Seasonal Variation Of Wave Attenuation Capacity Of Canadian Saltmarsh Vegetation


  • GANGA CALDERA Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada
  • JACOB STOLLE Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada
  • DAMIEN PHAM VAN BANG École de technologie supérieure, Canada
  • ENDA MURPHY National Research Council of Canada, Canada
  • PAUL KNOX National Research Council of Canada, Canada



Wave attenuation, Live vegetation, Canadian saltmarsh, Large-scale physical modelling, Seasonal variation


Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for coastal protection have been widely recognized as sustainable, economical, and eco-friendly alternatives to conventional grey structures, particularly under the threat of climate change (Temmerman et al., 2013). Living shorelines are a form of NbS, which incorporate natural elements (such as saltmarshes) that provide flood and erosion risk management benefits. Climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels and reducing sea-ice cover (Savard et al., 2016), are increasingly motivating communities in Canada to consider incorporating living shorelines in coastal protection schemes.

The efficacy of wave energy dissipation by vegetation depends on both hydrodynamic conditions and plant characteristics. However, plant parameters, such as standing biomass exhibit seasonal fluctuations, leading to corresponding variations in attenuation capacity (Schulze et al., 2019). Hence, the design of NbS utilizing saltmarsh vegetation must account for seasonal variations to ensure sustained efficacy, especially within the context of Canadian regional climates, which are typically characterized by extended, stormy winters and shorter summer seasons.

Few studies have quantified wave attenuation by real saltmarsh vegetation in large-scale laboratory facilities (Möller et al., 2014; Maza et al., 2015; Ghodoosipour et al., 2022), particularly for species native to the east coast of Canada. There is a knowledge gap on how seasonality affects wave attenuation by saltmarsh vegetation and how attenuation varies from the lower marsh to the higher marsh depending on species-specific plant traits. Research is needed to bridge this gap and develop technical guidance for the design of performant living shorelines in Canada.



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