Arnold van Rooijen
Thesis: Wave driven hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics under the influence of coastal canopies in marine ecosystems
Benthic marine ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and coral reefs, can be found along many of the world’s coastlines. These systems are recognized as ecologically invaluable and generally have an important function in stabilizing sediments and maintaining coastal stability. Relatively little is known to date about the specific (fundamental) hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics in and around these systems, as compared to sandy coastal environments. The results from many lab and field studies have shown how coastal canopies (e.g. corals, seagrass) can modify coastal processes, particularly currents and waves. However, studies on the sediment dynamics have been scarce and often resulted in opposing findings. This PhD study aims to increase our understanding in this topic using a combination of hydraulic lab experiments and numerical modeling. In the lab experiments novel measurement techniques will be used to investigate the governing physical processes in and around coastal canopies.
Why my research is important
The health and productivity of marine ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and coral reefs depends greatly on the local sediment dynamics. A better understanding of the hydrodynamic drivers for sediment transport within coastal canopies will help coastal managers to preserve these fragile ecosystems for future generations.