October 2015-May 2017


Software: I use a variety of GIS, geophysical processing, and photogrammetry programs; whatever does the job for the specific task.

Programming: Python is the best.

Laboratory: Cohesive and non-cohesive sediment texture analysis.

Field Methods: Some tools I have used include: RTK GPS, UAVs, multibeam and sidescan sonar, GPR, Brunton compass, castaway CTD, grab sampler, gravity corer, penetrometer, geoprobe, Aquadopp ADCP, Spotter wave buoy, Stratabox sub-bottom profiler, vibracore, Iver3 AUV, Echoboat ASV.

Other: trailering, small boat license, FAA Remote Pilot license, 3D printing, CPR/First Aid (from my lifeguarding days)

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, Life’s a Beach Field Trip, Intro Coastal Geology Course, University of Delaware, Fall 2019 and 2020

Teaching Assistant, Intro Geology Course, Augustana College, Fall 2017-Spring 2018

Let’s Rock Instructor, Teaching Geology to Elementary School Students, Augustana College, Longfellow Elementary, Denkmann Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, Spring 2016, 2017, 2018

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Lundine M., Trembanis, A., Using Convolutional Neural Networks for Detection and Morphometric Analysis of Carolina Bays from Publicly Available Digital Elevation Models, Remote Sensing, 2021, Volume 13(18), 3770, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/13/18/3770

Trembanis, A., Lundine, M., McPharren, K., Coastal Mapping and Monitoring, Encyclopedia of Geology, 2nd Edition, 2021, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124095489124662?via%3Dihub

Undergraduate Thesis

Lundine, Mark. Optimizing UAV surveys for coastal morphodynamics: estimation of spatial uncertainty as a function of flight acquisition and post-processing factors, 2018,

In the News

USS Nina Mapping


CNN-based detector for Carolina Bays–developing and testing an open-source graphical user interface (poster)

  • Advances in Digital Field Methods for Geologic Research, Mapping, and Education, Geological Society of America 2020 Connects Online, October 27, 2020.

Developing a CNN for automated detection of Carolina bays from publicly available LiDAR data (lightning talk, poster)

  • Data Science Symposium, University of Delaware, November 15th, 2019.
  • Machine Learning Applications in Earth Surface Processes Research, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 13th, 2019.

The house always wins…or does it?  Simulating an optimum blackjack strategy (talk)

  • Mathematics and computer science seminar, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, May 10th, 2018

Optimizing UAV surveys for coastal morphodynamics:  estimation of spatial uncertainty as a function of flight acquisition and post-processing factors (poster)

  • Geological Society of America National Meeting, Seattle, WA, October 2017
  • Geological Society of America North-central Section Meeting, Aimes, IA, April 2018
  • Celebration of Learning, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, May 2nd, 2018

Optimizing UAV surveys for coastal morphodynamics:  estimation of spatial uncertainty as a function of flight acquisition and post-processing factors (talk)

  • REU Presentation, University of Delaware, College of Earth Ocean and Environment, Lewes, DE, August 11th, 2017
  • Udden Geology Club, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, September 8th, 2017
  • Udden Geology Club, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, March 20th, 2018

Channel morphometry analysis of headwater streams using a terrestrial laser scanner in two different ecoregions (poster)

  • North-central and Northeastern Geological Society of America Joint Section Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, March 20th, 2017
  • Donor Appreciation Event, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, April 30th, 2017
  • Celebration of Learning, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, May 3rd, 2017

Creating a Pricing Model for a Chicagoland Limousine Service (poster)

  • Celebration of Learning, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, May 3rd, 2017

Using Terrestrial LiDAR and Structure from Motion to Study Fluvial Systems (talk)

  • Udden Geology Club, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL April 21st, 2017

Some Fieldwork Experience

Vibracoring of a Delmarva Bay Pond, September 2021

Collected eight vibracore samples from a Delmarva Bay pond to investigate the sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Bay. Involved building a tripod for core hoisting (thanks to Grant Otto) and fixing a faulty vibracore motor and cable.

Great Lakes NOAA Ocean Exploration, August 2021

Assisted in a shipwreck and habitat mapping project in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario using an Iver3 AUV, an Echoboat 160 ASV, an Echoboat 240 ASV, a Sonar EMILY, and a pontoon boat equipped with an Edgetech 6205. Involved driving an enclosed trailer with scientific equipment and a pontoon boat from Lewes, DE to Manitowoc, WI. First 10 days were spent working on Lake Michigan from Manitowoc. Then we drove the equipment to Sackets Harbor, NY to do the second half of the expedition on Lake Ontario.

USS Nina Mapping, June 2021

Assisted in conducting Iver3 AUV missions over a US Navy shipwreck off the coast of Fenwick Island, DE. This work was a collaborative effort between University of Delaware, SEARCH, Inc., and the Naval History and Heritage Command. Covered in Delaware Online, USA Today, UDaily.

Sub-bottom profiling of a Delmarva Bay Pond, May 2021

Collected sub-bottom profile data from a Zodiac raft to characterize the subsurface of a Delmarva Bay pond.

Echoboat ASV Mapping, Wave Buoy and ADCP Deployment, March 2021

Mapped a Delmarva Bay in southern Delaware with an Echoboat ASV equipped with a Humminbird Solix and deployed a Spotter wave buoy and an Aquadopp ADCP to collect hydrodynamic data.

Sediment Sampling and GPR Surveying in Delaware, July and August 2020

Collected 150 hand auger cores throughout Delaware at 50 Delmarva Bay sites. Also collected GPR profiles at several sites and conducted a drone survey at one of the sites.

Virginia Eastern Shore Geoprobe Coring, June 2020

Assisted a group from Virginia Institute of Marine Science in a geoprobing campaign led by Dr. Chris Hein.

Rehoboth Bay, DE, Derelict Crab Pot Mapping and Removal, December 2019, January 2020, February 2021

Operating a small boat equipped with a Hummnbird Solix sidescan sonar to map the bottom of Rehoboth Bay to identify and then remove abandoned crab pots.

Upper Chesapeake Bay, November 2019

Assisted with testing of a modular autonomous biosampler during a weekend-long cruise on the R/V Sharp.

Cedar Island, VA, November 2019

Contracted by Virginia Institute of Marine Science to map a rapidly eroding and retreating barrier island on Virginia’s eastern shore using a senseFly eBee RTK fixed-wing UAV and a Topcon GR-5 RTK GPS.

Rehoboth Bay, DE, Crab Pot Buoy Mapping, July 2019

Supervised two US Naval Academy interns in their efforts to develop a methodology for locating crab pot buoys with UAVs and then automating buoy identification from photos with deep learning. Involved launching and recovering a Phantom 3 Advanced UAV from a pontoon boat, as well as transiting from the UD boat basin to Rehoboth Bay through the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.

Fishing Point and Chincoteague Inlet, March 2019-present

Assisted in a fellow PhD student’s fieldwork involving UAV and RTK GPS mapping of a rapidly accreting barrier island, sonar mapping of the adjacent inlet, and deployment of a moored frame housing acoustic doppler current profilers, a turbidity sensor, a rotary sonar, and a conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor. This is an ongoing project that requires multiple periods of fieldwork.

Ocean City Inlet and Northern End of Assateague Island, November 2018

Assisted in a fellow graduate student’s fieldwork involving UAV and RTK GPS mapping of a dynamic barrier island, sonar mapping of the adjacent inlet, and deployment of a moored frame housing an acoustic doppler current profiler and a turbidity sensor.

Delaware Bay, Fall 2018, Spring 2018

Deployment of a moored frame housing a rotary sonar, two acoustic doppler current profilers, a turbidity sensor, and a conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor. Also involved deployment of inert unexploded ordinances with acoustic receivers. Also involved collection of penetrometer data, grab samples, and gravity cores. Part of a fellow PhD student’s dissertation project.

Redbird Reef and DelJerseyLand, Summer 2017, 2018

Sonar mapping of two different artificial reef sites off the coast of southern Delaware.

Broadkill Beach and Big Stone Beach, DE, Summer 2017

UAV and RTK GPS mapping of two different beaches for a fellow PhD student’s dissertation project.

Science Outreach

Fish Finder Workshop, Lewes, DE, September 2021

Trained folks from the public on how to use a Humminbird Solix, a Humminbird 360, and a Garmin Livescope for habitat mapping, derelict crab pot mapping, and fish finding.

Great Lakes Expedition Outreach, Two Rivers, WI and Sackets Harbor, NY, August 2021

Put on an exhibit for the public demonstrating the various types of autonomous survey platforms for we were using to map habitats and shipwrecks in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario.

GIS Day, Dover Air Force Base, Dover, DE, November 2019

Put on an exhibit with an augmented reality sandbox that projects topographic contours as well as an elevation color map onto kinetic sand. The sand can be modified into various landforms with real-time updates to the contours and color map. This was an all-day event for groups of fifth graders from schools all around the state of Delaware.

Coast Day, October 2018 and 2019

On the first Sunday of October, the University of Delaware Lewes campus hosts a free open-house where the public is invited to tour the laboratories and research vessels, engage in hands-on science exhibits, and eat local seafood. We typically see over a thousand visitors.

Robotics Discovery Laboratory Visits, June 2018-present

The laboratory I currently work in has a consistent flow of visitors, ranging from visiting scientists; industry and government representatives; undergraduate, high school, middle school, and elementary students; and many other people who are curious about the ocean and how robots are used in oceanography.

Love Creek Elementary Science Fair, April 2019

Served as a judge for an elementary school science fair.

Sussex County Science Fair, March 2019, 2020

Served as a judge for an elementary, middle, and high school science fair.

Banneker Elementary Science Fair, February 2019

Put on an exhibit with hands-on activities explaining autonomous underwater vehicles and their scientific applications.

Westchester-Rockland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, February 2019                        Served as a judge for the earth science, physics, and mathematics section of a high school science research competition.

Milford Central Academy Science Night, January 2019

Put on an exhibit with hands-on activities explaining autonomous underwater vehicles and their scientific applications.

Research Grants Awarded

Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant, 2021, $2,300

Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant, 2020, $1,250

Augustana Board of Trustees Fellows’ Research Scholarship, 2014, $1,000


University of Delaware Unidel Distinguished Graduate Scholar, 2018-2023

Augustana Presidential Academic Scholarship, 2014-2018

Augustana Lucken Geology Academic Scholarship, 2014-2018

Pi Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honor Society, 2018  

Augustana Geology Major with Distinction, 2018

Augustana J. M. Hoare Academic Scholarship, 2017

Augustana Dr. C. Leland Horberg Academic Scholarship, 2016

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