Experiments by Invited Researchers


RIver – VEgetation interactions and Reproduction of Island Nuclei formation and Evolution - RIVERINE

Project acronym: HyIII-Hull-02
Name of Group Leader: Dr. Paolo Perona, Institute of Environmental Engin
User-Project Title: RIver – VEgetation interactions and Reproduction of Island Nuclei formation and Evolution - RIVERINE
Facility: TES
Proceedings TA Project: The role of hydrologic disturbances on biomass erosion dynamics: first results from riverine experiments
Data Management Report: There is no Data Management Report available for this project

User-Project Objectives


This project is aligned with the present international research on ecohydrology of fluvial morphodynamics. In particular, it aims at exploring the basic mechanisms and the time scales governing the interactions between river hydraulics and riparian vegetation, eventually leading to the formation of new island nuclei. The project builds up on a series of observations already made by several scientific teams in the Tagliamento river, Northern Italy. Therein, the characteristic converging floodplain topography has lead researchers to conjecture about the role of disturbances (magnitude and frequency) to control the establishment and the successive development of earlier vegetated island nuclei. We aim at exploring such conjectures, by reproducing the main features of these observations at a laboratory scale.

In RIVERINE, flow disturbances of different magnitude are interacting with continuously growing vegetation (Avena sativa). In particular, vegetation growth time scales are left to compete with the inter-arrival time of flooding events, and the resulting patterns are studied for three exemplary experiments: Exp1) Riverine dynamics within corridors showing "regular" (i.e., parallel walls) geometry; Exp 2) Riverine dynamics within corridors showing convergent boundaries; Exp 3) Riverine dynamics leading to self-organization. At present, the RIVERINE experiments used a constant flow as a disturbance and investigated the role of the interrarrival time and the magnitude between the seeding and the arrival of the first flood. The effect of the frequency of disturbances was not investigated for the time being. The obtained results are at present explorative, although the intensive data collection will allow for both qualitative and quantitative analyses of the results.

Figure 1. Uniform channel showing vegetation after flow disturbance (Experiment 1).

Figure 2. Convergent channel during flow disturbance (Experiment 2). Channel to left shows vegetation pattern for investigation of self-organisation (Experiment 3).