Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Coastal foredunes are important natural resources that serve as nature’s first line of defense against powerful storms, protecting inland development and human populations. With the ever-increasing possibility of sea-level rise and the potential for increased frequency of major tropical storms, coastal mapping and understanding foredune development are important tools that coastal stakeholders can use to aid in policy planning. The currently predominant beach-dune interaction models are inadequate as comprised and do not apply globally. The models currently in use lack sufficient quantitative data and have poorly defined variables to support their underlying concepts, and as a result, they are difficult to verify in field conditions. An extensive field study was conducted in Gulf County, Florida, a location that has experienced relatively little anthropogenic impact. The study sites were chosen for their variety of erosion/accretion rates, exposure to wind and waves, and foredune heights. Topographic surveys, vegetation surveys, wave data, and archival research were all used to analyze the locations. The accumulated data were applied to the predominant models in an attempt to verify their applicability and accuracy. The results showed the insufficiency of the predominant models. Additional variables, including wave climate, vegetation, and antecedent geology were included in a new model that more fully explains foredune development. The newly developed cycle of foredune evolution has several potential benefits. First, the cycle places foredunes on a continuous spectrum rather than in distinct categories. Second, the cycle can be tested and verified with quantitative data. Finally, the cycle can potentially be applied to foredunes in a wide range of coastal environments.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hesp, Patrick