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Content archived on 2024-04-30

The morphological development of intertidal mudflats


Intertidal mudflats fringe many hundreds of kilometres of the coasts of NWEurope. They are important in coast protection and as environments with highwildlife value, but they are vulnerable to sea level and climatic change and toanthropogenic pressures. The processes creating and maintaining the mudflatsare poorly known. The main hypothesis is that mudflat morphology is the result of physical, sedimentary and biological processes with very significantfeedback between them, eg, the biology stabilizing the sediment.INTRMUD aims to investigate the characteristics of mudflats withcontrasting tidal range, phase, wave exposure, sediment physical and biologicalproperties and biological community structure. Existing data from six mudflats be used in a GIS database to establish a classification scheme, and a series ofmodels of mudflat development. Further measurements on these sites using harmonmethods will refine the results, and detailed experiments will quantify the proand their interactions, their ranges and timescales of variation. These measurecover the hydrodynamics, sediment properties and biological processes. Joint exwill be undertaken on a few sites, starting with the Dollard Estuary, Netherlanthere are good facilities and background measurements. These experiments will bdevelop and validate computer models of the processes and feedbacks.The knowledge, classification scheme, data bases and computational moduleswill be available as tools for environmental management.

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University of Plymouth
EU contribution
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Drake Circus
PL4 8AA Plymouth
United Kingdom

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Participants (14)