Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Julie Zinnert

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald Young


Dune grasses are integral to biogeomorphic feedbacks that create and alter foredunes and barrier island stability. In a glasshouse study, Ammophila breviligulata Fern. and Uniola paniculata L. were planted together and subjected to sand burial to quantify morphological and physiological response. Ammophila breviligulata physiological and morphological performance declined when planted with U. paniculata but U. paniculata was not affected when planted with A. breviligulata. Burial had a positive effect on A. breviligulata and U. paniculata as indicated by electron transport rate and total biomass at the end of the experiment. Due to their different growth strategies, A. breviligulata and U. paniculata form continuous versus hummocky dunes, respectively. As global temperatures rise and U. paniculata migrates into A. breviligulata dominated habitat, A. breviligulata performance may diminish, and changes in dune form could result in altered island stability via increased overwash. Foredune community structure could also change due to the shift in dominant species which could alter dune succession.


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