Bioturbation, advection, and diffusion of a conserved tracer in a laboratory flume

P. A. Work, P. R. Moore, D. D. Reible

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15 Scopus citations


Laboratory experiments indicating the relative influences of advection, diffusion, and bioturbation on transport of NaCl tracer between a stream and streambed are described. Data were collected in a recirculating flume housing a box filled with test Sediments. Peclet numbers ranged from 0 to 1.5. Sediment components included a medium sand (d50 = 0.31 mm), kaolinite, and topsoil. Lumbriculus variegatus were introduced as bioturbators. Conductivity probes were employed to document the flux of the tracer solution out of the bed. Measurements are compared to one-dimensional effective diffusion models assuming one or two horizontal sediment layers. These simple models provide a good indication of tracer half-life in the bed if a suitable effective diffusion coefficient is chosen but underpredict initial flux and overpredict flux at long times. Organism activity was limited to the upper reaches of the sediment test box but eventually exerts a secondary influence on flux from deeper regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-1-24-9
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2002


  • Advection-diffusion
  • Bioturbation
  • Peclet number
  • Pore water flux
  • Solute transport


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