Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. David Hicks

Second Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Fierro

Third Advisor

Dr. Abdullah Rahman


The Bahia Grande is a 6,500-acre tidal basin located at the southernmost tip of Texas. Tidal flow into this coastal estuary was cut off by construction projects in the 1930s, causing the basin to dry up for ~70 years. In 2005, a pilot channel was built to reconnect the estuary to tidal waters, allowing the basin to refill. However, the pilot channel, in addition to other barriers within the basin, do not allow for adequate tidal exchange, leading to intermittent, extreme hypersalinity. Presumably because of the extreme hypersalinity in parts of the Bahia Grande, seagrass beds, which play vital roles in controlling community composition and driving biotic processes in estuaries, are not uniform throughout the estuary. Thus, this project aimed to develop salinity and seagrass distribution models for the Bahia Grande and to investigate changes in trace gas fluxes, fish community structure, and macroinvertebrate community structure along those gradients.


Copyright 2019 Catherine Eckert. All Rights Reserved.