Dr. Claire Masteller

Assistant Professor

cmasteller -at- wustl -dot- edu

Rudolph 286




I am originally from New Jersey and have spent much of my life on the barrier islands of the Jersey Shore. As a first generation college student, it took me a while to find my feet at the University of Pennsylvania. I  dabbled in biology, fine arts, international relations, and environmental studies before I found geoscience – specifically, geomorphology.

To me, there is something captivating about being able to go outside and read the landscape around us – or, to build our own landscape with power tools in the lab or with mathematics on a computer. I was lucky enough to do all three as I pursued my PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I studied how biology and flow variability affect sediment transport rates in rivers and on coasts.

Following my time in Santa Cruz, I left the sunshine behind for a two-year postdoctoral position at GFZ-Potsdam, the German Research Center for Geosciences, where I used seismology to measure environmental signals and landscape response – with a focus on wave energy transmission and erosion on rocky coasts. 

I am broadly interested in sediment transport, erosion mechanics, and their role in driving landscape evolution. I have particular interests in the application of granular and solid mechanics to geomorphic problems.

Graduate students

Jed Dale

PhD Student


I am a PhD student interested in studying physical and biological controls on sediment transport and landscape evolution with a combination of experiments, remote sensing, and modeling (all rooted in fieldwork),. I’m fascinated by the ways in which life, from the scale of bacteria to forests, can shape the form and function of landscapes, with an emphasis on rivers. I also have an ongoing interest in geoarchaeology and long-term human interactions with landscape, especially in the Pre-Columbian neotropics. I previously studied Earth Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Geography at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Undergraduate research assistants


Maria Schmeer

Class of ’22


Imprints of topographically variably hillslope diffusivity in landscape evolution models


Jordan Neeley

Class of ’23


Rock strength controls on bedrock river erosion and morphology

Olivia Shaw

Class of ’21


Flood mapping in Centreville; Timing of bankfull conditions across river networks