Modeling flow in coral communities with and without waves: A synthesis of porous media and canopy flow approaches

Lowe, Ryan J., Uri Shavit, James L. Falter, Jeffrey R. Koseff, Stephen G. Monismith

Limnol. Oceanogr., 53(6), 2008, 2668-2680 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2008.53.6.2668

ABSTRACT: Both canopy flow and porous media theories have been developed independent of one another to predict flow through submerged porous structures. These approaches are very similar, albeit with some key differences in how canopy resistance forces are parameterized. Canopy models provide a means of parameterizing the shear stresses that occur at the top of the canopy, whereas porous media models can often provide a simpler and more tractable way of parameterizing turbulent form drag based on simple morphological metrics and empirical relationships already in the hydrology literature. We developed a set of equations combining aspects of both models and applied this hybridized model to predict the flow structure within an experimental canopy formed by the branching coral Porites compressa, using model parameter values obtained from the literature. Results from the model predictions agreed well with direct measurements of flow speed and flow forces derived from particle image velocimetry under conditions of both unidirectional and wave-driven oscillatory flow.

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