IMAGE OF James Heiss

James Heiss

Assistant Professor

College of Sciences
Environmental Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Olney Hall - 102C


Coastal Hydrogeology, Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions, Coastal Groundwater Resources, Aquifer Biogeochemistry

Research Interests

My research interests are in coastal groundwater-surface water interactions, climate change and sea level rise impacts to groundwater resources, and chemical fluxes along the land-sea transition zone. In particular I am interested in the hydrologic forcings (waves, tides, currents, extreme precipitation, storm surge, sea level rise) that move water and chemicals between aquifers and coastal surface waters. I explore these processes from the meter- to global-scale through field experiments, numerical models, and quantitative synthesis of large datasets.


  • Ph.D.: Geology, (2017), University of Delaware - Newark, DE
  • MS: Geology, (2011), University of Delaware - Newark, DE
  • BS: Geoenvironmental Studies, (2009), Shippensburg University - Shippensburg, PA

Selected Publications

  • Kim, K.H., J.W. Heiss, H.A. Michael, W.J. Ullman, W-J Cai (2022), Seasonal and spatial production patterns of dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity in a shallow beach aquifer, Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 1–12
  • Cogswell, C., and J.W. Heiss (2021) Climate and seasonal temperature controls on biogeochemical transformations in unconfined coastal aquifers, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
  • Geng, X., J.W. Heiss, H.A. Michael, H. Li, B. Baubenheimer, M.C. Boufadel (2021), Geochemical fluxes in sandy beach aquifers: Modulation due to major physical stressors, geologic heterogeneity, and nearshore morphology, Earth-Science Reviews, 221(103800)
  • Kim, K.H, J.W. Heiss (2021), Methods in capturing the spatiotemporal dynamics of Flow and biogeochemical reactivity in sandy beach aquifers: A Review, Water, 13(6), 782
  • Geng, X., J.W. Heiss, H.A. Michael, M.C. Boufadel, K. Lee (2020), Groundwater flow and moisture dynamics in the swash zone: effects of heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity and capillarity, Water Resources Research, 2020WR028401
  • Heiss, J., Michael, H., Koneshloo, M. (2020). Denitrification hotspots in intertidal mixing zones linked to geologic heterogeneity. Environmental Research Letters.
  • Heiss, J.W., Michael, H.A., Puleo, J. (2020). Groundwater–surface water exchange in the intertidal zone detected by hydrologic and coastal oceanographic measurements. Hydrological Processes.
  • Kim, K.H., Heiss, J., Geng, X., Michael, H.A. (2020). Modeling hydrologic controls on particulate organic carbon contributions to beach aquifer biogeochemical reactivity. Water Resources Research, 1-17.
  • Heiss, J.W. (2020). Whale burial and organic matter impacts on biogeochemical cycling in beach aquifers and leachate fluxes to the nearshore zone. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology.
  • Russoniello, C.J., Heiss, J.W., Michael, H.A. (2018). Variability in Benthic Exchange Rate, Depth, and Residence Time Beneath a Shallow Coastal Estuary. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
  • Heiss, J., Post, V., Laattoe, T., Russoniello, C., Michael, H. (2017). Physical Controls on Biogeochemical Processes in Intertidal Zones of Beach Aquifers. Water Resources Research,53(11).
  • Kim, K.H., Heiss, J., Michael, H.A., Cai, W.J., Laattoe, T., Post, V.E., Ullman, W.J. (2017). Spatial Patterns of Groundwater Biogeochemical Reactivity in an Intertidal Beach Aquifer. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences,122(10) 2548--2562.
  • Geng, X., Heiss, J., Michael, H.A., Boufadel, M.C. (2017). Subsurface flow and moisture dynamics in response to swash motions: Effects of beach hydraulic conductivity and capillarity. Water Resources Research, (2001) 317-335.
  • Walther, M., Heiss, J., Magri, F., Delfs, J., Graf, T. (2016). Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical Processes in Fractured Porous Media: Modelling and Benchmarking: Benchmarking Initiatives (pp. 97-105). Springer International Publishing
  • Mcallister, S.M., Barnett, J.M., Heiss, J., Findlay, A.J., Macdonald, D.J., Dow, C.L., Luther, G.W., Michael, H.A., Chan, C.S. (2015). Dynamic hydrologic and biogeochemical processes drive microbially enhanced iron and sulfur cycling within the intertidal mixing zone of a beach aquifer. Limnology and Oceanography,60(1) 329--345.
  • Heiss, J., Puleo, J.A., Ullman, W.J., Michael, H.A. (2015). Coupled surface-subsurface hydrologic measurements reveal infiltration, recharge, and discharge dynamics across the swash zone of a sandy beach. Water Resources Research,1.
  • Heiss, J., Michael, H.A. (2014). Saltwater-freshwater mixing dynamics in a sandy beach aquifer over tidal, spring-neap, and seasonal cycles. Water Resources Research,50(8) 6747-6766.
  • Heiss, J., Ullman, W.J., Michael, H.A. (2014). Swash zone moisture dynamics and unsaturated infiltration in two sandy beach aquifers. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,143 20-31.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • NSF CAREER: Hydrodynamic Controls on Fluid and Solute Exchanges Across the Aquifer-Estuary Interface
  • Collaborative Research: Hydrologic dynamics in a coastal aquifer during an extreme multi-hazard coastal storm (2020), Grant - National Science Foundation
    Heiss, J. (Principal)