Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Can storms and shore armouring exert additive effectson sandy-beach habitats and biota?

Serena Lucrezi A , Thomas A. Schlacher A C and Wayne Robinson B

A Faculty of Science, Health & Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Qld 4558, Australia.

B School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Old Sydney Road, Thurgoona,NSW 2641, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: tschlach@usc.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 61(9) 951-962 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF09259
Submitted: 13 October 2009  Accepted: 26 January 2010   Published: 23 September 2010

Abstract

Increased storminess is a likely consequence of global climate change; its effects may be most dramatic on coasts dominated by sandy beaches. This scenario demands that the impacts of storms and the role of armouring structures, constructed as storm defences, are better understood. Here, we assess how a relatively small storm affected beach morphology and macrobenthos, and whether a seawall can modulate such impacts. The study system was a small (<1.5 km long) beach, bisected into parts with and without a seawall. The beach became narrower and steeper during the storm, when 26% of the subaerial sediment prism eroded from the armoured section; sand losses on the unarmoured part were one-fifth of those on the armoured part. Densities of ghost crabs (Ocypode) dropped significantly (36%) and were to some extent modulated by shore armouring; losses were high (62%) just seawards of the seawall where post-storm densities remained consistently lower. There was no ecological recovery in the short term, with most (83%) post-storm density values of crabs being lower, and crab counts in front of the seawall being depressed up to 3 months after the storm. Seawalls can change the resilience of beaches to storms, which may result in stronger ecological effects on armoured coasts.

Additional keywords: climate change, erosion, ghost crabs, Ocypode, recovery, sandy shores, storm impacts.


References

Ashton A. D.Donnelly J. P.Evans R. L.2008A discussion of the potential impacts of climate change on the shorelines of the northeastern USA.Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change13719743doi:10.1007/S11027-007-9124-3

Barrass R.1963The burrows of Ocypode ceratophthalmus (Pallas) (Crustacea, Ocypodidae) on a tidal wave beach at Inhaca Island, Mocambique.Journal of Animal Ecology327385doi:10.2307/2518

Blott S. J.Pye K.2001GRADros. Inf. Serv.TAT: a grain size distribution and statistics package for the analysis of unconsolidated sediments.Earth Surface Processes and Landforms2612371248doi:10.1002/ESP.261

Brown A. C., Nordstrom K., McLachlan A., Jackson N. L., and Sherman D. J. (2008). Sandy shores of the near future. In ‘Aquatic Ecosystems’. (Ed. N. V. C. Polunin.) pp. 263–280. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.)

Castelle B.Le Corre Y.Tomlinson R.2008Can the Gold Coast beaches withstand extreme events?Geo-Marine Letters282330doi:10.1007/S00367-007-0086-Y

Charlier R. H.Chaineux M. C. P.Morcos S.2005Panorama of the history of coastal protection.Journal of Coastal Research2179111doi:10.2112/03561.1

Chiew F., and Siriwardena L. (2005). ‘Trend (Trend/Change Detection Software) – User Guide.’ (CRC Catchment Hydrology: Melbourne.)

Christoffers E. W. (1986). Ecology of the ghost crab Ocypode quadrata (Fabricius) on Assateague Island, Maryland, and the impacts of various human uses of the beach on their distribution and abundance. Ph.D. Thesis, Michigan State University, Ann Harbor, MI.

Defeo O.McLachlan A.Schoeman D. S.Schlacher T. A.Dugan J.et al.2009Threats to sandy beach ecosystems: a review.Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science81112doi:10.1016/J.ECSS.2008.09.022

Dugan J. E.Hubbard D. M.2006Ecological responses to coastal armouring on exposed sandy beaches.Shore and Beach741016

Dugan J. E.Hubbard D. M.Rodil I. F.Revell D. L.Schroeter S.2008Ecological effects of coastal armoring on sandy beaches.Marine Ecology29160170
doi:10.1111/J.1439-0485.2008.00231.X

Elsner J. B.Kossin J. P.Jagger T. H.2008The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones.Nature4559295doi:10.1038/NATURE07234

Fletcher C. H.Mullane R. A.Richmond B. M.1997Beach loss along armored shorelines on Oahu, Hawaiian Islands.Journal of Coastal Research13209215

Harvey N.Woodroffe C. D.2008Australian approaches to coastal vulnerability assessment.Sustainability Science36787
doi:10.1007/S11625-008-0041-5

Hobbs C. H.Landry C. B.Perry J. E.2008Assessing anthropogenic and natural impacts on ghost crabs (Ocypode quadrata) at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina.Journal of Coastal Research2414501458doi:10.2112/07-0856.1

Holland G. J.Webster P. J.2007Heightened tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic: natural variability or climate trend?Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A – Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences36526952716doi:10.1098/RSTA.2007.2083

Inman M.2009Where warming hits hard.Nature Reports Climate Change31821doi:10.1038/CLIMATE.2009.3

IPCC (2007). ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’ Available at http://www.ipcc.ch [verified 27 January 2010].

Jaramillo E.Croker R. A.Hatfield E. B.1987Long-term structure, disturbance, and recolonization of macroinfauna in a New Hampshire sand beach.Canadian Journal of Zoology6530243031doi:10.1139/Z87-458

Jones A. R.Gladstone W.Hacking N. J.2007Australian sandy-beach ecosystems and climate change: ecology and management.Australian Zoologist34190202

Jones A. R.Murray A.Lasiak T. A.Marsh R. E.2008The effects of beach nourishment on the sandy-beach amphipod Exoediceros fossor: impact and recovery in Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia.Marine Ecology (Berlin)29S12836
doi:10.1111/J.1439-0485.2007.00197.X

List J. H.Farris A. S.Sullivan C.2006Reversing storm hotspots on sandy beaches: spatial and temporal characteristics.Marine Geology226261279doi:10.1016/J.MARGEO.2005.10.003

Lucrezi S.Schlacher T. A.Walker S. J.2009aMonitoring human impacts on sandy shore ecosystems: a test of ghost crabs (Ocypode spp.) as biological indicators on an urban beach.Environmental Monitoring and Assessment152413424doi:10.1007/S10661-008-0326-2

Lucrezi S.Schlacher T. A.Robinson W.2009bHuman disturbance as a cause of bias in ecological indicators for sandy beaches: experimental evidence for the effects of human trampling on ghost crabs (Ocypode spp.).Ecological Indicators9913921doi:10.1016/J.ECOLIND.2008.10.013

McLachlan A.Dorvlo A.2005Global patterns in sandy beach macrobenthic communities.Journal of Coastal Research21674687doi:10.2112/03-0114.1

Morton R. A.Paine J. G.Gibeaut J. C.1994Stages and durations of post-storm beach recovery, southeastern Texas Coast, USA.Journal of Coastal Research10884908

Moss D.McPhee D. P.2006The impacts of recreational four-wheel driving on the abundance of the ghost crab (Ocypode cordimanus) on a subtropical sandy beach in SE Queensland.Coastal Management34133140
doi:10.1080/08920750500379383

Peterson C. H.Bishop M. J.Johnson G. A.D’Anna L. M.Manning L. M.2006Exploiting beach filling as an unaffordable experiment: benthic intertidal impacts propagating upwards to shorebirds.Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology338205221doi:10.1016/J.JEMBE.2006.06.021

Polomé P.Marzetti S.van der Veen A.2005Economic and social demands for coastal protection.Coastal Engineering52819840doi:10.1016/J.COASTALENG.2005.09.009

Regnauld H.Pirazzoli P. A.Morvan G.Ruz M.2004Impacts of storms and evolution of the coastline in western France.Marine Geology210325337

Rocke D. M.1989Robust control charts.Technometrics31173184
doi:10.2307/1268815

Schlacher T. A.Thompson L. M. C.2008Physical impacts caused by off-road vehicles (ORVs) to sandy beaches: spatial quantification of car tracks on an Australian barrier island.Journal of Coastal Research24234242doi:10.2112/06-0691.1

Schlacher T. A.Schoeman D. S.Lastra M.Jones A.Dugan J.et al.2006Neglected ecosystems bear the brunt of change.Ethology, Ecology and Evolution18349351

Schlacher T. A.Thompson L. M. C.Price S.2007aVehicles versus conservation of invertebrates on sandy beaches: quantifying direct mortalities inflicted by off-road vehicles (ORVs) on ghost crabs.Marine Ecology – Evolutionary Perspective28354367


Schlacher T. A.Dugan J.Schoeman D. S.Lastra M.Jones A.et al.2007bSandy beaches at the brink.Diversity & Distributions13556560
doi:10.1111/J.1472-4642.2007.00363.X

Schlacher T. A.Schoeman D. S.Dugan J. E.Lastra M.Jones A.et al.2008Sandy beach ecosystems: key features, sampling issues, management challenges and climate change impacts.Marine Ecology29S17090doi:10.1111/J.1439-0485.2007.00204.X

Short A. D.1996The role of wave height, period, slope, tide range and embaymentisation in beach classifications – a review.Revista Chilena de Historia Natural69589604

Slott J. M.Murray A. B.Ashton A. D.Crowley T. J.2006Coastline responses to changing storm patterns.Geophysical Research Letters33L18404
doi:10.1029/2006GL027445

Sousa W. P.1984The role of disturbance in natural communities.Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics15353391doi:10.1146/ANNUREV.ES.15.110184.002033

Tõnisson H.Orviku K.Jaagus J.Suursaar U.Kont A.et al.2008Coastal damages on Saaremaa Island, Estonia, caused by the extreme storm and flooding on January 9, 2005.Journal of Coastal Research24602614doi:10.2112/06-0631.1

Walker S. J.Schlacher T. A.Thompson L. M. C.2008Habitat modification in a dynamic environment: the influence of a small artificial groyne on macrofaunal assemblages of a sandy beach.Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science792434doi:10.1016/J.ECSS.2008.03.011

Weston M. A.Elgar M. A.2005Disturbance to brood-rearing hooded plover Thinornis rubricollis: responses and consequences.Bird Conservation International15193209doi:10.1017/S0959270905000158

Wong P. P.2003Where have all the beaches gone? Coastal erosion in the tropics.Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography24111132doi:10.1111/1467-9493.00146

Zhang K. Q.Douglas B.Leatherman S.2002Do storms cause long-term beach erosion along the US East Barrier Coast?Journal of Geology110493502doi:10.1086/340633

Zwiers F. W.von Storch H.1995Taking serial correlation into account in tests of the mean.Journal of Climate8336351doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<0336:TSCIAI>2.0.CO;2



Export Citation