dr.ir. E.M. Horstman (Erik)

Assistant Professor


Tidal Flat
Coastal Zone Management


My scientific interests revolve around pioneering research into the biophysical interactions in mangrove ecosystems. Thriving at the dynamic interface between land and sea, mangroves form a significant source of drag, attenuating tidal currents and waves. Consequently, mangroves are known as sediment-trapping environments.

I believe that observations are the basis for understanding natural systems, so my work hinges on the collection of field and experimental data. In numerous challenging field campaigns, I collected datasets with comprehensive observations of hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics, vegetation parameters and related physical and biological parameters. These observations have directly enhanced our understanding of for example tidal flow routing, wave attenuation and deposition patterns in mangroves.

In my PhD research, I employed field data for the calibration and validation of a numerical model simulating sediment dynamics in mangroves. This endeavour showed great potential for predicting longer-term mangrove development, but also revealed the relevance of unknown system parameters related to drag forces and sediment dynamics.

My current research addresses turbulent processes in mangroves, aiming to unravel spatial and temporal variations in these drag forces and sediment dynamics. These unique observations from the field will feed into more accurate process-based models of the short-term dynamics in mangroves.

Building upon these obtained insights, I aim to develop accurate yet efficient models simulating the long-term biophysical development of mangrove ecosystems. Such models will help predict and assess the contribution of mangroves to coastal stability and safety and to address potential compromising effects of human activities on these regulating services provided by mangroves.


Horstman, E. M., Bryan, K. R., Mullarney, J. C., Pilditch, C. A., & Eager, C. A. (2018). Are flow-vegetation interactions well represented by mimics? A case study of mangrove pneumatophores. Advances in water resources, 111, 360-371. DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.11.018
Horstman, E. M., Bryan, K. R., & Mullarney, J. C. (2017). The role of mangroves in a changing coastal environment. Abstract from New Zealand Coastal Society (NZCS) 25th annual conference 2017, Tauranga, New Zealand.
Horstman, E. M., Mullarney, J. C., Bryan, K. R., & Sandwell, D. R. (2017). Deposition gradients across mangrove fringes. In T. Aagaard, R. Deigaard, & D. Fuhrman (Eds.), Proceedings of Coastal Dynamics 2017 (pp. 911-922). [12] Helsingør, Denmark.
Horstman, E. M., Bryan, K. R., Mullarney, J. C., & Pilditch, C. A. (2016). Model versus nature: Hydrodynamics in mangrove pneumatophores. In P. Lynett (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, ICCE 2016 (Vol. 35). American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Sauvage, S. (Ed.), Filatova, T., Horstman, E., Sanchez-Perez, J. M. (Ed.), Hulscher, S. J. M. H., Rizolli, A. (Ed.), ... Waard, J. (2016). Modelling adaptive behaviour in spatial agent-based models: coastal cities and climate change. 1-1. Abstract from 8th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software 2016, Toulouse, France.
Hendriks, J. M., Horstman, E., Dohmen-Janssen, C. M., Suzuki, T., & van Maren, D. S. (2014). Wave dissipation in mangroves: parameterization of the drag coefficient based on field data. 33-33. Abstract from NCK-Days 2014, Delft, Netherlands.

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Affiliated Study Programmes




Mangrove-RESCUE: Mangrove Resilience for Enhanced Safety of Coastal Urbanisations and Environments

Mangrove ecosystems shelter tropical and subtropical shorelines. Their natural resilience allows them to recover from erosion events and to adapt to changing conditions. This study measures and simulates processes that influence this resilience, enabling the long-term prediction and protection of mangrove development and their contribution to coastal safety.

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Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst - Ring (building no. 21)
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst - Ring
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

Additional Contact Information

I am currently based at the University of Waikato:

Coastal Marine Group
University of Waikato
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton 3240
New Zealand

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