Title
Impact of vegetation die-off on spatial flow patterns over a tidal marsh Impact of vegetation die-off on spatial flow patterns over a tidal marsh
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Washington, D.C. ,
Subject
Physics
Biology
Source (journal)
Geophysical research letters. - Washington, D.C.
Volume/pages
39(2012) , p. L03406,1-L03406,5
ISSN
0094-8276
0094-8276
Article Reference
L03406
Carrier
E-only publicatie
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Large-scale die-off of tidal marsh vegetation, caused by global change, is expected to change flow patterns over tidal wetlands, and hence to affect valuable wetland functions such as reduction of shoreline erosion, attenuation of storm surges, and sedimentation in response to sea level rise. This study quantified for the first time the effects of large-scale (4 ha) artificial vegetation removal, as proxy of die-off, on the spatial flow patterns through a tidal marsh channel and over the surrounding marsh platform. After vegetation removal, the flow velocities measured on the platform increased by a factor of 2 to 4, while the channel flow velocities decreased by almost a factor of 3. This was associated with a change in flow directions on the platform, from perpendicular to the channel edges when vegetation was present, to a tendency of more parallel flow to the channel edges when vegetation was absent. Comparison with hydrodynamic model simulations explains that the vegetation-induced friction causes both flow reduction on the vegetated platform and flow acceleration towards the non-vegetated channels. Our findings imply that large-scale vegetation die-off would not only result in decreased platform sedimentation rates, but also in sediment infilling of the channels, which together would lead to further worsening of plant growth conditions and a potentially runaway feedback to permanent vegetation loss.
Full text (open access)
https://repository.uantwerpen.be/docman/irua/94b2ff/0651aba0.pdf
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