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Y'all, I just need to brag about the students in my Barrier Islands class. While studying for their exam (which they're taking right now), they created a bunch of barrier-island-themed memes that combine #geology concepts, #coastal issues, & #humor. 1/
Almost all semester I've explained how most barrier islands worldwide are geologically "new," having only been made <10,000 years ago, but that the Georgia barrier islands are composite, made by two different shorelines during the Pleistocene & Holocene. #geology 2/
We also recently learned about how humans have interacted with barrier islands during those past <10,000 years, and how it changed from seasonal use to unsustainable over-development. #geology #coastal 3/
When learning about natural systems of barrier islands, we covered how maintaining coastal dunes was a good idea for both undeveloped & developed islands. #geology 4/
We also learned that so-called "hard" reinforcement of shorelines on barrier islands (seawalls, rip-rap, jetties) can cause its own set of problems, which can't necessarily be solved through engineering alone. #geology 5/
Case studies of barrier island systems helped students to realize that different islands have different #geology & #ecology factors affecting them, such as sand supply, tides, waves, storms, vegetation, & more. 6/
Knowing that each barrier-island system has its own distinctive #geology & #ecology helped students understand that sea-level rise from #ClimateChange might also affect them differently going into the future. (Photo supplied by one of the students from a class field trip). 7/
But terms can get confusing when teaching about or studying barrier islands. I remember the first time I taught about the #Arctic islands, I had to read & re-read these processes to understand how they were different. #geology 8/
Speaking of the #Arctic islands, the students learned how sea-level rise, warming seas, & other effects of #ClimateChange are impacting the Alaska islands, including the submergence of an former island that's now classified as a shoal (Dinkum Sands). #geology 9/
Another #Arctic island, Shishmaref (Alaska), has hundreds of people living there, but it is eroding rapidly from a lack of sea ice (which brings in sediment), melting of the permafrost, a rising ocean, & other factors. #geology 10/
Now we turn a little closer to home with the Georgia barrier islands. Cumberland Island, which is a U.S. National Seashore (managed by the NPS), has had feral horses there for decades, which bring in lots of tourists, but cause lots of #geology & #ecology related problems. 11/
Another Georgia barrier island, Jekyll, is officially protected as a state park in part, but also has been allowing more development in the past decade, including a new convention center just behind its coastal dunes. #geology 12/
At least 3 species of sea turtles dig nests on the Georgia coast: loggerhead, green, & leatherbacks. One of those islands, St. Catherines, has a major problem with feral hogs digging up & eating the eggs, along with native raccoons. #InvasiveSpecies 13/
Back to engineering of barrier-island shorelines, we looked at how the dynamic & unstable nature of the sedimentary environments of most islands means that human attempts to alter them often created more problems. #geology 14/
Although I'm "just" a geologist & don't have any training in policy, management, or economics, (my esteemed colleague @FishSocSci teaches our students all that stuff), we still discuss how some policy decisions on the basis of science that is funded, or not. 15/
We also examined how developers on barrier islands sometimes may not be taking into account the effects of natural systems (#geology & #ecology) on their coastal-development projects, or if they are aware, well... 16/
And the last barrier-island-themed meme in this most excellent series relates to the students having a "favorite" island. While using Google Earth in class one day, "Wahoo Island" (Georgia) popped up, & all of them agreed that with a name like this, this was their favorite. 17/17
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