Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE)
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Developing materials that are environmentally friendly and capable of high performance is important to maximize the efficiency and success of coastal restoration projects. Louisiana is losing large amounts of coastal land each year, while suffering 90% of the United States’ coastal wetland loss. Some areas have begun to implement physical structures to dissipate wave energy and accrete sediment. Recent technological advances have allowed the transformation of these structures into engineered ecosystems, with a focus on oyster accumulation. These ecosystems support the growth of oysters, Crassostrea virginica, which serve to improve water quality and protect shorelines through filtration and wave energy attenuation. An evaluation of scale-model reefs showed bioaccumulation on various cement mixtures, as well as the customization available with the implementation of artificial reefs. This customization also allows the use of bioengineered oyster reefs in the creation of more sustainable coastal homes, with the combination of various architectural techniques, as structural and ecological members. Artificial reefs can be used for protection of the homes and shorelines, while also serving as a valuable food source, not only through oyster growth, but through the attraction of a large number of crab, shrimp and fish, as well. Alternative methods of oyster harvest are also explored in this study. An artificial cultch material showed insignificant differences (p=0.0726) in oyster growth when compared to oyster shell, the typical substrate used in oyster production. The artificial cultch could be used as a viable substitute, in areas where oyster shell is either limited or expensive. This body of work shows the potential for the use of sustainable and ecologically valuable artificial materials in coastal and oyster reef restoration.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
Byrum, Matthew, "Optimizing bioengineered coastal materials" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 1072.