Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. David Hicks

Second Advisor

Dr. Alejndro Fierro-Cabo

Third Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Pruitt


Dune restoration is a common method of increasing coastal resilience. A dune restoration program was initiated by the City of South Padre Island, TX in 2010 consisting primarily of plantings of Sea Oats, Uniola paniculata, and Bitter Panicum, Panicum amarum and has continued approximately annually thereafter. These restoration efforts were evaluated in this study by comparing dune ecological structure and function among reference sites and restoration plots ranging in age from 2 to 5 years. Plant and animal communities were examined using a combination of quadrat sampling, funnel traps, pit-falls and sweep nets. Soil organic content and soil electric conductivity were also measured. Dune volumes and heights were calculated using a 2013 Lidar DEM. Plant communities were similar across 2 and 4 year old plots but differed markedly among 2 and 5 year plots and among all restoration plots and undisturbed reference sites. Animal communities followed a similar trend in which all restoration plots differed from the reference sites with the exception of 5 year old plots which were similar. There was additionally a significant correlation between plot age and dune heights. These results suggest that native dune plant restorations as implemented by the City of South Padre Island from 2010-2015 are successful in initiating plant and animal community succession and increasing coastal resiliency.


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