Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Dr. Mark Kulp

Second Advisor

Dr. Ioannis Georgiou

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Wilson


Extensive shell ridges frame the edges of marsh platforms in parts of the Biloxi Marsh of southeast Louisiana. The exact sources of the shells in these accumulations have not been clearly identified but the most likely source is a combination of shells from modern offshore and shells excavated from buried St. Bernard delta deposits. Larger or fetch-protected ridges remain stable through time, whereas ridges facing open water are more mobile, moving as much as 38 m inland from July 2017 to January 2018. Behind stable ridges, marsh platform biomass is relatively unaffected. When ridges are mobile, vegetation is smothered, leaving an exposed platform that lacks aboveground vegetation to dampen wave energy and fragments into “blocks” along its terraced edge, which in turn are deposited onshore. In the future, marshes will likely erode fastest in areas where shell ridges are mobile and remain resistant where shell ridges are stable.


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.