Theses and Dissertations


Daniel Firth

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Sparks, Eric

Committee Member

Cebrian, Just

Committee Member

Colvin, Michael E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


This study investigated the main and interactive effects of nearshore breakwaters and marsh vegetation on faunal abundance and diversity along an eroded shoreline in Bon Secour Bay, Alabama. In summer 2016, eight replicates of three vegetation treatments plots (naturally vegetated, planted, and open) were established along a breakwater-protected and an adjacent no breakwater shoreline. After which, three methods were used to evaluate nekton quarterly from summer 2016 to summer 2018; Breder traps along the shoreline and lift nets and trawls in nearshore waters. Data were analyzed using the Shannon-Weiner diversity index and ANOVA. Results showed breakwaters supported significantly more abundant and diverse communities along the shoreline and in parallel nearshore waters than similar no breakwater sites. However, the main vegetation treatment effects were not significant. These findings suggest that living shoreline projects with nearshore breakwater support can be beneficial for fisheries enhancement in high-wave energy environments.