Jaia Syvitski

Jaia Syvitski CV

Professor Emerita

Departments / Academic Programs


  • PhD: University of British Columbia, 1978

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups

Contact Information

(Office) 303 735-5484
(Fax) 303 735-8180


Oceanography, geological sciences, hydrology, numerical modeling, geophysics.

Research Interests

Fjords, rivers, deltas, estuaries, particle dynamics, sediment transport and stratigraphy, continental margins, gravity flows, animal-sediment interactions, global change.


Professor Jaia Syvitski received doctorate degrees (Oceanography & Geological Science) from the University of British Columbia in 1978, where she developed a quantitative understanding of particle dynamics across the land-sea boundary. She held a variety of appointments within Canadian universities (1978-1995: U. Calgary, Dalhousie U., U. Laval, Memorial U., and INRS-oceanologie) and was a Senior Research Scientist within the Geological Survey of Canada at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (1981-1995). Jaia served as Director of INSTAAR from 1995-2007, and holds faculty appointments in in Geological Sciences, Applied Mathematics, Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences, Hydrological Sciences, and Geophysics. She has over 500 publications, including authorship or co-authorship of 65 peer-reviewed books, and has served in various editorial positions for many international journals. Jaia has taken leadership roles in large International Projects (e.g., SAFE, ADFEX, SEDFLUX, COLDSEIS, STRATAFORM, EuroSTRATAFORM, CSDMS), and served as an advisor for NSF, ONR, ARCUS, LOICZ, IGBP, IUGS, INQUA, SCOR, GWSP, and various energy, mining, and environmental companies.

Jaia works in the forefront of computational geosciences: sediment transport, land-ocean interactions and Earth-surface dynamics. She was formerly Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System, an international effort in 68 countries to develop, support, and disseminate integrated computer models to the broader Geoscience community. Jaia chaired ICSU’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (2011-2016) that provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society onto a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. He received the Royal Society of Canada 2009 Huntsman Medal for Outstanding Achievements in Marine Science, is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and accepted the SEPM Francis Shepard Medal in 2016 and an Honorary Doctor of Science in Sustainability from Newcastle University in 2016.


  • Francis P. Shepard Medal for Marine Geology, Society of Sedimentary Geology, 2016
  • Honorary Doctorate of Science, Newcastle University, 2016
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2010
  • Huntsman Medal for Outstanding Achievements in Marine Science, Royal Society of Canada, 2009