Cellular Modeling and Monitoring of Riverscapes
2013 Fall Cyberseminar Series
- Mark Fonstad / University of Oregon
River science is in the midst of a methodological revolution, where new and occasionally radical approaches have been applied to the problem of mapping and modeling river features and processes at high resolution and over large areas. This methodological revolution has been concurrent with the rise of deep concerns that traditional fluvial field studies may undersample the fluvial environment to such a degree that they may obscure interpretation of both observation and theory in river science. Much of the revolution has been bound up with the recognition that the explicit description of the spatial complexity of river landscapes, or riverscape, should be at the heart of both river theory and observation. This presentation will highlight two of the many strands of the emerging new riverscape science. First, the modeling framework known as cellular automata has been imported into river studies by many researchers in an attempt to handle complex interactions of many different riverscape elements. Second, the observation of rivers through various remote sensing means from the scale of millimeters to the globe has created a completely new approach to both measurement and to theory development. The rise of spatially explicit representations in riverscapes requires new approaches to relating environmental variables, for example the testing of river theories at many different scales simultaneously, or through the combination of hitherto separate modeling approaches such as cellular automata and agent-based models for river organisms. The presentation will conclude with an appeal to both educators and students of river studies to focus carefully on the problems of process/feature representation and measurement when constructing new river research.