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Top Story

Is the coast clear? Not in many beachfront areas

For nearly a century, the O'Shaughnessy seawall has held back the sand and seas of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. At work even longer: the Galveston seawall, built after America's deadliest hurricane killed thousands in Texas in 1900. These are just two examples of how America's coasts -- especially those with large urban populations -- have been armored with human-made structures. Though these structures help protect communities against natural disasters, these "lines in the sand" limit the ability of the shoreline to respond to changes in sea level and other coastal processes. Recent research on the resulting ecological effects has largely been conducted in specific settings, making it difficult to generalize the results across ecosystems and structure types. A new study provides a key first step toward generalizing ecological responses to armoring in the widely diverse coastal settings where these structures are used.

Visit Website | Image credit: Eduardo Jaramillo, Universidad Austral de Chile