SPANISH exchange student Silvia De San Laureano Quinones will leave Warrnambool today feeling like a local.
The engineering student has researched the geomorphical change on Lady Bay from 1870 to 2012 looking at the shoreline change, elevation and sand volumes.
The 25-year-old found that 24 hectares of marine environment had been converted into land around the breakwater and up to 440 metres of difference in the shoreline location.
“There has been massive change,” she said.
“When you compare old photographs and charts you can see the difference.
“There is a lot of sand from off-shore systems getting into the bay which is why dredging will have to continue.
“If you were standing at the site of the pavilion 140 years ago you would have been standing in almost two metres of water.”
She said closure of the viaduct led to most of the change when it stopped the flow of water, which has been documented by previous studies. However this project is novel as it has actually been able to quantify the changes observed.
Ms De San Laureano Quinones said the ability to combine engineering with marine research was what attracted her to Warrnambool last year. “A lot of European students go to the (United) States to study,” she said.
“Warrnambool was my first choice. I didn’t want to go somewhere hot and I didn’t want a big city. I wanted to see whales, penguins and seals.
“I will miss the people here and the good friends. There are heaps of opportunities here”
Ms De San Lareano Quinones said she wanted to return to Australia to either work or study.
“I feel like just one more person who lives here,” she said.
“If I had to say a thank you to everyone who has helped me it would be a huge list.”
When she returns home she will graduate from Malaga University with a bachelor of engineering.