Student Author(s)

Jacob T. Stid, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Edward Hansen, Geological and Environmental Sciences; Dr. Brian Yurk, Mathematics; Dr. Paul Pearson, Mathematics

Document Type


Event Date



Dune mobility can threaten human infrastructure but is essential to maintaining diverse ecological communities in coastal dunes. Only those patches on a dune with little or no vegetation will migrate. The size of these patches together with their shape, topographic position, and topographic orientation with respect to the direction of strong sand transporting winds affect the sensitivity of the dune surface to mobilization. Images acquired by drone flights over Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area will be used to analyze topography and extent of vegetation of the dune surfaces. The results will be used to create maps showing variations in the sensitivity to dune mobilization within the complex. The method will be tested by comparing drone images from successive years and by setting up systems of rods in test plots against which sand migration can be directly monitored. Monitoring will continue for at least two years.


This research was supported by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

Included in

Geology Commons