Shoreline Variability at a Reef-Fringed Pocket Beach

Johan Risandi, Jeff E. Hansen, Ryan J. Lowe, Dirk P. Rijnsdorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pocket beaches bound by headlands or other geologic features are common worldwide and experience constrained alongshore transport that influences their morphological changes. Pocket beaches fringed by shallow reefs have not been well-studied, yet can be commonly found throughout temperate and tropical regions. The presence of a reef is expected to drive distinct hydrodynamic processes and shoreline responses to offshore waves and water levels, which is investigated in this study. To examine the drivers of shoreline variability, a 20-month field study was conducted on a reef-fringed pocket beach in southwestern Australia (Gnarabup Beach), using a series of in situ wave and water level observations, topographic surveys, as well as video shoreline monitoring. The results indicate that the beach as a whole (alongshore averaged) was in a mostly stable state. However, we observed substantial spatial variability of the local shorelines in response to offshore wave and water levels across a range of time-scales (from individual storms to the seasonal cycle). We observed local regions of beach rotation within cells that were partitioned by the headlands and offshore reefs. The shoreline response was also dictated by the combination of offshore waves and water level which varied seasonally, with the shoreline generally eroding with lower water levels for the same wave height. Despite the contrasting responses in different alongshore locations of the beach, the overall beach volume of the pocket beach was largely conserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number445
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020


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