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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1295; doi:10.3390/rs9121295

Remote-Sensing Hydraulic Characterization of Channel Habitat Units in a Tropical Montane River: Bladen River, Belize

Department of Geography, University of Alabama, Box 870322, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0322, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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The physical characteristics of river systems exert significant control on the habitat for aquatic species, including the distribution of in-stream channel habitat units. Most previous studies on channel habitat units have focused on midlatitude rivers, which differ in several substantive ways from tropical rivers. Field delineation of channel habitat units is especially challenging in tropical rivers, many of which are remote and difficult to access. Here, we developed an approach for delineating channel habitat units based on a combination of field measurements, remote sensing, and hydraulic modeling, and applied it to a 4.1-km segment of the Bladen River in southern Belize. We found that the most prevalent channel habitat unit on the study segment was runs, followed by pools and riffles. Average spacing of channel habitat units was up to twice as high on the study segment than the typical values reported for midlatitude rivers, possibly because of high erosion rates in the tropical environment. The approach developed here can be applied to other rivers to build understanding of the controls on and spatial distribution of channel habitat units on tropical rivers and to support river management and conservation goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: channel habitat units; hydraulic modeling; hydraulically assisted bathymetry channel habitat units; hydraulic modeling; hydraulically assisted bathymetry

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Praskievicz, S.; Buege, E. Remote-Sensing Hydraulic Characterization of Channel Habitat Units in a Tropical Montane River: Bladen River, Belize. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1295.

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