Date of Award

Spring 3-2022

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Chair

Patrick Biber

Committee Chair School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 2

Chet Rakocinski

Committee Member 2 School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 3

Eric Sparks

Committee Member 3 School

Coastal Resilience


It is important to find a suitable method to protect the U.S. Gulf Coast shoreline, since its’ low elevation and the Loop current make it vulnerable to sea level rise. I focused on two manmade methods, hardened, and living shorelines, of coastal protection for when the natural marsh suffers excess erosion rates. Living shorelines are a suite of shoreline conservation and restoration techniques that usually involve some sort of hardened structure that dampens wave energy so that the native vegetation behind it can take root and stabilize the shoreline. This study looked at six different sites, all containing a natural, living, and hardened shoreline across two different energy groups (low and high) to see how hydrographic, geomorphic, and vegetative parameters are affected. The erosion rate of the coastline and its geographic shape were influenced by the two energy groups, with the high energy coastlines eroding quicker. Hardened shorelines were found to have little to no erosion, while natural shorelines had the greatest amount of erosion. Living shorelines lessened the rate of erosion. However, the natural and living shorelines were similar in slope and sediment parameters, while hardened shorelines had steep slopes and higher sand content. I found that coastlines with high turbidity, erosion rates, wave power and relative exposure had steeper slopes and a higher percent of sand in the sediment, but lower percent cover and percent of marsh dominant vegetation species. This research is important because it will increase our knowledge on what environmental conditions may be most suitable for living shorelines to decrease erosion rates.