Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Geography & Environmental Studies

Program Name/Specialization



Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Mary-Louise Byrne

Advisor Role



This project analyzes natural variables influencing the coastal and dune evolution in Isla Salamanca National Park (ISNP), a biosphere reserve and Ramsar site located in Colombia, on the Caribbean coast. Since at least the early 1950s, the park has been affected by eroding trends along most of the shoreline. Particularly, most modern dunes are located close to the coastline, forming scarped dunes regularly affected by storm wave-action.

The trends through time of rain, bathymetry and coastline changes during the last six decades were studied through statistical analysis, mapping of landscape features, and satellite images and historical aerial photograph interpretation. Once these trends were identified, six vegetation transects were developed over dunes located in areas under contrasting morphodynamic regimes: moderate erosion rates (east area), high erosion rates (central area), and accretion (west area).

The findings of this work indicate that those dunes located at the east extreme and central areas of ISNP are scarped and impeded dunes fixed in position by an abundant vegetation cover. In contrast, mobile embryo dunes, either without vegetation or covered only by vegetation species that can thrive under sand burial, are common at the west end of the study site, a sector where accretive processes have been occurring over the last six decades. This findings contribute to understanding the morphodynamics producing the accelerated coastal retreat taking place in ISNP, thereby providing useful data to support sound decisions for the management of the coastal zone in this National Park.

Convocation Year