Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Bret Webb, Ph.D.


Alabama Port is a unique marsh and sandy beach shoreline. Since the 1950s, substantial erosion has occurred along this shoreline due to storms, wind-generated waves, and ship wakes. This research focuses on evaluating the effect of oyster reef breakwaters on wave height attenuation and sediment stabilization through numerical modeling (XBeach) under three different synthetic storm scenarios coupled with three unique sea level rise projections near Alabama Port. This has been accomplished by comparing a with and without project condition using XBeach in a two-dimensional (2D) mode by analyzing wave height, velocity, and cumulative bed-level changes at the study site. The results show that of all the reef designs ReefBlk and Reef ball performed better in sediment deposition by attenuating wave heights. However, the reefs did not aid in reducing overall erosion near the shoreline. The variations in storm severity influenced the hydrodynamics and morphological changes of the study site greatly, while sea level rise had a minor impact. For living shorelines, long-term monitoring is needed to summarize any shoreline dynamics and complex hydrodynamic response against sea level rise, climate change, and storms. Moreover, collecting field hydrodynamic data will aid in assessing the model’s capacity to predict better simulation results. Future studies using a validated model are expected to provide more accurate outcomes.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2024