A hydrodynamic characterization of tidal ecosystems with respect to predation
Berry, William Alexander
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This study seeks to identify naturally occurring differences in the turbulent environment at a variety of field sites near the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, in Wassaw Sound and surrounding bodies of water. The sites have previously been used to study predator-prey interactions. Velocity time records were recorded using acoustic Doppler velocimetry (ADV) probes at six sites on four days, with a total of 14 data sets. Differential estimate phase filtering was employed to identify erroneous velocity measurements. Less than 3% of the total samples were identified for any given data set with the exception of three sets that contained nonphysical banded bursts. Set mean velocity statistics were largely unaffected by phase filtration, while turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) was reduced in magnitude. Because the sites were exposed to waves, wave contributions to TKE and Reynolds shear stress were computed. Power spectral densities (PSDs) were computed for each velocity burst, and the contributions from wave-related and turbulent fluctuations were isolated. Wave components of TKE and Reynolds shear stress were computed. Wave contributions to turbulent characteristics for most sets were between 10-20% of the total value. Wave contributions to TKE were consistent but wave contributions to Reynolds shear stresses were irregular. Burst-average velocity statistics, TKE, Reynolds shear stress, and turbulence intensity (TI) were computed for each set. Large variability in turbulent characteristics was observed both temporally and spatially. Tidal influences were apparent as turbulent characteristics often reached absolute maximum values during the incoming or outgoing tides. No consistent trends were observed in relationships between the sites. The findings of the study emphasize the importance of applying data filtration to raw ADV data, suggest an order of magnitude of wave contributions in a particular tidal ecosystem, and demonstrate the inherent variability of turbulent characteristics. The study also illustrates the importance of considering multiple turbulence parameters for a give site, due to the lack of observed relationships between TKE, TI, and Reynolds shear stress. Further work is needed to determine if other parameters that are relevant from a flow characterization standpoint are also important ecologically.