Challenges in transferring knowledge between scales in coastal sediment dynamics

Shari L. Gallop*, Michael Collins, Charitha B. Pattiaratchi, Matthew J. Eliot, Cyprien Bosserelle, Marco Ghisalberti, Lindsay B. Collins, Ian Eliot, Paul L.A. Erftemeijer, Piers Larcombe, Ionan Marigómez, Tanya Stul, David J. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


"Packaging" coastal sediment transport into discrete temporal and spatial scale bands is necessary for measurement programs, modeling, and design. However, determining how to best measure and parameterize information, to transfer between scales, is not trivial. An overview is provided of the major complexities in transferring information on coastal sediment transport between scales. Key considerations that recur in the literature include: interaction between sediment transport and morphology; the influence of biota; episodic sediment transport; and recovery time-scales. The influence of bedforms and landforms, as well as sediment-biota interactions, varies with spatio-temporal scale. In some situations, episodic sediment dynamics is the main contributor to long-term sediment transport. Such events can also significantly alter biogeochemical and ecological processes, which interact with sediments. The impact of such episodic events is fundamentally influenced by recovery time-scales, which vary spatially. For the various approaches to scaling (e.g., bottom-up, aggregation, spatial hierarchies), there is a need for fundamental research on the assumptions inherent in each approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Coastal morphodynamics
  • Episodic sediment transport
  • Scale transfer
  • Sediment cells
  • Sediment transport
  • Sediment-biota interactions
  • Spatial scales
  • Temporal scales


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