Inferring biogeomorphic dynamical regions of barrier island dune topographic state space based on data topology

Authors: Li-Chih Hsu*, University of Kentucky
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Geomorphology, Biogeography
Keywords: Barrier, Dune, Dimensionality, LiDAR, State space, Resilience, Response surfaces
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Conceptual, field-based, and modeling studies have independently documented how biogeomorphic feedbacks can shape dynamical properties of barrier island dunes. However, less has been detailed about the geographic variability in these feedbacks and transitions in the strength of their coupling alongshore. This study demonstrates the potential for a mosaic of biogeomorphic influence on topography and its potential linkages to dynamical properties as reflected in the data structure and state space of topographic metrics extracted from 52 sites across 12 barrier islands of the US south Atlantic coast. This study indicates how changes in data structure are associated with the emergence of biogeomorphic resilience out of dominantly geomorphic controls that shape the resistance of dune landscapes. The interpretations of state space suggest how multiple kinds of transitions can be expected across a barrier island dune strand. Low dimensional geomorphic properties were associated with a more gradual transition from high, positive to low, negative relief sites. At the higher dimensions, potentially larger threshold transitions develop between sites that differ predominantly in how continuous surface properties of elevation vary spatially. Biogeomorphic feedbacks can promote not only resilience but also resistance properties, thereby contributing to a greater potential for threshold dynamics. This state space approach can assist in the design of field experiments to elucidate mechanisms, as it allows scholars to identify regions that may maximize contrasts in resilience and resistance properties.

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