Seasonal Variation in the Biomechanical Properties of American beachgrass


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American beachgrass is one of the most common dune grasses found on the East coast. This grass plays a vital role in protecting our beaches from tidal erosion as its densely growing stems dissipate wave energy and intricate root systems hold sediment in place. Hydrodynamic analysis can be done to understand how flows such as dune overwash move through and are modified by vegetation. A key component to modeling flow through coastal vegetation is the elastic modulus of the plant stem. As a perennial plant, American beachgrass goes through seasonal senescence and regrowth. To fully understand how this coastal grass can protect from flooding, waves and erosion, we must ask: how does American beachgrass's elastic modulus vary on a seasonal time scale? Sampling locations were chosen at sites where sediment overwash had been observed and a bi-monthly sampling procedure was established. It was found that the elastic modulus of beachgrass in NH may vary by up to a factor of 2 throughout the year, indicating that plant flexibility changes significantly with the seasons. This project will continue into the summer to complete sampling for a full seasonal cycle. The sampling and data analysis procedure developed can be followed to repeat the study over several years.


First Name Last Name
Tracy Mandel
Jenna Ehnot

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Submission Details

Conference URC
Event Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (ISE)
Added April 19, 2022, 11:07 a.m.
Updated April 19, 2022, 4:09 p.m.
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