Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Adam J. Mathews

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Tiffany Schriever


GIS, UAS, wetland systems, dune systems, biogeography

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The Great Lakes sand dunes are the world's largest freshwater dune complex. There is a functional relationship between coastal wetlands and freshwater sand dune, referred to as interdunal wetlands. Interdunal wetland systems are highly dynamic and change dramatically seasonally and annually. Using geographic information systems (GIS) and unoccupied aerial systems (UAS), this thesis project is focused on understanding the spatial distribution of sparse and dense vegetation, and abiotic influence such as distance to coast, slope, and aspect influence interdunal wetland stability within a Great Lakes shoreline dune system. Object-based image analysis (OBIA) classification results extracted meaningful vegetation densities of growth and loss and wetland growth and loss features for spatial analysis. Vegetation growth is more predominant in west and south portions of wetlands and is more stable, while the north and east portions of wetland tend to expand.