Date of Award

8-5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Department

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Reed, Denise

Second Advisor

Kulp, Mark

Third Advisor

Georgiou, Ioannis

Abstract

Hurricanes rapidly destroy large expanses land in coastal Louisiana marsh. Research shows that freshwater marsh with organic soils experience increased destruction during hurricanes compared to other marsh. A relevant question surfaces, do some restoration projects create marsh similar to marshes that are more susceptible to hurricane damage. This study analyzes soil, bulk density, plant composition, and buoyancy of restoration projects and sites adjacent to those that experienced land loss during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Results indicate that high organic matter percentages in marsh soil increases hurricane susceptibility attributed to decreased bulk density and increased buoyancy. Buoyancy is episodic and is highest during late summer months when soil temperature and decomposition are highest. Late summer is typically when most intense hurricanes occur. If marsh is less dense, decomposing, and buoyant when strongest hurricanes hit, then potential for destruction during a hurricane increases. Samples were collected from August 2009 to October 2009.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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