Abstract: Measurements from a fixed-bed, Froude-scaled hydraulic model of a stream in northeastern Vermont demonstrated the importance of riparian vegetation effects on near-bank turbulence during overbank flood events. The prototype stream, a tributary to Sleepers River, increased in channel width within the last 40 years in response to passive reforestation of its riparian zone. Previous research has found that reaches of small streams with forested riparian zones are commonly wider that adjacent reaches with non-forested, or meadow, vegetation; however, the driving mechanisms for this morphologic difference are not fully explained. Flume experiments were performed to investigate near-bank turbulence as a mechanism for channel widening in response to reforestation. A 1:5 scale, simplified model of half a channel and its adjacent floodplain was constructed within a 6 m long recirculating flume. The test region was 3.7 m long and 0.9 m wide and oriented with the channel centerline at the flume wall. The channel bed slope was fixed at 0.03, and experiments were run at three discharges: 30, 33, and 36 l/s. Two types of riparian vegetation scenarios were simulated: forested, with rigid, randomly-distributed, wooden dowels, and non-forested, with synthetic grass carpeting. Three-dimensional velocities were measured with a Nortek Vectrino acoustic Doppler velocimeter at 41 different locations within the channel and floodplain at near-bed and 0.6-depth elevations. Observations of three-dimensional velocities and calculations of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) showed significant differences between forested and non-forested runs. Results indicated that turbulence intensity, as quantified by TKE, roughly doubled throughout the channel and floodplain when forested vegetation was introduced. Given that sediment entrainment and transport can be amplified in flows with high turbulence intensity, our results demonstrated the potential for increased erosion during overbank flood events in stream reaches with recently reforested riparian zones. The concentration of high TKE values and vertical upwelling at the channel-floodplain interface in forested runs indicated a probable erosion hot spot that could promote channel widening.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).