2023 CSDMS meeting-072


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Using Landlab and Mesa to Simulate Oyster Ecohydraulic Feedbacks

Iris Foxfoot, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Santa Barbara California, United States. Iris.R.Foxfoot@usace.army.mil
Candice Piercy, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Vicksburg Mississippi, United States. Candice.D.Piercy@usace.army.mil
Todd Swannack, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Austin Texas, United States. Todd.M.Swannack@usace.army.mil

Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) are reef-building organisms that occupy tidal and subtidal zones along the eastern coasts of the Americas. They provide key ecosystem services by improving water quality, providing habitat, providing food, and adding to local economies. At the population level, eastern oysters also form reefs which protect coastal habitats from storms and tidal erosion by attenuating waves. The decline of eastern oyster populations coupled with increased coastal storm intensity and rising sea level is exposing coastal habitats to higher levels of risk. One potential avenue to increase coastal protection is to use artificial reef structures that can also boost eastern oyster populations. Yet, there is little research on how oyster population dynamics influence the structure of the reef–artificial or not, and in turn, how the reef structure influences wave attenuation. Our research aims to address this gap by developing a model to simulate oyster populations in St. Augustine, Florida using an agent-based model coded in the Mesa Python framework. This will be coupled with the Landlab TidalFlowCalculator component, to simulate how reef structures affect tidal velocity and water depth. This model represents the first phase of a larger research effort, which aims to investigate the effects of climate change on the evolution of reef structures and estimate their wave attenuation performance over time.