Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Angelos Hannides


Beaches are heavily influenced by extreme events, such as hurricanes. Biological and chemical processes, such as primary production and diagenesis are often interrupted by these events. To examine the effects of hurricanes on coastal biogeochemistry, this study used sand and porewater samples from Waties Island, SC, which were collected before and after Hurricane Idalia. The samples were analyzed for macronutrient concentrations, organic content, and chlorophyll concentrations. Macronutrient pore water concentration changes were not uniform. The inventory of nitrite decreased significantly after the storm, which was reflected in slight increases in the inventories of nitrate and ammonium. Concentrations of nitrate, which dominated the Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) pool, were more uniformly distributed throughout the sediment column after the surge, possibly indicating pore water mixing. Phosphate pore water concentrations and inventories only increased slightly post-storm but are not statistically different. The sedimentary chlorophyll inventory increased by 10% post-surge, probably indicating filtration of chlorophyll-bearing particles by the sediment column. Finally, organic matter content of the sandy column was higher post-surge, however it remained fairly low at less than 1%. These findings provide preliminary insights into the biogeochemical effects of a storm surge on a barrier island beach sandy column that are sorely lacking.