Modelling the effects of Zostera noltei meadows on sediment dynamics: application to the Arcachon lagoon

A three-dimensional model has been modified to describe the complex interactions between hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics and biological parameters in the presence of Zostera noltei. The model treats seagrass leafs as flexible blades that bend under hydrodynamic forcing and alter the local momentum and turbulence fluxes and, therefore, the benthic shear conditions; these changes cause related changes to the mass balance at the boundary of the bed, in turn affecting the suspended matter in the column and ultimately primary productivity and the growth of the dwarf-grass. Modelling parameters related to the impact of Z. noltei to the local flow and to erosion and deposition rates were calibrated using flume experimental measurements; results from the calibration of the model are presented and discussed. The coupled model is applied in the Arcachon Bay, an area with high environmental significance and large abundance of dwarf-grass meadows. In the present paper, results from preliminary applications of the model are presented and discussed; the effectiveness of the coupled model is assessed comparing modelling results with available field measurements of suspended sediment concentrations and seagrass growth parameters. The model generally reproduces sediment dynamics and dwarf-grass seasonal growth in the domain efficiently. Investigations regarding the effects of the vegetation to the near-bed hydrodynamics and to the sediment suspension in the domain show that dwarf-grass meadows play an important part to velocity attenuation and to sediment stabilisation, with flow and suspended sediment concentrations damping, compared to an unvegetated state, to reach 35-50 and 65 %, respectively, at peak seagrass growth.


Zostera noltei, Sedimentation, Erosion, Arcachon lagoon, Intertidal mudflats, Flume measurements

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Kombiadou Katerini, Ganthy Florian, Verney Romaric, Plus Martin, Sottolichio Aldo (2014). Modelling the effects of Zostera noltei meadows on sediment dynamics: application to the Arcachon lagoon. Ocean Dynamics. 64 (10). 1499-1516.,

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