UNH Ocean Seminar

Fluid Dynamics of Mangroves Roots and Its Implication to Erosion and Coastal Protection

Oscar Curet
Associate Professor

Ocean and Mechanical Engineering
Florida Atlantic University

Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, 3:10pm
Chase 105

Mangrove trees are a natural interface in tropical and subtropical regions between land and coastal zones. Red mangroves form a dense networks of prop roots that make them resilient in this environment. The interaction of mangroves with tidal and river flows is fundamental to the preservation of estuaries and shorelines by providing habitat for aquatic animals, water filtration and carbon capture. In particular, the hydrodynamic interactions of mangrove roots and water flow have been proposed as a key element to mitigate erosion. In this work, we investigate the fluid dynamics in mangrove models. We modeled the mangrove roots as a patch of cylinders that could be either be rigidly fixed or hinged at the top to allow for one-degree motion perpendicular to the flow. We present experimental data on drag and flow measurements, erosion and roots kinematics. Our data suggest that mangrove root porosity (the fraction of the volume of void space over the total volume) is optimal to prevent erosion. The potential mechanisms for this erosion mechanism are discussed as well as the implication of mangrove-inspired structures for coastal protection. 


Oscar Curet is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering at Florida Atlantic University. He completed his Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at Northwestern University and his B.S also in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus. Before joining FAU, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Brown University. His research work is in the area of bio-inspired systems with focus in fluid dynamics, marine propulsion, multi-agent systems, energy harvesting and coastal protection. His research has been funded by multiple agencies including National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Janke Research Foundation. In 2018, he was awarded an NSF CAREER.