Influence of ambient temperature on erosion properties of exposed cohesive sediment from an intertidal mudflat

  • Hieu M. NguyenEmail author
  • Karin R. Bryan
  • Conrad A. Pilditch
  • Vicki G. Moon


Intertidal flats regularly emerge and submerge in accordance with changes to the water level occurring over tidal cycles. The alteration between wet and drained states may affect the sediment water content, and so the erosion properties of intertidal sediments. This study examined the influence of ambient temperature on the erodibility of exposed cohesive sediment from an intertidal mudflat in the Firth of Thames, New Zealand, in December 2017 and March 2018. The EROMES device was used to measure the erosion potential of sediment (erosion threshold, τcr N m−2, and erosion rate, ER g m−2 s−1). Samples were drained and exposed to temperatures of 0, 8, 25 and 40 °C, chosen to mimic natural exposed conditions, while submerged samples simulated natural flooded conditions. Results showed that the cohesive sediment became more resistant to erosion when exposed to air compared with submerged samples as a consequence of decreased water content. The water content of exposed sediments decreased by 1.01–1.78 times, a rate which was a function of increasing temperature. The τcr of exposed experiments was 1.2 to 2.2 times higher, whereas ER decreased 1.2 to 6.2 times. Both the December 2017 and March 2018 sampling dates showed a similar pattern of increasing resistance to erosion (higher τcr and lower ER), which corresponded to depleted water content of the exposed sediment at higher temperatures.



We would like to thank Benjamin Stewart, John Montgomery, Hieu Dao and Pradeep Sign for their invaluable assistance in the field. We also highly appreciate prompt and enthusiastic support from Dean Sandwell, Erik Horstman and Rebecca Gallagher in assisting with laboratory work. The authors especially thank Assoc. Prof. Zeng Zhou at Hohai University for helpful comments. We are thankful to the two anonymous reviewers for the time taken to make a constructive critique of our work.

Funding information

This research has been funded by the University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship for international students awarded to Hieu M. Nguyen. The Tipping Points project in the Dynamic Seas programme of the New Zealand Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge (CO1x1515 4.2.1) supported Karin Bryan and Conrad Pilditch.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ScienceUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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