Biogeomorphic Effects of Woody Vegetation on Bedrock Streams

Authors: Tasnuba Jerin*, University of Kentucky
Topics: Geomorphology, Physical Geography, Earth Science
Keywords: Bedrock streams, fluviokarst, biogeomorphic impacts, ecosystem engineering
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The dynamic interactions between fluvial processes and vegetation vary in different environmental settings and are uncertain in bedrock settings. Bedrock streams are much less studied than alluvial in all aspects, and in many respects act in qualitatively different ways. This research seeks to fill this lacuna by generating new knowledge on bedrock rivers from a biogeomorphic context. It aims to identify biotic influences and responses that may be common to fluvial systems in general, or that may be unique to bedrock channels. A synthetic approach has been undertaken to fulfill the goal of this research. A review of existing literature on biogeomorphology, mostly fluvial, was combined with empirical knowledge obtained from reconnaissance surveys conducted along two fluviokarst bedrock streams in central Kentucky, Shawnee Run and Raven Run. The research reveals that bedrock streams exhibit both unique and shared biogeomorphic impacts in relation to alluvial streams, and rocky hillslopes of bedrock environment. The results show that bedrock streams display a characteristic geomorphic form — ‘root banks’, which is distinctive to this setting. On the contrary, shared biogeomorphic impacts include sediment and woody debris trapping, bar and island development and stabilization, and crescentic bank formation with alluvial streams, and displacement of bedrock due to root and trunk growth, and bedrock mining caused by tree uprooting with the bedrock hillslopes. Thus, this study indicates a need for future research, along the line of ecosystem engineering that will further develop an ecoevolutionary viewpoint, from a biogeomorphic perspective along the streams associated with bedrock-controlled environment.

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