Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Poirrier, Michael

Second Advisor

Utley, John

Third Advisor

Whitbeck, Julie


Sphaeroma terebrans (Bate 1866) is an economically and ecologically important cosmopolitan species because this isopod is found burrowed in wood and marine structures of fresh to saline water. Existing literature on S. terebrans focuses on the destruction of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) in India, Pakistan, and Florida. This study concentrates on S. terebrans habitat and boring preferences in bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) in Lake Pontchartrain near the Bonnet Carre Spillway, Louisiana. In addition laboratory experiments for water column distribution and substrate preferences were conducted using cypress, Styrofoam, and balsa. Results indicate that this population may be parthenogenic and that wood or material hardness determines whether S. terebrans burrow when given a choice of substrates. The lake shoreline near the Bonnet Carre Spillway is retreating and the presence of S. terebrans contributes to shoreline erosion by weakening and destroying cypress. This has implications for restoration projects in coastal Louisiana.


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.