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

Assistant Professor

About Me

I am trained as a Civil Engineer (BSc, MSc) at the University of Twente. For my PhD (completed in 2014, University of Twente/National University of Singapore) I studied short-term biophysical interactions in mangrove forests in Thailand. I joined the University of Waikato (New Zealand) as a Research Fellow in 2015, studying thresholds to sediment dynamics in mangroves. In 2018 I obtained my current position as Assistant Professor at the University of Twente, combining my Mangrove-RESCUE research with training the next generation of civil engineers/coastal scientists.

Check out my story on this website!


Earth & Environmental Sciences
Seedling Establishment
Wave Attenuation
Agriculture & Biology
Mangroves (Trees)


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.


Gijsman, R. , Horstman, E. M., Swales, A., MacDonald, I. T., Bouma, T. J. , van der Wal, D. , & Wijnberg, K. M. (2023). Mangrove forest drag and bed stabilisation effects on intertidal flat morphology. Earth surface processes and landforms. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.5758
Kula, F. , Horstman, E. M., Lanting, L. S., & Ten Klooster, L. R. (2023). Exploring Strategies To Promote Engagement And Active Learning Through Digital Course Design In Engineering Mathematics. 2363-2371. Paper presented at 51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2023, Dublin, Ireland. https://doi.org/10.21427/5QFW-PY91

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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.

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex (building no. 20), room W215
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex  W215
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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