Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

O'Connell, Martin

Second Advisor

Bourgeois-Calvin, Andrea

Third Advisor

Georgiou, Ioannis


The creation of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) in 1963 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) represents one of the most catastrophic, anthropogenic stressors ever to impact the Lake Pontchartrain estuary in southeastern Louisiana, USA. The artificial tidal pass provided a direct route from the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans. It allowed for high saline waters to enter Lake Pontchartrain, resulting in detrimental changes to the biotic community of the Lake and surrounding wetland areas. In July 2009, the USACE closed the MRGO in hopes of restoring natural ecosystems. This study assesses changes in the adult, juvenile, and larval fish assemblages in the Lake from data taken before and after the closure. Water quality data were also examined for shifts related to the MRGO closure. Significant decreases in salinity were found following the closure, however no significant differences were found in adult or larval fish assemblages.


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