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Landscape allometry: from tidal channel hydraulic geometry to benthic ecology

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Abstract:

The use of hydraulic geometry and other geomorphic indices has been recommended for habitat restoration and creation of estuarine tidal channels. Although such an approach provides design guidance for tidal channel form, it does not provide guidance for the ecological consequences of channel form. This study investigates the potential linkage of the scaling of tidal channel form with ecological patterns and processes in estuarine tidal channels of the lower Chehalis River, Washington, U.S.A. Ebb tide surface velocity was related to channel size, as was exit time and export probability of tiny drogues, which mimic floating allochthonous detritus. Consequently, the amount of organic material in channel sediments scaled negatively with channel size as did the abundance of benthic surface deposit feeders. These observations suggest that the highest concentrations of fish feeding in estuarine tidal channels may be in smaller channels or in the smaller and more distal portions of large channels. Scaling of ecological patterns and processes with tidal channel size may be an example of a more general ecological scaling with landscape form, i.e., landscape allometry.

On recommande l'utilisation de la géométrie hydraulique et d'autres indices géomorphologiques pour la restauration des habitats et la création de chenaux de marée. Bien qu'une telle méthodologie puisse fournir des indications sur la forme des chenaux, elle ne donne aucun renseignement sur les conséquences écologiques de la forme des chenaux. On trouvera ici une étude des liens potentiels entre le cadre des formes de chenaux de marée et les structures et processus écologiques dans des chenaux de marée estuariens du cours inférieur de la Chehalis, Washington, E.-U. La vitesse en surface de la marée descendante est reliée à taille du chenal, comme l'est le temps d'évacuation et la probabilité d'exportation de minuscules ancres flottantes qui miment le détritus allochtone flottant. En conséquence, la quantité de matériel organique dans les sédiments des chenaux, ainsi que la densité des organismes benthiques qui se nourrissent de dépôts de surface, sont en relation négative avec la taille des chenaux. Ces observations font croire que les concentrations maximales de poissons à s'alimenter dans les chenaux de marée estuariens se retrouvent dans les petits chenaux ou dans les branches distales et plus réduites des grands chenaux. Le cadrage de structures et de processus écologique avec la taille des chenaux peut être un exemple d'un cadrage écologique plus général avec la forme du paysage, i.e. avec l'allométrie du paysage. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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