JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE

Physical modelling of water, fauna and flora: knowledge gaps, avenues for future research and infrastructural needs

Abstract: 
Physical modelling is a key tool for generating understanding of the complex interactions between aquatic organisms and hydraulics, which is important for management of aquatic environments under environmental change and our ability to exploit ecosystem services. Many aspects of this field remain poorly understood and the use of physical models within eco-hydraulics requires advancement in methodological application and substantive understanding. This paper presents a review of the emergent themes from a workshop tasked with identifying the future infrastructure requirements of the next generation of eco-hydraulics researchers. The identified themes are: abiotic factors, adaptation, complexity and feedback, variation, and scale and scaling. The paper examines these themes and identifies how progress on each of them is key to existing and future efforts to progress our knowledge of eco-hydraulic interactions. Examples are drawn from studies on biofilms, plants, and sessile and mobile fauna in shallow water fluvial and marine environments. Examples of research gaps and directions for educational, infrastructural and technological advance are also presented.