UNC Coastal Studies Institute Hosts Lecture on Shoreline Erosion

Living shorelines (foreground) and bulkheads (background) both provide erosion control, with different ecological functions for coastal ecosystems, photo: Rachel Gittman

The University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (UNC CSI) will host a lecture on shoreline erosion control strategies next week as part of its “Science on the Sound” lecture series.

The monthly series highlights information on coastal topics and issues in northeast North Carolina. This latest lecture will take place on November 30 at UNC CSI, 850 N.C. 345 in Wanchese.

This month, the program will feature Dr. Rachel Gittman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at East Carolina University.

The demand for coastal defense strategies against storms has increased with population growth and development along coastlines. Shoreline hardening is a practice designed to prevent erosion and loss of property, but that also has the potential to alter coastal ecosystem function.

Dr. Gittman’s research focuses on understanding the extent, drivers, and ecological consequences of shoreline hardening (e.g., bulkheads), as well as evaluating the functionality of alternative shore protection approaches, such as living shorelines.

Results from multi-year field studies and waterfront resident surveys in North Carolina suggest that living shorelines, promote higher diversity and abundances of marine organisms, and are also more resilient to erosion and damage from major storm events than bulkheads.

 

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