Identifier

etd-04272010-175047

Degree

Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE)

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The Louisiana Gulf Coast is losing land at an alarming rate for a combination of reasons. At the same time carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere and the oceans by the increased burning of fossil fuels. Therefore, bioengineered oyster dominated artificial reefs have been developed in an effort to mitigate erosion while storing carbon in the oyster shells. These reefs support the growth of a native oyster species, Crassostrea virginica, which are considered ecological engineers and serve to improve water quality, protect coastal wetlands, capture and store carbon, and enhance the economy. Evaluation of test pieces showed the addition of biological material to encourage significantly higher oyster recruitment (p=0.002). Locations lower in the water column and further from shore also had higher recruitment rates (p=0.0004, p=0.05 respectively). The test on carbon storage potential showed a carbon payback period of ~ 6-8 months and a 500% payback after thirty months. A map of potential emplacement sites (“oyster zone”) was also created to aid in selecting future project locations. Preliminary engineering design was done in order to optimize the geometry of these structures and the emplacement techniques. Future work in this area should include monitoring and documentation of full-scale project emplacements and oyster growth patterns. This project has revealed the potential for the use of a sustainable, ecologically beneficial, and cost effective method of shoreline protection with the added benefit of long-term carbon storage.

Date

2010

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hall, Steve

Included in

Engineering Commons

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