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Flow through a rough, shallow reef

Abstract

This paper presents a simple model of wave-driven flow through a coral reef that is characterized by a shallow, wide reef crest and a deeper, but frictional lagoon. Assuming that the dominant momentum balances are between quadratic drag and barotropic pressure gradients, along-lagoon and cross-reef flows are coupled through continuity and through a setup of the water surface in the lagoon that varies in the along-reef direction. Scaling of the governing equations shows that this flow is governed by a single parameter P that expresses the competing effects of cross-reef and along-lagoon drag. When P < 1, the cross-reef flow is nearly constant, whereas when P > 1, only that portion of the reef closest to the pass through the reef crest through which fluid exists the lagoon supports cross-reef flows.

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Acknowledgments

The author is grateful for numerous discussions with Ryan Lowe, Jim Hench, Jim Falter, the late Marlin Atkinson, and other colleagues including Graham Symonds about the physics of flows over coral reefs. This work was partially supported by the Environmental Ventures Program of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

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Correspondence to Stephen G. Monismith.

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Communicated by Biology Editor Dr. Anastazia Banaszak

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Monismith, S.G. Flow through a rough, shallow reef. Coral Reefs 33, 99–104 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-013-1107-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-013-1107-0

Keywords

  • Hydrodynamics
  • Circulation
  • Drag
  • Flow