[Coral-List] Hydrodynamic forces in a multipurpose underwater structure

Danker Kolijn dankerkolijn at gmail.com
Sun Dec 15 13:36:22 EST 2013

Dear Coral list,

I am a coastal engineering graduate student analyzing a new multipurpose
underwater structure (MUS) (artificial reef) aimed at controlling
hydrodynamic forces in vulnerable and at-risk aquatic systems, fostering
sediment retention in areas negatively affected by human intervention
whilst providing an attractive habitat to restore or strengthening aquatic
life. My focus is primarily on the hydrodynamics in coral reefs and how
those compare to this MUS. I will be modelling an environment of a fringing
reef in a computational model and extracting the wave conditions at the
reef edge (after the waves have broken) as an input for the wave paddle in
a flume meant to simulate waves on a scaled MUS structure on a fringing
reef flat. The study will also look at infragravity waves, which have shown
to have a more significant effect than wind waves (in addition to having
significantly more energy) on a reef flat/lagoon with changing water levels
(tide/storm surge).

Besides measuring wave height and dissipation over the MUS canopy, I also
intend to take measurements inside the structure to observe the velocities
in the canopy. This is solely intended to observe whether flow conditions
are favorable/attractive for the establishment of coral structures within
this MUS. Being a coastal engineer I have not had significant education in
marine biology and ecology. So, I am reaching out to you in order to
understand what are the main processes I should understand within a coral
reef structure which are fundamental in sustaining coral reproduction and
life? From my very limited understanding benthic marine animals disperse to
new habitats by producing planktonic larvae that are transported by ocean
currents. For such a larva to colonize a benthic site to which it has been
transported, the larva must settle and attach in order to undergo a
metamorphosis of a settled larva into a juvenile that survives.  Water
motion near the substratum affects the transport of larvae from the water
column and determines whether larvae that have landed on the substratum are
swept away. I have also read that these larva will avoid surfaces covered
with algae and therefore hydrodynamic conditions should not favor this type
of growth. Any suggestions on what types of particles, larva, organisms I
should consider in a tropical coral reef community, what should be
measured/observed and which literature I could consult would be very much
appreciated. Thank you very much in advance.

*Danker Kolijn *
TU Delft
The Netherlands
D.J.Kolijn at student.tudelft.nl
tel.: 0653751996

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