Two scientists at a Scottish university are examining the effect of rising sea levels on a Fife estuary as part of a 1m euro project.
Dr Mireille Consalvey carries out measurement work at Eden
The Eden Estuary near St Andrews is one of five sites across Europe being assessed for the study into the impact of global warming.
The other locations are in Ireland, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.
The Scottish study is being carried out by Professor David Paterson and Dr Mireille Consalvey of St Andrews University.
Professor Paterson, an expert in coastal systems, said: "Global warming is a major threat to coastal systems, leading to flooding, storm damage and loss of valuable habitat.
"However, scientists and local authorities cannot always agree on how to assess the health of coastal systems or how to judge the effects of global warming for their own coastlines.
"We want to come to a common format and a common way of doing things.
"Up until now everyone has had different ways of measuring the changes to sea levels, but this will change all that."
Professor Paterson is also taking part in a similar research project to assess the possible threat posed to Venice in Italy.
He said it was vital that protective measures were put in place as soon as possible to minimise the impact of rising sea levels.
The project will examine the effect of global warming
"We're going to have to deal with sea level rises, but what we don't know is how fast things are going to change," he added.
"We are going to go round different estuaries in Europe and look at the sea level change within them and then set up a system that will help to protect them for the future."
The other four sites are the Westerschelde estuary in the Netherlands, the Waterford estuary in Ireland, the Tagus estuary in Portugal and the Sylt estuary in Germany.
Preliminary work is under way on the project, which will last for three years.
The group hopes to come up with a series of preventative measures to protect Europe's coastlines.