Marine Science

Marine Science

Senior Theses 2003

Lindsey Miller Kraatz (2003). Historical shoreline change of Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands, west-central Florida
Faculty advisor: Gregg Brooks


Long-term and short-term shoreline change rates were calculated to examine and compare trends on a natural barrier system to one that has experienced significant human intervention. Evaluating rates of shoreline change can help predict long-tern shoreline change trends, can provide information that may help in developing storm damage plans, and help scientists and land use planners better understand the coastal processes of the area.

Data from Florida Department of Environmental Protection provided seven shorelines dating from 1884 to 2001 that were gathered and analyzed. Shoreline change rates were computed at a 20-meter spacing using linear regression. Over the past 117 years, HoneymoonIsland has seen a mean shoreline change of + 1.1 m/yr. However, during the past three decades, the barrier island has accreted at a rate of 4.3 m/yr. This accelerated increase can be attributed to the effect of several re-nourishment projects during that time period. Although there has been beach progradation throughout the entire extent of the island, significant erosion has occurred at the southern edge of the island where it meets HurricanePass, concurrent with the spatial extent of the re-nourishment projects. Therefore, it can be concluded that the addition of sand is slowing down the rate of erosion. In contrast, Caladesi Island has undergone relatively little change morphology, experiencing a mean shoreline accretion rate of 0.7 m/yr since 1884. On the other hand, over the past three decades, undeveloped and non-re-nourished Caladesi has experienced only a slight 0.3 m/yr accretion. Despite the lack of human intervention, the fact that the shoreline is accreting may attest to the stability of the island.

Student Research

Given the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and subtropical climate, the Tampa Bay region has a high concentration of marine research and academic institutions. Because of many local connections in the Tampa Bay area, a large number of opportunities are available to our students through government and private marine agencies and laboratories, public aquaria, marine conservation institutions, environmental consulting firms, and commercial aquaculture firms.

$1Mil Renovation Project

GMSL patio

The National Science Foundation awarded Eckerd College $870,720 to renovate research spaces within the Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory during the summer of 2011. Eckerd contributions to the project bring the total renovation budget to over $1 million. Learn more.