Water and Environmental Elements

One of the Joint Research Activities, in which Hydralab focuses on enhancing the capabilities of experimental facilities, methods and instruments, is about ecology research in experimental facilities: PISCES (Protocols and InStrumentation for Combined hydraulic and Ecological modelS).

The aim of PISCES is to develop innovative new technologies, experimental protocols and improved methodologies for incorporating organisms, both plants and animals, into physical hydraulic models. This will enable hydraulic research infrastructures to be used to predict the response of benthic aquatic and marine organisms to changing flows and the influence of organisms on flow and sediment erosion, both of which are poorly understood. The problems of using physical modelling facilities to solve eco-hydraulic problems have become evident as a result of some informative EU funded HYDRALAB access projects incorporating living organisms (Perona, et al., 2009). The main issues that require solutions are maintaining the health of organisms during experiments, understanding the limitations on the use of surrogates, measuring flow around organisms and evaluating the extent to which laboratory experiments can replicate field conditions.

PISCES brings together an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, sedimentologists and engineers to bridge the gap between field observations and physical models of plants and animals. Ecohydraulics experts are drawn from the large laboratories offering access in this integrated infrastructure project (particularly UHULL, Deltares, NTNU and CNRS) and other partners with important ecological experience (GEOECOMAR and ULBORO).