Optimal wave reflection as a mechanism for seagrass self-organization

van de Vijsel, Roeland C. ; Hernandez-Garcia, Emilio ; Orfila, Alejandro; Gomila, Damia
Scientific Reports 13, 20278 (1-15) (2023)

`Ecosystems threatened by climate change can boost their resilience by developing spatial patterns. Spatially regular patterns in wave-exposed seagrass meadows are attributed to self-organization, yet the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Here, we show that these patterns can emerge from feedbacks between wave reflection and seagrass-induced bedform growth. We derive coupled equations for surface waves propagating over a growing seagrass bed. Wave-induced bed shear stress shapes bedforms which, in turn, trigger wave reflection. Numerical simulations show that seagrass patterns develop once wave forcing exceeds a critical amplitude. In line with field observations, these patterns have half the wavelength of the forcing waves. Our results reveal that pattern formation optimizes the potential of a seagrass meadow to reflect wave energy, providing a clear hypothesis for future field campaigns. This implies that wave-reflecting pattern formation increases ecosystem resilience under globally intensifying wave climates. These ecosystems may inspire nature-based coastal protection measures.

Esta web utiliza cookies para la recolección de datos con un propósito estadístico. Si continúas navegando, significa que aceptas la instalación de las cookies.

Más información De acuerdo