Answers to the following questions were provided in the survey that was conducted in the Jacksonville Beach, Florida:
Impacts on the Beach and the Shoreline by Natural Physical Factors
Beaches are impacted by a number of natural occurrences, such as storms, hurricanes, waves, and tides. All these factors affect shorelines and beaches in different ways. Following the survey, it was established that tides affect the slope of the beach and the small dunes found on the same. Also, sand gets deposited on the beach in the form of waves because movement of tides on the shore and winds also take part in the process. On the other hand, storms and hurricanes have a much stronger effect regarding the depositing of sand on the shore. With the two, sand is deposited inland and the patterns formed by waves are destabilized, changing the overall slope of the beach. Plants growing along the beach also help in its shaping since their root systems hold to sand, maintaining its position. Another revelation the survey brought about concerning the shore and the beach is that stronger wave action leads to a steeper slope while weak wave action leads to a rather flatly shaped beach surface.
Impact of the Burrowing Organisms
Burrowing organisms play a variety of roles in the ecosystems where they can be found. In aquatic ecosystems, such as beaches, burrowing activity is determined by the different tides, shoreline, and the width of damp sand, among other factors. The presence of burrowing organisms is an indication of biodiversity in a given area. Some of the common organisms found at the beach, according to the survey, include blood worms and sand crabs. These organisms constantly change their position on the beach and do not have permanent habitats. One of the roles burrowing organisms play is in the determination of high tide and low tide lines since they move according to the water level and this is an important feature for researchers.
Effects of Sea Oats and Other Plants Found above the High Tide Line
Sea oats and plants help with the regulation of the rate of erosion at the beach as the plants’ root systems help in keeping sand together. Sea oats and plants found above the high tide line help in dune formation, which is part of the features found on the beach. Sea oats have a high tolerance of sea water and high salt spray, making them excellent species for growing on the beach with accumulating portions of sand and regulation of erosion.
Impacts Humans have on Beaches
The effects human beings have on the beaches are many and diverse. Unfortunately, most of these effects are negative and thus severely impact the plant and animal life on the same. Survey showed that human beings’ actions led to pollution along the shore an on the surface of the beach, increased the erosion rates, impacted marine life, which is affected by the pollution that is carried into the ocean at run off. Also, the habitats of both animals and birds at the beach are invaded by human activities, making the creatures migrate. This occurs due to congestion as more people build houses near the beach and set up businesses. Excessive fishing has also lead to depletion of fish life in the ocean.
Impacts Shade from Bridges, Tall Hotels, or Beach Walkovers have on Shoreline Ecosystems
The shadows cast on the shore by high buildings and bridges disrupt plant and animal life. Since the animals rely on light for a lot of their functions, the shadows cast inhibit their overall functioning, which is essential for the growth, development, and other activities, related to beach formation. On the other hand, plants require light for growth and development. However, if the plants stay invariably in the shadow of a tall building, they die. These deaths of plants and migration of animals robs the beach of biodiversity and reduces beneficial effects of having the plants and animals on the beach.
Effects of Trash that gets carried off the Beach with the Tides and Chemicals and Nutrients that are Washed into the sea with Storm Runoff
Trash and chemicals deposited on the beach and later transferred to the water during run off have several effects on aquatic life. Chemicals may lead to the death of animal life as a result of the substances’ interaction with internal organs of living beings and overwhelming their systems. Trash also chokes the plant and animal life and is unsightly when left on the surface of the beach. The pH of the water is affected by the addition of chemicals. Since certain organisms only thrive in a particular level of salinity and pH, then the disruption of this equilibrium undermines fauna and flora as well.
“Renourished” Beaches, those where Sand has been Added from Offshore, differ from Natural Beaches
Unlike natural beaches, the renourished ones have different wave patterns on the shore since the action of the water on the sand is different. The surface is man-made, meaning that there is more level than in natural beaches whereby the slope is dependent on the action of waves, wind, and tide.
The following graphs illustrate the various values collected from Site 1 and Site 2, depending on the pH, compaction and temperature at the beach.
Fig. 1. Compaction on Site 1 vs Site 2.
Fig. 2. Temperature on Site 1 vs Site 2.
Fig. 3. pH on Site 1 vs Site 2.
Fig. 4. White mullet fish
Fig. 4 shows a fish that was caught in the tide pools at the beach; it is classified as the Mugil curema, also referred to as white mullet.
Fig. 5. Clupeidae
The second fish that was caught and identified, as shown in the Fig.5, is from the fish family Clupeidae.
The survey assisted in gathering of important data, essential in understanding aquatic life. The differences between the two sites also showed how altering nature with human activities brings difference to natural habitats. For instance, the beaches were differently sloped, and so were the temperatures and pH levels.
Ellesat, Kathrin Sabine et al. “Species-Dependent Sensitivity To Contaminants: An Approach Using Primary Hepatocyte Cultures With Three Marine Fish Species”. Marine Environmental Research, Vol 72, no. 4, 2011, pp. 216-224. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2011.09.003.
Khoury, Alaa et al. “Experimental Simulation of Sandy Beaches under Waves and Tides: Hydro-Morphodynamic Analysis”. Journal of Coastal Research, Vol 165, 2013, pp. 1791-1796. Coastal Education and Research Foundation, doi:10.2112/si65-303.1.