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Grace Chang Coauthors Paper on the Variability of Floc Characteristics in a Shallow Estuary

By Grace Chang, Ph.D., Technical Director

Sediment is a ubiquitous natural material that comprises everything from the earth beneath our feet to the sandy beaches along our coasts. Manmade infrastructure and natural ecosystems alike depend on adequate supplies of sediment for their stability. Therefore, it is critical to investigate in order to understand how sediment moves through coastal environments. A new paper, coauthored by Integral Consulting’s Technical Director Dr. Grace Chang, examines cohesive sediment flocculation and presents results that can be used to inform sediment transport modeling parameterizations in estuarine environments.

“One of the greatest challenges when predicting sediment transport in estuaries and coastal regions is accurately depicting how quickly sediment falls through the water due to gravity. This seemingly simple process is complicated by the tendency for individual sediment particles to stick together, or ‘flocculate,’ which can cause them to settle more quickly.” – Dr. Chang

The paper, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, draws on data collected during extensive fieldwork in a shallow, wave- and current-driven estuarine environment in South San Francisco Bay. Using a suite of acoustic and optical instrumentation over three distinct seasons, measurements were taken to understand what natural processes exert the strongest influence on sediment flocculation, and how that flocculation affects sediment settling.

“On the Variability of Floc Characteristics in a Shallow Estuary” was coauthored by Galen Egan, Andrew J. Manning, Stephen Monismith, and Oliver Fringer and was supported by the National Science Foundation.

For a copy of the full paper, please contact Dr. Chang at

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Dr. Grace Chang has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of limnology and oceanography. Dr. Chang has... Full bio