Raising docks to new heights

Our campus “mock docks” grew a little taller today.

The purpose behind this project is to measure the effects different dock designs have on the underlying salt marsh. Earlier research indicated that the shadow cast by docks have a negative effect on the plant growth in the marsh surface in the dock’s “footprint.” Recently, dock designers have developed new designs and materials to help alleviate this problem. The questions are – do they work and how well?

As a part of this project, a Skidaway Institute team headed by professor Clark Alexander built a four  “mock docks” on our campus.

Three of the mock docks

One is constructed with traditional material and in a traditional design. The remaining three are of different design and materials. The docks are equipped with light meters to measure the light difference between the top of the dock and the footprint below. Over the past year or so, they have been adjusted to various orientations to capture the sun and shadow at different points of the compass and throughout the year. The next step is to obtain data for docks at varying heights.

Harry raises the platform with the fork lift as Lee Ann watches.

This afternoon research assistant Lee Ann DeLeo and fork-lift driver Harry Carter raised the existing dock models roughly two feet.

Lee Ann removes an old, shorter leg.

They lifted the deck structure off their bottom legs and replaced the legs with slightly longer ones.

Lee Ann checks the fit as the platform structure is lowered onto the new leg.

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