You are here

Ecohydraulics: Advances in Modeling Flow-biota Interactions

Rafael Tinoco, University of Illinois

Nimish Pujara, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Maria Maza, Universidad de Cantabria

A more complete understanding of flow-biota interactions is needed to design more efficient nature-based solutions to address traditional engineering challenges as well as challenges of aquatic ecosystem management. The traditional approaches towards stream restoration and naturalization, river bank stabilization, fish passages, and infrastructure for coastal protection, are steadily shifting from a purely flow-structure interaction focus, to ecosystem based approaches. Current approaches deal with the effects of aquatic vegetation on flow and sediment dynamics, their effect on retention and transport of nutrients and pollutants, as well as their overall role as ecosystem engineers. The success of small and large-scale aquaculture projects, efforts to restore fish passages, as well as strategies to monitor and control both invasive and endangered species, can be enhanced by considering plankton and fish response to both mean and turbulent flow characteristics, to better predict drifting, swimming, and schooling patterns under altered flow scenarios. While extensive research has been conducted in laboratory and field settings, the spatial and temporal resolution of the required measurements can still be hindered by the instrument's intrusion and limitations. Advances in numerical modelling can fill such a relevant gap to further our understanding of these flow-biota interactions. Such complex flow scenarios may require the analysis of flexible objects, moving boundaries, multi-phase flows, diverse boundary conditions, and the inclusion of fish behavior models.  We welcome contributions at multiple scales and levels of complexity, from understanding fundamental processes on sediment-biota-flow interaction, to biomechanics and hydrodynamics studies of plankton, fish and vegetation, as well as the application of such findings for management, monitoring, and control of rivers and coastal areas.

Keywords: ecohydraulics, biota, biomechanics, multi-phase