A methodological framework for integrating computational fluid dynamics and ecological models applied to juvenile freshwater mussel dispersal in the Upper Mississippi River

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Peer Reviewed


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

Ecological Modelling

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Interdisciplinary research in hydraulics and ecology for river management and restoration must integrate processes that occur over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, which presents a challenge to ecohydraulics modelers. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models are being more widely used to determine flow fields for ecohydraulics applications. In the Upper Mississippi River (UMR), the mussel dynamics model was developed as a tool for management and conservation of freshwater mussels (Unionidae), which are benthic organisms, imperiled in North America, that are inextricably linked with the hydraulics of river flow. We updated the juvenile dispersal component of the mussel dynamics model by using stochastic Lagrangian particle tracking in a three dimensional flow field output from CFD models of reaches in the UMR. We developed a methodological framework to integrate hydrodynamic data with the mussel dynamics model, and we demonstrate the use of the juvenile dispersal model employed within the methodological framework in two reaches of the UMR. The method was used to test the hypothesis that impoundment affects the relationship of some hydraulic parameters with juvenile settling distribution. Simulation results were consistent with this hypothesis, and the relationships of bed shear stress and Froude number with juvenile settling were altered by impoundment most likely through effects on local hydraulics. The methodological framework is robust, integrates Eulerian and Lagrangian reference frameworks, and incorporates processes over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales, from watershed scale hydrologic processes (decades), to reach scale (km) processes that occur over hours or days, and turbulent processes on spatial scales of meter to millimeter and times scales of seconds. The methods are presently being used to assess the impacts of pre- and early post-settlement processes on mussel distributions, including the effects of bed shear stress, and the sensitivity of the location of the host fish when juveniles excyst, on juvenile settling distribution. 2009 Elsevier B.V.


Sustainability, Computational fluid dynamics, Flow fields, Fluid dynamics, Hydraulics, Lagrange multipliers, Nonlinear analysis, Rivers, Shear stress, Simulators, Stochastic models, Strength of materials, Three dimensional

Published Article/Book Citation

Ecological Modelling, 221:2 (2010) pp.201-214.

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