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Title: Upstream and Downstream Boundary Conditions Control the Physical and Biological Development of River Deltas

Abstract

Relative sea level rise is depleting coastal land. Success in coastal restoration depends on understanding interactions between physical and biological processes that influence landscape change. We present results from flume experiments examining the coevolution of vegetation and delta channel networks. We show that channel mobility—controlled by upstream and downstream boundary conditions and delta size—controls vegetation colonization. The spatial patterns of plants in turn control the stability and spatial distribution of channels. Experiments with low–channel mobility develop large, dense plant patches that become denser over time and stabilize channels. Experiments with more mobile channels have sparse vegetation patterns that limit vegetation growth within existing patches, maintaining sparse, patchy vegetation. Thus, the ecogeomorphic development of deltas depends on the rate of channel lateral migration and avulsion, suggesting that upstream and downstream boundary conditions control both the physical and biological evolution of coastal landscapes.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (United States); Yonsei Univ., Seoul (Republic of Korea)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1572332
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-19-25209
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Earth Sciences; river delta; ecogeomorphology; physical experiment; coastal geomorphology; channel mobility

Citation Formats

Piliouras, Anastasia, and Kim, Wonsuck. Upstream and Downstream Boundary Conditions Control the Physical and Biological Development of River Deltas. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019GL084045.
Piliouras, Anastasia, & Kim, Wonsuck. Upstream and Downstream Boundary Conditions Control the Physical and Biological Development of River Deltas. United States. doi:10.1029/2019GL084045.
Piliouras, Anastasia, and Kim, Wonsuck. Wed . "Upstream and Downstream Boundary Conditions Control the Physical and Biological Development of River Deltas". United States. doi:10.1029/2019GL084045.
@article{osti_1572332,
title = {Upstream and Downstream Boundary Conditions Control the Physical and Biological Development of River Deltas},
author = {Piliouras, Anastasia and Kim, Wonsuck},
abstractNote = {Relative sea level rise is depleting coastal land. Success in coastal restoration depends on understanding interactions between physical and biological processes that influence landscape change. We present results from flume experiments examining the coevolution of vegetation and delta channel networks. We show that channel mobility—controlled by upstream and downstream boundary conditions and delta size—controls vegetation colonization. The spatial patterns of plants in turn control the stability and spatial distribution of channels. Experiments with low–channel mobility develop large, dense plant patches that become denser over time and stabilize channels. Experiments with more mobile channels have sparse vegetation patterns that limit vegetation growth within existing patches, maintaining sparse, patchy vegetation. Thus, the ecogeomorphic development of deltas depends on the rate of channel lateral migration and avulsion, suggesting that upstream and downstream boundary conditions control both the physical and biological evolution of coastal landscapes.},
doi = {10.1029/2019GL084045},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
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