University researchers study coastal dunes

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Image credit: Liam Mills | 2019 Wattle Range Photographic Competition 'What a View'

A group of professors and students from Adelaide’s Flinders University were in Beachport last week conducting coastal dune studies with the support of the Wattle Range Council staff.

Students and scientists from the Beach and Dune Systems (BEADS) Lab in the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University are studying wind flow and sand transport dynamics over the Post Office Rock dunes.

Professor Patrick Hesp, along with PhD students Sam Davidson and Marcio daSilva placed multiple sonic anemometers and sand traps across the high eroding dunes to examine how the wind flow behaves as it accelerates up and over the very steep unvegetated scarp and how it transports sand up and over the dune system.

"The dune at Post Office Rock is one of the most rapidly eroding dunes in Australia, and it provides an excellent place to study how eroding dunes translate upwards and landwards with shoreline erosion," Professor Hesp explained. "In addition, it provides an excellent example of how dunes may respond as sea level rises," he said.

Student Sam Davidson is conducting his Ph.D research on the bay and dune system. In addition to the wind flow study, he is examining the historical evolution and shoreline changes of the bay, along with dune changes using drone surveys.

Council’s Manager Assets & Environment, Lauren Oxlade said “Council has been proud to support Flinders University in their research on this vulnerable section of coast over several years.  This work complements the investigations Council is undertaking in Rivoli Bay and will inform the future management of our unique coast.”

The researchers will return in March to further discover underwater processes using a robotic vessel.


For further information please contact:

Lauren Oxlade, Manager Assets & Environment
Email:                       council@wattlerange.sa.gov.au
Telephone:                (08) 8733 0901