Quantifying Engineering Performance Metrics for Emergent Vegetation and Hybrid Systems

mangroves in the ocean

Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering

Location: UCC Gallery (w/ virtual option)

Speaker: Tori Tomiczek, US Naval Academy (USNA)


As near-shore communities are threatened by coastal flood hazards of increasing magnitude and frequency associated with the changing climate, natural and nature-based infrastructure such as emergent vegetation has gained attention for its ability to stabilize shorelines and mitigate these flood hazards. In particular, emergent mangroves have been shown to attenuate daily and extreme wave heights, thus reducing the wave-induced loads on and resulting damage to sheltered inland structures. However, implementation of these natural systems in coastal engineering design lags behind that of conventional structures, owing to a lack of widely accepted, quantitative design procedures for a sufficient range of performance metrics. This presentation will describe recent advances in quantifying engineering performance metrics (e.g., wave height attenuation, load reduction, overtopping mitigation) through physical model experiments and field monitoring campaigns. Results from prototype-scale experiments investigating wave transformation through an idealized Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) forest will be used to illustrate the robustness of existing analytical methods for predicting wave height attenuation through the mangrove forest and the associated load reduction on a sheltered vertical wall. Approaches for incorporating emergent vegetation into coastal engineering designs following existing frameworks will be discussed, as well as the inherent variability in natural system’s antecedent conditions and performance during an extreme event. Steps toward and future needs for developing a manual of practice consistent with those published by the American Society of Civil Engineers or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also be addressed.

Zoom Link: https://stevens.zoom.us/j/91634601626


Tori Tomiczek standing in water underneath a mangrove

Tori Tomiczek is an Associate Professor in the Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department at the US Naval Academy (USNA). She earned her B.S. at the University of Florida and PhD at the University of Notre Dame. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Oregon State University before joining the Ocean Engineering faculty at USNA in 2017. Dr. Tomiczek’s research focuses on coastal engineering and coastal resilience. She has participated in field reconnaissance surveys evaluating damage and recovery following hurricane and extreme storm events. Dr. Tomiczek has also enjoyed working on physical model experiments at USNA, OSU, and Kyoto University. She is interested in better understanding wave-induced forces on coastal structures to inform design guidance and finding sustainable, resilient solutions that mitigate damage due to coastal hazards.

To view the full list of seminar speakers for the Fall 2023 semester, visit the CEOE Seminars page.