The bed morphology of dynamic surface water systems has always fascinated people, not only for safety reasons related to e.g floods and environmental disasters, but also for the wish to understand and predict the impacts of the ever increasing human interference with these systems. Understanding and predicting biogeomorphological processes, however, involves a wide range of disciplines such as hydrodynamics, hydrology, geology, chemistry, biology, ecology, oceanography and civil- & environmental engineering. If new insights need to be implemented, disciplines like social sciences, public administration, law and economy also come into play.
The improved understanding of biogeomorphological systems shows that their behaviour is governed by complex interactions between a number of physical and ecological processes and the morphological changes they cause. Yet, knowledge gaps remain due to the complexity of the processes and their interactions in natural systems. Successful application of (numerical) biogeomorphological models in realistic situations therefore requires expertise and a good overview of what is known and where the uncertainties are.
Driven by the increasing insight into the role of biota in geomorphology, the interdiscipline biogeomorphology is developing and biogeomorphological models are being set up which integrate hydrodynamic, morphological, water quality and ecological processes and their interactions at relevant scale levels. The model system described herein belongs to this category. For the time being, it focuses on coastal and estuarine applications.The biogeomorphological coastal modelling system has been validated against typical analytical solutions, flume experiments and a practical application (Ye, 2012). Furthermore, the system was tested in various practical applications, as described below.