SCHOOL OF THE
Coast and Environment
The School of the Coast and Environment (SC&E)includes two academic departments and five research units-Department of Environmental Studies, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Coastal Ecology Institute, Coastal Fisheries Institute, Coastal Studies Institute, Special Programs, and Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute. The school is an academic and research unit that facilitates the development of innovative research programs leading to a better understanding of the coastal and environmental resource systems critical to the continuous economic growth of Louisiana and the well-being of its citizens.DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES
The Department of Environmental Studies conducts teaching and research in environmental sciences, with participation by the Colleges of Agriculture, Art and Design, Arts and Sciences, Basic Sciences, Business Administration,, Education, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of the Coast and Environment.An M.S. degree in Environmental Sciences is offered with two concentrations:
The department offers a variety of comprehensive undergraduate courses relating to the environment, although a bachelor's degree is not offered. Departmental faculty serve as adjunct faculty in several departments that offer doctoral programs.
Environmental toxicology involves the fate and effects of toxic compounds in the environment on living organisms, including man. Environmental planning and management involves the study of activities that control the acquisition, disruption, and disposal of natural resources in a manner that sustains human activities with minimal disruption of physical and ecological processes. Both embody a holistic approach using principles of the biological, chemical, physical, and social sciences.
The multidisciplinary program consists of thesis and nonthesis options. The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work and six hours of thesis research. The nonthesis option, available only to students in the environmental planning and management discipline, requires 42 hours of course work and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.
Research activities within the department include environmental assessment and resource sustainability, water quality, bioremediation, environmental management, environmental toxicology, genetic toxicology, environmental regulations, policy development, hazardous waste management, development of mobile analytical instrumentation, and the environmental impact of toxic chemicals.For additional information, see the section, "Graduate School • Professional Programs" in this catalog and the ENVS website.
ADJUNCT FACULTY • Carman, Chapman, Dagg, Dortch, Finelli, Fleeger, Geaghan, LaPeyre, K. McKee, Portier, Powell, Chesney, Rabalais, Reams, Reyes, Sammarco, Sasser, Walker
The Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees and supports the expansion of marine-related instruction in other academic departments. Research and instruction in the department is focused on fundamental understanding and practical application of knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological, geological, and meteorological processes that affect those environments usually identified as marine, coastal, or estuarine.
The extensive marshes and estuaries of Louisiana (40 percent of the coastal wetlands in the United States) and the adjacent continental shelf, impacted by natural and anthropogenic activity, serve as a vast natural laboratory for much of the field research conducted by faculty and graduate students. Research activity is carried out not only in Louisiana but also at such regional, national, and international sites as Florida Bay, the Everglades, the Orinoco River delta, and estuaries and coastal waters of Mexico, Denmark, France, and China.
Admission to the program in oceanography and coastal sciences requires admission to the Graduate School and a bachelor's or graduate degree in science or engineering from an accredited institution. Because of the nature of the fields of oceanography and coastal sciences, successful applicants to the program must first be accepted by a faculty member who will serve as the major adviser. Students interested in the department's program are, therefore, encouraged to contact faculty members who work in the student's field of interest. A description of all courses offered by the department is included in this catalog.An undergraduate minor in oceanography and coastal sciencesis available. Requirements for the minor are:
The Coastal Ecology Instituteis a scientific research unit whose focus is the wide range of ecosystems encountered in the coastal zone. The specialties of the institute include computer modeling, conservation, plant and animal ecology, hydrology, microbiology, wetlands, restoration, oceanography, and water quality. Faculty seek answers to problems in the shallow continental shelf, the coastline, inshore estuaries, and wetlands that form an interface between the uplands and the open ocean. Faculty have ongoing projects--mostly in Louisiana--but also in Central and South America, Asia, Europe, and elsewhere in the United States.
Major projects directed by the staff include studies of the biological oceanography of the Northern Gulf of Mexico (including the low oxygen zones and hard bank communities); characterization, assessments, and monitoring studies; wetland loss and human impact analyses; wetland restoration efforts; and development of ecosystem models to predict and evaluate management and potential climate change effects on Louisiana's coast. This research has been funded by several state and federal agencies, as well as through private industries. .COASTAL FISHERIES INSTITUTE
The Coastal Fisheries Institute (CFI)was created in 1983 to conduct applied and fundamental research intended to provide a better understanding of relationships among man, environmental processes, and fish communities; to document the status of existing fisheries and fish populations; and to assist in providing the research foundation for the evolution of a more stable marketing system.
The objectives of CFI are to strengthen and lead marine fishery-related research (fish, mollusks, and crustaceans) and education at LSU; to develop a better understanding of the operative factors influencing fish growth, survivorship, and yield; to provide state government, public conservation agencies, and private industry with the data necessary to make sound management decisions; and to cooperate with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the National Marine Fisheries Service to assure the safe development and wise use of Louisiana's fishery resources.
Research at CFI coordinates and integrates knowledge from zoology, ecology, biochemistry, oceanography, economics, modeling, and statistics to address relevant issues, such as overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, sustain-ability and resource utilization disputes that threaten Louisiana's fishery resources, its rich coastal heritage, and the economic well being of an important industry.COASTAL STUDIES INSTITUTE
The Coastal Studies Instituteis a research organization established in 1952 with major emphasis on dynamic processes in the ocean, atmosphere, and marine geology. It receives support from several federal agencies, including the United States Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U. S. Minerals Management Service, the Coastal Sciences Program of the Office of Naval Research, theCorps of Engineers, and the Sea Grant Program, as well as a variety of state agencies and major petroleum companies.
Research is interdisciplinary, including sedimentology, marine geology and geophysics, coastal morphodynamics, hydrodynamics, dynamic meteorology, physical oceanography, and remote sensing. Field investigations have been undertaken on all continents except Antarctica, including the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Research concentrates on transport processes and form-process relationships in coastal and continental-shelf environments.
The emphasis of the marine geology program is on deltaic, shelf, and slope sedimentary environments and sediment-transport mechanisms. Coastal morphodynamics focuses on bottom boundary layer and nearshore processes and coastal response to storm events. Physical oceanographic research emphasizes the dynamics of water and sediment particulates in estuarine, continental shelf and slope, and marginal ocean basin environments, including numerical modeling of such processes. The dynamic meteorology program addresses research problems in the coastal zone and marine boundary layer.The institute houses the Earth Scan Laboratory (LSU's satellite receiving station and image processing facility), and the WAVCIS (Wave-Current-Surge Information System) and BAYWATCH programs (oceanographic/meteorological real-time observing systems in the Gulf of Mexico).
Special Programsfocuses on cooperative research programs involving several SC&E and other LSU units, other universities, and federal and state agencies. Most projects are multidisciplinary, focusing on applied problems, particularly in planning, management, and protection of coastal resources.
The majority of projects are supported with contract funds and involve the application of SC&E research results to coastal and environmental issues. Project leaders report to the dean of SC&E and are supported by administrative staff.
Current special programs include the Coastal Marine Institute, Louisiana Geographic Information Center, and the Laboratory for Coastal Ecosystem Modeling.WETLAND BIOGEOCHEMISTRY INSTITUTE
ecosystems such as salt, fresh and brackish marshes, swamps, and flood plains. The chemical and biological behavior of plant nutrients and toxic substances in wetland ecosystems are also important research topics. The environmental impacts of pesticides, toxic heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and plant nutrients in wetlands are major areas of expertise.
Current research includes studies on the response of wetland plants to various environmental stresses such as anaerobic soil conditions and salinity, factors affecting the biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons and toxic synthetic organic compounds in wetlands, and physicochemical reactions of toxic metals in soils and sediment-water systems affecting their mobility and biological availability.
Other important current research activities include comparative ecosystems functioning of wetlands, and chemical, physical, and biological factors affecting coastal marsh stability. In addition to University support, the institute receives grant and contract funding from various federal and state agencies and private industry.