Biomorphodynamic modelling of inner bank advance in migrating meander bends

S. Zen, G. Zolezzi, M. Toffolon, A.M. Gurnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a bio-morphodynamic model at bend cross-sectional scale for the lateral migration of river meander bends, where the two banks can migrate separately as a result of the mutual interaction between river flow, sediments and riparian vegetation, particularly at the interface between the permanently wet channel and the advancing floodplain. The model combines a non-linear analytical model for the morphodynamic evolution of the channel bed, a quasi-1D model to account for flow unsteadiness, and an ecological model describing riparian vegetation dynamics. Simplified closures are included to estimate the feedbacks among vegetation, hydrodynamics and sediment transport, which affect the morphology of the river-floodplain system. Model tests reveal the fundamental role of riparian plants in generating bio-morphological patterns at the advancing floodplain margin. Importantly, they provide insight into the biophysical controls of the ‘bar push’ mechanism and into its role in the lateral migration of meander bends and in the temporal variations of the active channel width.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)166-181
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Early online date3 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Meander bio-morphodynamics
  • Non-linear models
  • Riparian vegetation
  • Bar push
  • Ridges-swales pattern
  • Width variation

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