Bret M. Webb, Ph.D., P.E., D.CE
University of South Alabama
150 Jaguar Drive, SH3142
Mobile, AL 36688 USA
Phone: (251) 460-6174
Fax: (251) 461-1400

Research Positions

Currently seeking multiple graduate students to fill positions at the MS, PhD, and Postdoc levels. Research topics include: living shorelines, beach and tidal inlet dynamics, barrier island response to extreme events, groundwater impacts to coastal lagoons, and infrastructure resilience. Research assistantships are available. Click here for more information.

Current Research Assistants

PhD Students
Garland Pennison


MS Students
Kelsey Carpenter
Sean McQuagge
Elizabeth Winter
Jackie Wittmann


Undergraduate Students
Ian Cox

Former Students

MSCE Students
Patrick Hautau (2018)
Marshall Hayden (2018)
Kate Haynes (2018)
Justin Lowlavar (2017)
Bryan Groza (2016)
Kari Servold (2015)
Chris Marr (2013)
Richard Allen (2013)
Miyuki Matthews (2012)


Post Docs
Jon Risinger
Jungwoo Lee

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Live Site Traffic





Our new wave-current flume was unloaded (in many, many well-packed pieces) from its two 40-ft freight containers today. The amazing USA staff and moving subcontractors, orchestrated by Mr. Paul Read from Armfield, managed to completely unpack both containers and get everything into our new lab space. You cannot fathom the enormity of those tasks and to see it all happen as smoothly as it did was unexpected. The day concluded with about 15 very strong guys manhandling one ton of tank and steel frame… a very tricky task indeed.


The enclosed photograph shows the floor frames laid out and aligned to accept the floor panels and section frames. You can see the 1700-lb discharge tank at the end of the room… in the inverted position by which it was brought into the room (the only way it would fit). This is the tank that was completely rolled over and set on its steel floor frame.  Many of the floor panels can be seen stacked to the right side of the floor frames.


I will be posting updates and photos each day until it is complete. Stay tuned!



The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration recently released a new Hydraulic Engineering Circular focused on assessing extreme events in coastal areas. More information can be found {here}.


This new document is a second, stand alone volume (Volume 2) for the very popular HEC 25 document, “Highways in the Coastal Environment.” The guidance document, authored by Scott Douglass, Bret Webb, and Roger Kilgore, provides an overview of the critical coastal processes that damage transportation infrastructure and how those processes might be modified under extreme events and climate change. In keeping with the tradition of other HEC guidance documents, the manual also provides a three-level assessment methodology for performing vulnerability assessments.


The document is written for a national audience but contains regionally specific information about coastal processes, possible impacts of climate variability on those processes, and methods for assessing vulnerability in coastal regions. The authors made a concerted effort to ensure that the document would be understood by engineers and non-engineers alike.








I would like to welcome Dr. Jon D. Risinger to the University of South Alabama. Dr. Risinger has accepted a position as a postdoctoral research assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering at USA. Dr. Risinger received a BS in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from the Louisiana State University, an MSCE in Water Resources from Cal State Fresno, and a PhD in Biological/Biosystems Engineering and Coastal Science from the Louisiana State University. Dr. Risinger’s expertise and current areas of practice and research are in biologically dominated breakwater reefs and so-called non rock alternatives for shore protection. While at USA, Dr. Risinger will be performing research on biologically dominated breakwater reefs in the USA Wave Basin facility. Please visit Dr. Risinger’s {LinkedIn} page for more information.




INTECH book cover


The book chapter that I wrote with Dr. Sam Russ (USA Dept. Electrical & Computer Engineering) has been downloaded more than 2000 times since it was published in 2011! Click on the book cover for a link to the chapter web site, and to find more information about the book.

2012_stats_post-imageSo not quite a full year in review seeing as how this is being prepared on Christmas Eve… but at only seven days shy of a full year let’s just say it’s close enough. Plus, I’m going to be busy migrating this site to its new home next week so I won’t have time to prepare my yearly summary prior to the New Year. In the event that you are not automatically directed to it, the new site address will be:


This has been a great year… full of firsts, moves, awards, research projects, publications, presentations, and graduations. Here is a brief list of what our research team has experienced this year:

  • Moved to new 155,000 sq.ft. engineering and computer science building (Shelby Hall)
  • First MSCE thesis student graduated in August 2012
  • Two papers accepted to peer-reviewed journals
  • Two peer-reviewed conference proceeding papers
  • One publication in a trade journal
  • Eighteen conference and/or professional meeting presentations
  • One mentoring award
  • Three student awards
  • Two multi-year research projects with awards of +$350,000
  • One $15k research project completed for The Nature Conservancy
  • Three graduate classes, two undergraduate labs, one undergraduate class, one graduate directed study course, and lots of hours of thesis supervision


With regards to web site traffic we had a blockbuster year. In a post from early this year describing the 2011 site traffic stats, I set a goal of 1000 unique visits for the 2012 calendar year. We exceeded our goal and then some. From January 1 – December 24 of 2012 we have seen 2770 page loads, 1771 unique visits, 1514 first time visitors, and 257 returning visitors. Those numbers are almost double what the site saw in 2011. That means more people are learning about our research and the University of South Alabama… those are both very positive outcomes. Click on the image above for an expanded view of the total number of page loads by day for the 2012 year.


Thanks, everyone, for your interest and support. Please come back to visit us in the new year… at our new domain: Things will be cleaned up and reorganized a bit. You may have already noticed our new header design. Thanks to Nate Christopher, Graphic Designer at Fondriest Environmental for the excellent line sketch of the South Alabama Jag Ski. It will be featured quite a bit in the new year.