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CSAP: Past Student Bios

Coastal Science Assistantship Program (CSAP)

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Past Students

Student Project Title Major Professor
Sujan Baral,
Louisiana Tech University
Soil binding ability of natural vegetation Spartina alterniflora established on dredged soils in Louisiana coastal area Jay Wang
Benjamin Beasley,
University of New Orleans
Coupled Barrier Island and Shoreface Dynamics: A comprehensive understanding of coast-wide response to transgression Ioannis Y. Georgiou
Jonathan Bridgeman,
Tulane University
Understanding Mississippi Delta subsidence by integrating continuous coring with geodetic methods Torbjörn Törnqvist
Jack Cadigan,
Louisiana Tech University
Comprehensive Sediment Balance of Marsh Creation Projects: From Hydraulic Dredging to Self-weight Consolidation Navid H. Jafari
Brian Harris,
Louisiana State University
Predicting Subsurface Settlement of Marsh Creation Projects and Flood Protection Infrastructure in Coastal Louisiana Navid H. Jafari
Allison Haertling,
University of New Orleans
Planning for Population Loss in Coastal Louisiana Marla Nelson
Viet Quoc Le
University of New Orleans
Development of a comprehensive engineering design tool to predict and evaluate long term performance of Louisiana coastal restoration and protection projects Malay Ghose-Hajra
Peter Mates,
Louisiana State University
Determining Pre-project Wetland Soil and Estuarine Sediment Physical Properties and Phosphorus Cycling in the area of Influence of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion John White
Marie Mathews,
Tulane University
Understanding Mississippi Delta subsidence by integrating continuous coring with geodetic methods Torbjörn Törnqvist
Meagan McCoy,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Factors that determine patterns of wetland plant species zonation and productivity following sediment diversions Mark Hester
Mohiuddin Sakib,
University of New Orleans
Coupled Barrier Island and Shoreface Dynamics: A comprehensive understanding of coast-wide response to transgression Ioannis Y. Georgiou
Bo Wang,
Louisiana State University
Determining sediment accretion and availability in the lowermost Mississippi River Y. Jun Xu
Celeste Woock,
University of New Orleans
Subsidence patterns and processes in coastal Louisiana: A comprehensive approach Alex Kolker

 

Photo: Sujan Baral

Sujan Baral

Louisiana Tech University

Major Professor: Jay Wang
Project Title: Soil binding ability of natural vegetation Spartina alterniflora established on dredged soils in Louisiana coastal area

Sujan Baral is pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering from the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. His research will evaluate the anti-erosion ability of various vegetation – such as grasses and trees – for coastal protection. After earning his degree, his goal is to become a researcher in the field of civil engineering.

 


 

Jack CadiganJack Cadigan

Louisiana State University

Major Professor: Navid H. Jafari
Project Title: Comprehensive Sediment Balance of Marsh Creation Projects: From Hydraulic Dredging to Self-weight Consolidation

While many in Louisiana understand the problem of coastal wetland loss, many do not fully understand the efforts being undertaken to combat the loss. Cadigan seeks to address this with his research. Marsh creation projects are one of the ways Louisiana is trying to combat the coastal wetland loss problem. As marsh elevation dictates both biological productivity and the volume of dredged fill required by a marsh creation project, his research aims to optimize marsh creation design by developing guidelines for estimating the hydraulic efficiency and cut to fill ratio of dredged sediments for marsh creation projects. He then hopes to communicate how the marsh creation process works to locals and get feedback from them regarding who would be affected by the success or failure of these projects.


 

Brian HarrisBrian Harris

Louisiana State University

Major Professor: Navid H. Jafari
Project Title: Predicting Subsurface Settlement of Marsh Creation Projects and Flood Protection Infrastructure in Coastal Louisiana

Harris’s research group has seen the severity of coastal erosion and degradation first hand. Motivated by this, he is examining the geotechnical uncertainties of marsh creation and beach restoration sites throughout coastal Louisiana. Coastal regions, especially Louisiana, have highly unique soils. The soils in one basin can be drastically different to adjacent areas due to varying depositional environments altering plasticity, organic content, and compressibility. For this reason, accurately estimating the soil properties across the state is critical in ensuring the longevity of the project.


 

Photo: Allison HaertlingAllison Haertling

The University of New Orleans

Major professor: Marla Nelson
Project Title: Planning for Population Loss in Coastal Louisiana

In the face of coastal land loss, more advantaged residents tend to relocate, leaving behind the increasingly poor and elderly. The community composition will become further altered by subsequent declining tax revenues, reduced economic activities, increased blight, fewer resources and changes to local culture and heritage. Haertling will examine the changing population dynamics of Terrebonne Parish and resulting physical, social and fiscal impacts. This research seeks to identify the current and anticipated impacts of persistent population loss on coastal communities and the planning approaches that can be used to maintain existing infrastructure and services with a decreasing tax base. Haertling’s career goals include working in the renewable energy sector, floodplain/watershed management or green infrastructure. She is particularly interested in energy policy and the development of offshore wind technology in the Gulf of Mexico, specifically the possibility of converting decommissioned oil and gas drilling platforms to hydrogen and methane gas production and storage units powered by offshore wind.


 

Peter MatesPeter Mates

Louisiana State University

Major Professor: John White
Project Title: Determining Pre-project Wetland Soil and Estuarine Sediment Physical Properties and Phosphorus Cycling in the area of Influence of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion

Mates has viewed Louisiana’s wetland loss first hand, which has helped motivate perspective his research. Over the next few years, he will be analyzing the physical properties and phosphorus cycling of wetland soil and estuary sediments near the mid-Barataria sediment diversion. Excess phosphorus is a concern as it can lead to harmful algal blooms, which are a risk to human health and coastal fisheries. Mates wishes to pursue a career in coastal management and work to combat Louisiana’s degrading wetlands.


 

Marie MathewsMarie Mathews

Tulane University

Major Professor: Torbjörn Törnqvist
Project Title: Understanding Mississippi Delta subsidence by integrating continuous coring with geodetic methods

Mathews will focus on Louisiana’s salt marshes and coastal restoration techniques being implemented across the state to protect these habitats.  Specifically, she investigates the placement and performance of marsh terraces, which are designed to trap sediment and reduce erosion along marsh edges.  If these terraces are as productive and beneficial as hoped, then resources can be more effectively devoted to their implementation and other projects can be improved by incorporating successful aspects of these terraces into their designs.

Growing up near the Jersey Shore, she has always valued beaches and life along the coast.  After researching and experiencing Louisiana’s coastal land loss firsthand, she wants to devote her abilities – mentally and physically – to the restoration and protection of these environments.


 

Photo: Meagan McCoy

Meagan McCoy

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Major Professor: Mark Hester
Project Title: Factors that determine patterns of wetland plant species zonation and productivity following sediment diversions

Meagan McCoy is working toward her master’s degree in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research is designed to improve scientific understanding of how sediment diversions may influence plant community composition and productivity, and the resulting data could be utilized to further refine predictive modeling of the effectssediment diversions on coastal ecosystems. After earning her master’s degree, she plans to work in wetland restoration.


 

Mohiuddin Sakib

Mohiuddin Sakib

University of New Orleans

Major Professor: Ioannis Y. Georgiou
Project Title: Coupled Barrier Island and Shoreface Dynamics: A comprehensive understanding of coast-wide response to transgression

Sakib hopes to evaluate the shore face transport trends for both the short-term (event scale), near-term (~decadal scale, and longer-term (>20 year) time scales. He will do this by using coupled wave models with the flow module (within Delft3D Modeling Suite) and add sediment (multiple classes ranging from mud to sand using LASARD and BICM sediment samples distribution). This will create an assessment of key bypassing mechanisms of sediment along the shoreface, which is dominated by fine-grain sediments. This will also evaluate the fate of those sediments and provide insight into regional sediment budgets along the central coast of Louisiana. Moreover, assessing event-scale sediment transport, Sakib will figure out the additional implications on how sediment in exchanged between the shoreface and interior bays. Following graduate school, he plans to build a career in the field of coastal engineering.


 

Photo: Bo Wang

Bo Wang

Louisiana State University

Major Professor: Y. Jun Xu
Project Title: Determining sediment accretion and availability in the lowermost Mississippi River

Bo Wang is pursuing a master’s degree in watershed science from the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University. His research focuses on determining sediment accretion and availability in the lower Mississippi River. Riverine sediment is a valuable resource for Louisiana’s coast, but there are some unknowns about the variability of riverine sediment and actual divertible quantity in its lowermost reach in Louisiana. Following graduation, Wang plans to become a hydrology and watershed researcher.


 

Photo: Celeste Woock

Celeste Woock

University of New Orleans

Major Professor: Alex Kolker
Project Title: Subsidence patterns and processes in coastal Louisiana: A comprehensive approach

Celeste Woock is working toward her master’s degree in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans. She will be investigating patterns of subsidence across coastal Louisiana using a variety of datasets, such as water-level gauges, LIDAR, benchmarks, GPS stations and stratigraphic relationships. Short and long-term subsidence patterns remain one of the largest unknown aspects of the coastal zone and the intent of her project is to provide a better understanding of these patterns. Following graduate school, she plans to pursue a career in geophysical exploration.