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

None available at this time

Current Research Assistants

SE Students
Garland Pennison


MSCE Students
Patrick Hautau
Marshall Hayden
Kate Haynes
Justin Lowlavar
Vijaya Satya Lohitha Mukkamala
Jackie Wittmann


Undergraduate Students
Derek Kelly
Rh'Monte Wilson

Former Students

MSCE Students
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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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.





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.





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.





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.


conference_logo_mashupIt’s been a busy couple of months around here. Our research group hit the conference trail in late October and didn’t stop until a couple of weeks ago. The tour started in late October with a trip to Tampa, Florida for the 2012 Restore America’s Estuaries conference. The RAE 2012 proceedings can be found here. We gave two poster presentations on our Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) living shorelines research project: one on our living shorelines database effort with ASCE-COPRI [2], and another on the development of our decision support toolkit for the optimization of breakwaters [5].


Less than 24 hours later, my wheels touched down in Miami, Florida for the ATC-SEI Advances in Hurricane Engineering conference. This event brought together engineers from many fields for a two-day meeting on issues ranging from flood damage to wind failure. Here, we presented the results from our deployment of storm surge and wave gages on Dauphin Island, Alabama, during Hurricane Isaac [7]. The deployment is part of a long-term monitoring program funded by MASGC.


The late fall months of even-numbered years on the Gulf Coast brings with it not only empty, beautiful beaches but also the Bays & Bayous Symposium. This bi-state conference is a collaboration between the MASGC and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, with each program taking turns hosting the event in their home state every four years. Our research group provided three presentations at this event: one poster presentation on laboratory experiments conducted to measure the wave attenuating capability of various living shoreline breakwater technologies [1]; an oral presentation on our MASGC-funded living shorelines project [4]; and another oral presentation on our MASGC-funded surge and wave monitoring program for Dauphin Island, Alabama [6].


Our (mostly) annual pilgrimage to the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California concluded the fall conference tour in early December. I gave a poster presentation, and co-authored another, in the Nearshore Processes section of Ocean Sciences on some work that I did with my colleague and good friend Dr. Rob Weaver of the Florida Institute of Technology. You may recall a series of blog posts from the field in late July describing a three-day field experiment conducted in the Indian River Lagoon estuary of Florida using the South Alabama Jag Ski. Our complementary poster presentations [3,8] provided an overview of the experiment, as well as preliminary results. We hope that these posters rapidly evolved into manuscripts in the coming months, and we thank all of the constructive criticism we received during the meeting.


Normally I might try to link up all of our posters and presentations… but there are just too many to do that in one post. So, if you have a specific interest in something mentioned here, please just shoot me a message or leave a comment and I will send you the stuff. In order to make this process a bit easier please just refer to one of the specific citations listed below… these cover everything mentioned in this post. I will eventually link up everything in some revamped research pages coming in early 2013. Also of note… we will be moving to a new domain in the coming days. The new site address will be Hopefully you will receive an automatic redirect when accessing the site using the current domain name. More details to follow in a subsequent post.


  1. Allen, R. J., Webb, B. M. 2012. Engineered reefs: a comprehensive evaluation of wave transmission through physical modeling. Mississippi-Alabama Bays and Bayous Symposium, Poster No. 21. Biloxi, MS, Nov 14-15.
  2. Buhring, T., Webb, B. M., Douglass, S. L., Powers, S., Scyphers, S., Allen, R. J. 2012. A database on living shorelines with breakwaters: did we miss your project? Restore America’s Estuaries Conference, Poster No. PP-1. Tampa, FL, Oct 21-23.
  3. Weaver, R. J., Webb, B. M. 2012. Surface water quality survey of northern Indian River Lagoon from Sebastian Inlet to Mosquito Lagoon. Eos. Trans. AGU XX (XX), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract OS21B-1750.
  4. Webb, B. M., Douglass, S. L., Allen, R. J., Buhring, T. 2012. Maximizing the ecological and engineering benefits of living shorelines through the effective design of breakwaters. Mississippi-Alabama Bays and Bayous Symposium. Biloxi, MS, Nov 14-15.
  5. Webb, B. M., Douglass, S. L., Powers, S., Scyphers, S., Allen, R. J., Buhring, T. 2012. Decision support tools for the design of structures in living shorelines. Restore America’s Estuaries Conference, Poster No. STP-14. Tampa, FL, Oct 21-23.
  6. Webb, B. M., Rogers, S., Kennedy, A., Gravois, U., Omar, H. 2012. Measurements of storm surge and waves on Dauphin Island during Hurricane Isaac. Mississippi-Alabama Bays and Bayous Symposium. Biloxi, MS, Nov 14-15.
  7. Webb, B. M., Kennedy, A., Rogers, S., Gravois, U., Omar, H. 2012. A wave, water level, and structural monitoring plan for Dauphin Island, Alabama. In: Proceedings of the ATC-SEI Advances in Hurricane Engineering Conference, ASCE, Reston, VA.
  8. Webb, B. M., Weaver, R. J. 2012. A tale of two inlets: tidal currents at two adjacent inlets in the Indian River Lagoon estuary, Florida. Eos. Trans. AGU XX (XX), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract OS21B-1751.