Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jon Anthony Stallins

Second Advisor

Dr. Daehyun Kim


Wave-dominated and mixed tidal and wave energy barrier islands are assumed to have characteristic dune topographies that link to their macroscale form. However, there has been no systematic attempt to describe the linkage between barrier island macroscale form and dune topography. The goal of this thesis was to investigate how dune topographies correspond to a number of barrier island morphologies found along the southeastern U.S. Atlantic coast. Macroscale process-form variables were used to classify 77 islands into seven morphologic clusters. Islands from each cluster were selected and sites characteristic of the range of dune topographies within islands were characterized using three methods: the frequency distribution of elevations, directional spatial autocorrelation of elevation at different distance classes, and FRAGSTATS indices summarizing the patch structure of elevations. Variables derived from each of these methods peaked in their ability to discriminate among barrier island morphologies when the islands were aggregated into three groups. An ordination of those variables revealed a two or three-fold grouping of barrier island dune types that approximated the traditional wave dominated and mixed energy barrier island morphologic classification. These findings suggest that dune topographies converge upon two to three configurations even within the heterogeneity in macroscale island morphology.