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Title: Delta size and plant patchiness as controls on channel network organization in experimental deltas
Abstract

Understanding the feedbacks between water, sediment, and vegetation in deltas is an important part of understanding deltas as ecomorphodynamic systems. We conducted a set of laboratory experiments using alfalfa (Medicago sativa) as a proxy for delta vegetation to investigate: (1) the effects of plants on delta growth and channel network formation; and (2) the timescales controlling delta evolution in the presence of plants. Experiments were conducted with fluctuating discharge (i.e. flood and base flow periods) and variable seeding densities. We found that when deltas were small, channels had no memory across flood cycles, as floods could completely fill the incised channel network. When deltas were large, the larger channel volume could remain underfilled to keep channel memory. Plant patches also helped to increase the number of channels and make a more distributive network. Patchiness increased over time to continually aid in bifurcation, but as vegetation cover and patch sizes increased, patches began to merge. Larger patches blocked the flow to enhance topset deposition and channel filling, even for the case of large deltas with a high channel volume. We conclude that both plant patchiness and delta size affect the development of the channel network, and we hypothesize that their influences are manifested through two competing timescales. The first timescale,Tv, defines the time when the delta is large enough for channels to have memory (i.e. remain underfilled), and the second,Tp, defines the time when vegetation patches merge, amplifying deposition and blocking channels. When run time is between these two timescales, the delta can develop a persistent distributary network of channels aided by bifurcation around plant patches, but onceTpis reached, the channel network can again be destroyed by vegetation. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10075756
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume:
44
Issue:
1
ISSN:
0197-9337
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 259-272
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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We used a variety of techniques such as the file locking mechanism, multithreading, circular buffers, real-time event decoding, and signal-decision plotting to realize the system. A video demonstrating the system is available at: https://www.isip.piconepress.com/projects/nsf_pfi_tt/resources/videos/realtime_eeg_analysis/v2.5.1/video_2.5.1.mp4. The final conference submission will include a more detailed analysis of the online performance of each module. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Research reported in this publication was most recently supported by the National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation award number IIP-1827565 and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (PA CURE). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official views of any of these organizations. REFERENCES [1] A. Craik, Y. He, and J. L. 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