The effect of water density variations on the tidal flushing of animal burrows

Heron, S.F., and Ridd, P.V. (2003) The effect of water density variations on the tidal flushing of animal burrows. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 58 (1). pp. 137-145.

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Abstract

Animal burrows in mangrove swamps play an important role in the transport of various soluble materials, including salt. Flushing of burrows by inundating tides provides an efficient mechanism for the exchange of these materials. The density increase in the burrow, due to salt diffusion from pore water into the burrow, causes a greater resistance to the flushing. As the salinity difference between surface and burrow waters increases, the burrows no longer flush, and hydrostatic equilibrium exists between the different density waters. A flume experiment was conducted to compare burrow flushing characteristics with theoretical predictions. The results were consistent with a simple analytical theory in predicting whether burrows would flush. When equilibrium was attained, the difference between the interface depths was 10% greater than the theoretical prediction, which was within the experimental error. In addition, a comparison between a two-opening and a three-opening burrow showed that there was no benefit to the flushing capability due to additional openings. Computational fluid dynamic models were undertaken to compare with the experimental and theoretical flushing characteristics. These were also consistent with the flushing prediction theory. When equilibrium was attained, the difference between the interface depths in the model was 33% greater than the theoretical prediction. The computational study with an additional opening supported the experimental evidence that there is no advantage to the flushing. Insight into small-scale processes unable to be accurately observed could be obtained from the models, e.g. oscillations of density interfaces and turbulent scales at the burrow openings. The consistency in prediction of flushing between the theoretical, experimental and computational methods, now allows modelling of more complex burrow structures with great confidence.

Item ID: 4438
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: burrows; computer simulation/modeling; flushing time
ISSN: 1096-0015
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2009 04:34
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961102 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 4
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