Contact

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

Research Positions

Currently seeking an MSCE student to perform research on groundwater impacts to coastal lagoons. A research assistantship is available. Contact me for more details.

Current Research Assistants

SE Students
Garland Pennison

 

MSCE Students
Patrick Hautau
Marshall Hayden
Jackie Wittmann

 

Undergraduate Students
Derek Kelly

Former Students

MSCE Students
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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Title slide image for ASBPA 2017 presentation

I recently presented the results of a year-long research project on synthesizing the capacity of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) to reduce coastal storm hazards. The presentation was given in the Living Shorelines session at ASPA 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in October. The project, and presentation, were a collaboration between researchers at USA, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Northeastern University, the City College of New York, and the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center who funded the project.

 

More than 200 published research papers were identified, evaluated, and synthesized in this work. The synthesis focuses on the ability of marshes, mangroves, maritime forests, seagrasses, reefs, beaches, and dunes to attenuate waves, storm surge, flooding, and erosion. With very few exceptions, the literature does not contain unified methods for analyzing and describing these capabilities, and the range of values describing their performance is broad. Regardless of the uncertainty in published values, there is literature that supports the capacity of each of the NNBF considered to provide some measurable reduction of coastal storm hazards. A logical next step is to perform a detailed meta-analysis on values reported in these publications in order to determine average performance values and characterizations of their uncertainty.

 

A short animation of the presentation can be viewed by clicking on the title slide shown here. Please contact me for a full copy of the presentation.

 

Suggested citation below…

Webb, B. M., Scyphers, S., Cebrian, J., Gittman, R., Sharma, S., Rosati, J. 2017. Evaluating the capacity of natural and nature-based features to reduce coatal storm hazards. American Shore & Beach Preservation Association National Coastal Conference. Fort Lauderdale, FL Oct. 24-27.

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This year’s National Summit on Coastal & Estuarine Restoration, co-sponsored by Restore America’s Estuaries and the The Coastal Society, was held at the Gaylord National in Washington, DC. There was a definite focus on living shorelines at the meeting: dedicated sessions on the topic were available throughout the conference schedule… and you didn’t even have to change rooms!

 

The University of South Alabama provided three presentations in the living shorelines category at this year’s meeting. Dr. Scott Douglass lead us off on Monday, his graduate student Kari Servold provided a retrospective on Tuesday, and I wrapped things up in the last session of the conference on Wednesday. The citations are listed below.

 

  • Douglass, S. L., Webb, B. M., and Servold, K. (2014). A primer on coastal engineering for “living shorelines.” 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, Washington, DC. Nov 1 – 6.
  • Servold, K., Douglass, S. L., and Prado, B. (2014). Ten years later – a retrospective investigation of design elements used to develop successful living shorelines in Alabama. 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, Washington, DC. Nov 1 – 6.
  • Webb, B. M., Douglass, S. L., and Herder, T. (2014). Community-based restoration: a living shoreline for Mon Louis Island, Alabama. 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, Washington, DC. Nov 1 – 6.

 

 

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I just returned from a quick visit to Washington, D.C. for the annual Transportation Research Board meeting. I provided a presentation on wave-induced local pier scour and submitted a paper for publication in the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. A decision on final publication is pending and should be made soon. The paper abstract can be downloaded  {here}. A citation is listed below. The full paper is available in the compendium of papers distributed at the TRB meeting. Click on the TRB logo for a direct link to the meeting web site. Contact me directly if you are interested in seeing a copy of the presentation.

 

  • Webb, B. M., Matthews, M. T. 2014. Wave-induced scour at cylindrical piles: estimating equilibrium scour depth in a transition zone. Meeting of the Transportation Research Board. Washington, D.C., Jan 14-16.

 

 

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The Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation held their 22nd biennial conference in sunny San Diego, CA back in November 2013. The theme of the conference, “Toward Resilient Coasts and Estuaries, Science for Sustainable Solutions,” was evident throughout the event. There were a number of excellent sessions and presentations during the conference, as well as some good side conversations!

 

I gave two presentations at last year’s CERF meeting: one on living shorelines and another on work that Chris Marr completed for his MSCE thesis in 2013. The citations and abstracts are linked below. Please contact me if you are interested in either (or both) presentations.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Marr, C. D., Webb, B. M. 2013. Hydrodynamic modeling of turnover times in Mobile Bay, Alabama and their sensitivity to tides, fluvial discharge, and meteorological forcing. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, November 3 – 7, San Diego, CA.

 

 

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One of my graduate students, Chris Marr, recently completed his thesis research on the spatial variability of residence, exposure, and flushing times of Mobile Bay, Alabama. A copy of Chris’ final thesis can be found {here}.

 

I was given the opportunity to present Chris’ research results at today’s 2013 Alabama Water Resources Conference in Orange Beach, Alabama. Click on the image at right for a PDF of the presentation. For those of you that didn’t make it to see the presentation, I narrated a version and have embedded the video below.

 

 

 

*Note: we have modified the results slightly based on recent input from colleagues. The changes generally only affect results in Bon Secour Bay. The narration and presentation show the update results.