In college, I took a wetlands course, which was possibly my favorite undergraduate course. Our midterm exam consisted of exploring and understanding the coastal and anthropogenic processes that contribute to wetland loss or gain in the Mississippi River Delta. Finding this topic fascinating, I wanted to study this issue in more depth, so I applied to a summer internship at LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium). I really enjoyed the fieldwork and found the project so interesting that I decided to apply to Tulane to continue working on it for my Masters. My research project is on Chenier Plain wetlands in southwest Louisiana. South Louisiana is known for its colossal coastal wetland loss, particularly in the Delta Plain region. This land loss is mainly attributed to high rates of subsidence and sea level rise. In southwest Louisiana however, wetland gain has been observed. Last summer, we collected five 2-meter sediment cores in a recently filled-in coastal lake, Miller Lake, that demonstrate sediment accretion and marsh development. I am interested in understanding the processes that lead to wetland development in the Chenier Plain, beginning with the sediment dynamics and coastal oceanic and fluvial processes that contribute to wetland growth in Miller Lake. More specifically, I am exploring the interaction between the influences of the increased flow of the Atchafalaya River and storm impact deposition in Miller Lake.
Life as a graduate student so far is both interesting and challenging. Living, studying, and working in New Orleans and at LUMCON offers many insights into the southern Louisiana culture. The people, the food, the music, the festivals, the fishing, the gator hunting (yes, just like on Swamp People!) all make this place very unique and absolutely enchanting. There is never a dull moment and time management becomes very challenging! Nevertheless, the graduate students in the program are more than willing to work together in and out of class. The professors are ready to help and push our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In terms of the research, I have only just begun and look forward to the direction it will take me.
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