Join us as we speak to Dr. Mara Orescanin is an Assistant Professor of Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School since 2016 where she researches and teaches coastal morphodynamics (where water and sand go at the beach).
Carmel River State Beach is constantly changing. In summer, sand builds up isolating the lagoon. In winter, high flow in the Carmel River can breach the lagoon. Where and when the water will breach changes year to year and is variable within the same season. Dr. Orescanin studies the movement of sand in the balance and interaction between the river and the ocean. When, where, and how frequently the river breaches affect the water quality and temperature of the lagoon, which impacts species like steelhead trout. It can also affect rising water and the potential for flooding in the Carmel Mission District. Dr. Orescanin works with graduate students from the naval postgraduate school, as well as high school students to monitor the movement of sand in this system. Using drones, satellite imagery, and ROVs Dr. Orescanin can characterize season change where the land meets the sea and understand the dynamics of similar systems found throughout the west coast and in other coastlines in the world. Understanding these systems is important for resource managers and planners when considering interventions like mechanical breaching and response and adaptation to changes on the coast as climate changes.
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