Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Lakhan, V.Chris (Earth and Environmental Sciences)


Environmental Sciences.




With the understanding that far more research remains to be done on the development and use of innovative and functional geospatial techniques and procedures to investigate coastline changes this thesis focussed on the integration of remote sensing, geographical information systems (GIS) and modelling techniques to provide meaningful insights on the spatial and temporal dynamics of coastline changes. One of the unique strengths of this research was the parameterization of the GIS with long-term empirical and remote sensing data. Annual empirical data from 1941û2007 were analyzed by the GIS, and then modelled with statistical techniques. Data were also extracted from Landsat TM and ETM+ images. The band ratio method was used to extract the coastlines. Topographic maps were also used to extract digital map data. All data incorporated into ArcGIS 9.2 were analyzed with various modules, including Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, and Triangulated Irregular Networks. The Digital Shoreline Analysis System was used to analyze and predict rates of coastline change. GIS results showed the spatial locations along the coast that will either advance or retreat over time. The linear regression results highlighted temporal changes which are likely to occur along the coastline. Box-Jenkins modelling procedures were utilized to determine statistical models which best described the time series (1941û2007) of coastline change data. After several iterations and goodness-of-fit tests, second-order spatial cyclic autoregressive models, first-order autoregressive models and autoregressive moving average models were identified as being appropriate for describing the deterministic and random processes operating in GuyanaÆs coastal system. The models highlighted not only cyclical patterns in advance and retreat of the coastline, but also the existence of short and long-term memory processes. Long-term memory processes could be associated with mudshoal propagation and stabilization while short-term memory processes were indicative of transitory hydrodynamic and other processes. An innovative framework for a spatio-temporal information-based system (STIBS) was developed. STIBS incorporated diverse datasets within a GIS, dynamic computer-based simulation models, and a spatial information query and graphical subsystem. Tests of the STIBS proved that it could be used to simulate and visualize temporal variability in shifting morphological states of the coastline.