Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Modelling channel dynamics and riparian ecology
Author: Cox, C. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
This study aimed to develop and evaluate a numerical simulation model of the interdependent dynamics of channel form, processes and floodplain vegetation using cellular automaton approaches. The model was developed and evaluated using data from the River Feshie, Scotland. Firstly, field and historic data were examined in order to understand the ecology and dynamic nature of the study site. The braidplain was shown to exhibit a number of different mechanisms of change, varying from a wandering anabranch river to a more fragmented braided pattern; however the relationship between channel pattern and vegetation was not found to be straightforward, and multiple successional pathways were identified, depending on local abiotic conditions. Secondly, the capability of cellular automata models to simulate realistic patterns of discharge, channel change and floodplain ecology was evaluated. Cellular automata models involve a high level of simplification in order to facilitate the modelling of medium time and space scales with highly mobile boundary conditions. The models can predict realistic patterns of discharge and reach-scale ecology compositions, but further work is needed to improve the sediment transport functions. Finally, a cellular automata model was applied to investigate how floodplain ecology responds to different flood disturbance regimes and land management practices. This showed that cellular automata models may be used successfully to explore relationships between discharge, land use management and floodplain ecology. However, uncertainties regarding the lack of physical realism in some aspects of the model predictions meant it was unclear to what extent the results accurately represented future conditions for the River Feshie. Therefore, at this stage cellular automata models cannot be recommended for detailed applied management purposes in specific contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available