Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

Greg Carter

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

Grant Harley

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

George Raber

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology

Abstract

Barrier islands are ubiquitous features along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico North American coastline and are subjected disturbances such as extreme episodic events. The wind, waves, and storm surges of Hurricane Katrina heavily impacted the Mississippi–Alabama barrier island chain on August 29, 2005. Cat Island experienced a 7-m storm surge, the highest wind energy in the chain, but was estimated to have the least amount of forest mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the distribution of Pinus elliottii on Cat Island Mississippi and evaluate relationships of elevation with mean radial growth rate (mm y ̄ ˡ), stem diameter (cm), and change in radial growth rate (% change) five years post Hurricane Katrina. The overarching hypothesis is that growth rate in P. elliottii on Cat Island, is a function of elevation. The two sub-hypotheses tested were 1) mean radial growth and stem diameter are functions of elevation and 2) growth response to Hurricane Katrina (% change) is a function of elevation. Remotely sensed data was used in conjunction with tree core and ground data to assess these relationships. Trees were selected for sampling using a point-centered quarter distance method. At each sample site, two to four radii were extracted from each tree then the stem diameter was measured. The GPS location and elevation were recorded. Decreased radial growth from Hurricane Katrina was observed in 92% of the sample population. Regression analysis shows no relationship of radial growth and stem diameter versus elevation. The hypotheses were rejected and an alternate proposed.

Included in

Geography Commons

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