Michael Molloy, M.A.


Degrees: Bachelor of Science in geography and history (August 2018)

Master of Arts in geography and geospatial sciences from Kansas State University

Currently pursuing a Professional Science Master at the University of Kansas

Currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in geography and environmental sustainability at the University of Oklahoma

McNair Project: Analyzing the Narratives of Environmental Change Occurring in Coastal Louisiana (2018)

Mentors: Trevor Durbin, Ph.D., and Audrey Joslin, Ph.D.

This research project examines the literature of environmental changes in coastal Louisiana. Scholars and media sources agree that land loss, salt water intrusion, and marsh collapse is occurring in the coastal Louisiana, however land loss is the overarching theme in every paper. Currently land loss is happening at an average rate of 16.6 square miles annually. The land loss occurring is caused by both anthropogenic factors and non-anthropogenic factors. Some factors include salt water intrusion, channeling the Mississippi River, hydrocarbon extraction, wind driven pond expansion, and climate change. In the literature land loss is an extremely complex and interconnected issue. As land loss occurs ecosystems are being lost, and this causes other significant anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic issues. For example certain species lose their habitats, which has negative effects on people. Some of these negative effects that humans experience from land loss include, fisheries loss, culture loss, hunting land deterioration, relocation, and less storm protection from hurricanes. There were some solutions discussed throughout the literature. At the state / federal level solutions focused more on funding restoration projects. At the local level there was a focus on partnering local peoples with scientists and corporations to work on restoration plans.

Although land loss is an extremely complex and interconnected, this research has generated future research ideas. One example of future research is a study of how local governments comprehend and adapt to land loss could be effective in helping policy makers determine what solutions are more likely to be effective.