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Formation and erosion of biogeomorphological structures: A model study on the tube-building polychaete Lanice conchilega
Borsje, B.W.; Bouma, T.J.; Rabaut, M.; Herman, P.M.J.; Hulscher, S.J.M.H.; Borsje, B.W.; Herman, P.M.J. (2014). Formation and erosion of biogeomorphological structures: A model study on the tube-building polychaete Lanice conchilega. Limnol. Oceanogr. 59(4): 1297-1309. hdl.handle.net/10.4319/lo.2014.59.4.1297
In: Limnology and Oceanography. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography: Waco, Tex., etc.. ISSN 0024-3590, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Borsje, B.W.
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Rabaut, M., more
  • Herman, P.M.J., more
  • Hulscher, S.J.M.H.
  • Borsje, B.W.
  • Herman, P.M.J.

Abstract
    We study how organism traits and population densities of ecosystem engineering species, in combination withenvironmental factors, affect the formation and erosion rates of biogeomorphological structures, and focus on thewidely distributed marine tube-building polychaete Lanice conchilega, which lives in patches that form mounds upto 80 cm high in soft-bottom sediments. We modeled the tube-building worms as thin solid piles that affect dragand turbulence, and thereby the local sediment dynamics and thus mound dynamics. Hydrodynamic modelpredictions showed good agreement with flume experiments for flow-velocity adaptations both within and infront of a patch of tube-building worms. The modeled equilibrium mound height increased with the organismtrait ‘‘tube length,’’ and with population density, but was only little affected by the strength of the tidal current,water depth, and grain size. In all cases, the modeled mound heights were within the range of the mound heightsobserved in the field. The effect of the tube-building worm L. conchilega reached beyond the spatial scale of theirbiogenic structures, and persisted longer than the lifetime of the engineering organism itself.

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