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Does the canopy mixing layer model apply to highly flexible aquatic vegetation? Insights from numerical modelling

Marjoribanks, Timothy I.; Hardy, Richard J.; Lane, Stuart N.; Parsons, Daniel R.


Timothy I. Marjoribanks

Richard J. Hardy

Stuart N. Lane

Daniel R. Parsons


© 2016, The Author(s). Vegetation is a characteristic feature of shallow aquatic flows such as rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Flow through and above aquatic vegetation canopies is commonly described using a canopy mixing layer analogy which provides a canonical framework for assessing key hydraulic characteristics such as velocity profiles, large-scale coherent turbulent structures and mixing and transport processes for solutes and sediments. This theory is well developed for the case of semi-rigid terrestrial vegetation and has more recently been applied to the case of aquatic vegetation. However, aquatic vegetation often displays key differences in morphology and biomechanics to terrestrial vegetation due to the different environment it inhabits. Here we investigate the effect of plant morphology and biomechanical properties on flow–vegetation interactions through the application of a coupled LES-biomechanical model. We present results from two simulations of aquatic vegetated flows: one assuming a semi-rigid canopy and the other a highly flexible canopy and provide a comparison of the associated flow regimes. Our results show that while both cases display canopy mixing layers, there are also clear differences in the shear layer characteristics and turbulent processes between the two, suggesting that the semi-rigid approximation may not provide a complete representation of flow–vegetation interactions.


Marjoribanks, T. I., Hardy, R. J., Lane, S. N., & Parsons, D. R. (2017). Does the canopy mixing layer model apply to highly flexible aquatic vegetation? Insights from numerical modelling. Environmental Fluid Mechanics, 17(2), 277-301.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 6, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 2, 2016
Publication Date Apr 1, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date Dec 21, 2016
Journal Environmental fluid mechanics
Print ISSN 1567-7419
Electronic ISSN 1573-1510
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 277-301
Keywords Eco-hydraulics, Computational fluid dynamics, Vegetation, Biomechanics, Canopy flows, Turbulence
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article: Marjoribanks, T.I., Hardy, R.J., Lane, S.N. et al. Environ Fluid Mech (2016). doi:10.1007/s10652-016-9482-z


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