Dr. Phillip Schmutz

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In our recent report on the 40th anniversary of Hurricane Frederic, much of the focus was the storm’s impact on the large dunes that existed on Pensacola Beach at the time.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the formation and importance of coastal dunes, ongoing threats, and efforts to grow and stabilize them. 

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

A sun-kissed slice of beach owned by the University of West Florida can provide a perfect laboratory for students.

Dr. Phillip Schmutz, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UWF, and students in his geomorphology class took advantage of that setting on a recent Sunday. They took a field trip and used different measurement techniques to survey the University’s beach property.

“We were conducting both dune and beach survey measurements, looking at vegetation across the dune, as well as swash zone measurements,” Schmutz said.