Samuel Munoz

Assistant Professor,  Marine and Environmental Sciences
Assistant Professor,  Civil and Environmental Engineering


Research Focus

Sedimentary records of environmental change, paleoclimate and climate change, rivers and fluvial processes, hydroclimatic extremes


  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015

Research Overview

Sedimentary records of environmental change, paleoclimate and climate change, rivers and fluvial processes, hydroclimatic extremes

Earth Surface Systems Lab

The Earth Surface Systems Lab of Assistant Professor Samuel Muñoz studies hydrologic and climatic variability and its connections to the natural and built environment.

We are interested in how floods, droughts, and other climate-related hazards shape landscapes and societies across the land-sea interface.

Our interdisciplinary research combines geological and historical perspectives with statistical and Earth system models to improve societal preparedness and response to natural hazards.

Earth Surface Systems Lab

Selected Research Projects

Selected Publications

  • Wiman, Charlotte, Hamilton, Brynnydd, Dee, Sylvia G., Muñoz, Samuel E. (2021). Reduced Lower Mississippi River Discharge During the Medieval Era. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(3). 10.1029/2020GL091182
  • S.E. Muñoz, T.J. Porter, A. Bakkelund, J. Nusbaumer, S.G. Dee, B. Hamilton, L. Giosan, J.E. Tierney, Lipid Biomarker Record Documents Hydroclimatic Variability of the Mississippi River Basin During the Common Era, Geophysical Research Letters, 47(12), 2020, e2020GL087237
  • J.R. Walsh, J.R. Corman, S.E. Muñoz, Coupled Long-Term Limnological Data and Sedimentary Data Reveal Novel Control on Water Quality in a Eutrophic Lake, Limnology & Oceanography, 64(S1), 2019, S34-S48
  • S.E. Muñoz, L. Giosan, J. Blusztajn, C. Rankin, G.E. Stinchcomb, Radiogenic Fingerprinting Reveals Anthropogenic and Buffering Controls on Sediment Dynamics of the Mississippi River System, Geology, 47(3), 2019, 271-274
  • S.E. Muñoz, L. Giosan, M.D. Therrell, J.W. Remo, Z. Shen, R.M. Sullivan, J.P. Donnelly, Climatic Control of Mississippi River Flood Hazard Amplified by River Engineering, Nature, 556(7699), 2018, 95-98
  • S.E. Muñoz, S.G. Dee, El Niño Increases the Risk of Lower Mississippi River Flooding, Scientific Reports, 7, 2017, 1772


Oct 25, 2022

Using Natural Barriers to Help Prevent Flooding

For those areas devastated by Hurricane Ian, Northeastern experts encourage residents to build in natural buffers to protect against flooding when rebuilding. With storms threatening to intensify, should Floridians stay or should they go? With hundreds of Floridians remaining in shelters weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated swathes of the Sunshine state, the question many residents […]


Jul 22, 2022

Record Temperatures Impacting Health and Infrastructure

CEE Professor Auroop Ganguly and MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Munoz have been predicting that climate change would lead to record-breaking temperatures that would affect people’s health and dangerous environmental conditions.

Samuel Munoz, Ed Beighley, and Aron Stubbins


Jul 14, 2022

Investigating the Accumulation of Microplastics in the Environment

MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Munoz, CEE Professor Edward Beighley, and MES/COS/CEE Professor Aron Stubbins were awarded a $530K NSF grant for “Evaluating Patterns and Controls on Microplastic Accumulation in Floodplains.”


Apr 26, 2022

Exploring the Dangers of Microplastics

MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Munoz and MES/COS/CEE Professor Aron Stubbins are exploring how microplastics are accumulating in areas such as floodplains. Microplastics are everywhere, but their dangers largely remain a mystery, experts say Main photo: Samuel Munoz, Northeastern professor of marine and environmental sciences and civil and environmental engineering. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University They […]

Samuel Munoz

In the Media

Apr 06, 2022

NSF backs study of Mississippi River’s response to climate change

MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Muñoz was featured in the EurekaAlert article “NSF backs study of Mississippi River’s response to climate change“.


Jan 31, 2022

Using State-of-the-Art Simulations to Determine Climate Effects on the Mississippi River

MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Muñoz, in collaboration with Rice University, was awarded a $700K NSF grant for “Evaluating the Past and Future of Mississippi River Hydroclimatology to Constrain Risk via Integrated Climate Modeling, Observations, and Reconstructions.”

Plastics are a pervasive source of pollution. And they might also be significantly altering the Earth’s carbon cycle and our ability to monitor it, according to research by Northeastern’s Aron Stubbins. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University


Jul 07, 2021

Stubbins and Munoz Published in Science for Plastics in the Earth System

A research paper, titled, “Plastics in the Earth System” by Associate Professor Aron Stubbins, MES/COS/CEE, and Assistant Professor Samuel E. Muñoz, MES/CEE, was published in the journal Science.

abstract of lab and field work


Apr 28, 2021

Designing Storm Strength Simulations to Predict and Mitigate Coastal Flooding

MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Muñoz and CEE/MES Professor Qin Jim Chen, in collaboration with Jeffrey Donnelly from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, were awarded a $590K NSF grant for “Morphodynamic simulations of coastal storms and overwash to characterize back-barrier lake stratigraphies.”

purple abstract of professor in lab


Dec 01, 2020

Studying Core Samples to Learn About Climate Patterns

MES/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Muñoz is using sediment cores collected from the bottom of water sources that have compacted over thousands of years to help predict the future of our climate.


Jun 06, 2019

Reassessing Flood Management After Historic Flooding in Midwest

COS/CEE Assistant Professor Samuel Munoz answers questions about the recent record-breaking flooding in the Midwest.

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