Hydraulic Characterization of Mounded Gravel Fish Nests: Incipient Motion Criteria and Despiking Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter Data

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Virginia Tech


The bluehead chub (Nocomis leptocephalus) is a keystone species, an ecosystem engi- neer that constructs mounded gravel nests for spawning. Chubs provide benefits for other spawning fishes, predators, and benthic organisms through their nest construction. This study seeks to apply sediment transport models to find incipient motion criteria and erosion susceptibility of chubs nests. Field water flow velocities were measured with an acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV) in Tom's Creek, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. ADVs are often used to collect in-situ turbulent velocity data. In almost all applications of ADVs, erroneous spikes are recorded during collection, which can significantly distort turbulence statistics de- rived from velocity fluctuations. In this study, a bivariate kernel density estimation despiking algorithm is compared to a novel univariate simplification developed as part of this work. Despiking methods are evaluated using field ADV and direct numerical simulation (DNS) data of a turbulent boundary layer. Visual assessment of despiked velocity time series and power spectra and corresponding changes in statistical moments, as well as response to arti- ficial spiking of DNS data, yield valid performance of the univariate method. After despiking chub nest data, multiple methods of finding bed shear stress from velocity vertical profiles are evaluated. Bed shear stress is found over the profile of 26 field nests. The ambient to peak flow stress amplification due to a nest's bed protrusion is found to be a proportion of τ = 1.66τ to determine a critical ambient Shields parameter of approximately τ∗ = 0.03 pa c,a for nests.



despiking, acoustic doppler velocimeter, ADV, bluehead chub, incipient motion, shear stress