Advective exchange between the pore space of sediments and the overlying water column, called hyporheic exchange in fluvial environments, drives solute transport in rivers and many important biogeochemical processes. To improve understanding of these processes through visual demonstration, we created a hyporheic flow simulation in the multi-agent computer modeling platform NetLogo. The simulation shows virtual tracer flowing through a streambed covered with two-dimensional bedforms. Sediment, flow, and bedform characteristics are used as input variables for the model. We illustrate how these simulations match experimental observations from laboratory flume experiments based on measured input parameters. Dye is injected into the flume sediments to visualize the porewater flow. For comparison virtual tracer particles are placed at the same locations in the simulation. This coupled simulation and lab experiment has been used successfully in undergraduate and graduate laboratories to directly visualize river-porewater interactions and show how physically-based flow simulations can reproduce environmental phenomena. Students took photographs of the bed through the transparent flume walls and compared them to shapes of the dye at the same times in the simulation. This resulted in very similar trends, which allowed the students to better understand both the flow patterns and the mathematical model. The simulations also allow the user to quickly visualize the impact of each input parameter by running multiple simulations. This process can also be used in research applications to illustrate basic processes, relate interfacial fluxes and porewater transport, and support quantitative process-based modeling.
- Issue 105
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)