Science on Sound on shoreline erosion, March 29, CSI

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Coastal Studies Institute and East Carolina University are hosting a lecture on shoreline erosion control strategies as part of the Science on the Sound lecture series.

This series, held monthly, highlights information on coastal topics and issues in northeast North Carolina.

This month, the program will feature Dr. Rachel Gittman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at East Carolina.

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Gittman’s presentation is entitled “Are We Engineering Away Our Natural Defenses Along North Carolina’s Coast?” It highlights a variety of erosion control strategies, both natural and engineered, and the benefits each bring to coastal systems.

The program will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 29, at the Coastal Studies Institute located at 850 NC 345, Wanchese. The presentation is free and the public is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

The demand for coastal defense strategies against storms has increased with population growth and development along coastlines. Shoreline hardening is a practice designed to prevent erosion and loss of property, but that also has the potential to alter coastal ecosystem function.

Gittman’s research focuses on understanding the extent, drivers, and ecological consequences of shoreline hardening (e.g., bulkheads), as well as evaluating the functionality of alternative shore protection approaches, such as living shorelines.

Results from multi-year field studies and waterfront resident surveys in North Carolina suggest that living shorelines, promote higher diversity and abundances of marine organisms, and are also more resilient to erosion and damage from major storm events than bulkheads.

This program will be streamed live at and the online viewing audience will be able to ask the presenter questions via an online chat room.