These authors contributed equally to this work.

Estimating the flow velocity and discharge in rivers is of particular interest for monitoring, modeling, and research purposes. Instruments for measuring water level and surface velocity are generally mounted on bridge decks, and this poses a challenge because the bridge structure, with piers and abutments, can perturb the flow field. The current research aims to investigate the applicability of entropy theory to estimate the velocity distribution and the discharge in the vicinity of river bridges. For this purpose, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is used to obtain three-dimensional flow fields along a stretch of the Paglia River (central Italy), where a historical multi-arch bridge strongly affects flood flows. The input data for the entropy model include the cross-sectional bathymetry and the surface velocity provided by the numerical simulations. A total of 12 samples, including three different flow conditions at four cross-sections, one upstream and three downstream of the bridge, are considered. It is found that the entropy model can be reliably applied upstream of the bridge, also when forced with a single (i.e., the maximum) value of the surface velocity, with errors on total discharge below 13 % in the considered case. By contrast, downstream of the bridge, the wakes generated by the bridge piers strongly affect the velocity distribution, both in the spanwise and in the vertical directions and for very long distances. Here, notwithstanding the complex and multimodal spanwise distribution of flow velocity, the entropy model estimates the discharge with error lower than 8 % if forced with the river-wide distribution of the surface velocity. The present study has important implications for the optimal positioning of sensors and suggests the potential of using CFD modeling and entropy theory jointly to foster greater knowledge of river systems.

Velocity and discharge measurements in rivers are fundamental for monitoring, modeling, and research purposes (Depetris, 2021; Di Baldassarre and Montanari, 2009; Dottori et al., 2013; Gore and Banning, 2017; Herschy, 2009). Unfortunately, measuring river discharge can be very challenging for different reasons, for example in the case of intermittent rivers typical of semi-arid regions, of flash floods in mountain areas, of flood flows involving wide floodplains, and of freshwater flows affected by saline tidal intrusions in estuaries. While monitoring river discharge on the ground has definite advantages (Fekete et al., 2012), the use of traditional methods such as current meters and acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) is generally expensive, time-consuming, and risky for operators, particularly during severe flow conditions, and such methods are not applicable in remote and inaccessible locations. Different techniques can be used to measure the surface velocity, also during severe flood conditions, including large-scale particle image velocimetry (LSPIV) (Eltner et al., 2020; Jodeau et al., 2008; Le Coz et al., 2010; Muste et al., 2011, 2014), space–time image velocimetry (STIV) (Fujita et al., 2007, 2019), infrared quantitative image velocimetry (Schweitzer and Cowen, 2021), and other methods based on the use of either terrestrial or autonomous aerial system sensors (Bandini et al., 2020, 2021; Herschy, 2009). Indirect methods have been proposed to estimate the flow discharge using these kinds of remotely sensed data (Bogning et al., 2018; Fekete and Vörösmarty, 2002; Spada et al., 2017; Vandaele et al., 2023; Zhang et al., 2019). The flow rate is generally obtained by applying suitable velocity coefficients to estimate the depth-averaged velocity or by integrating a hypothetical flow velocity distribution in the cross-sectional area. The key point is thus estimating the depth-averaged velocity, or its full cross-sectional distribution, starting from surface velocity data, a process whose reliability depends on the (un)evenness of the actual velocity distribution.

In natural rivers with large cross-sections, the streamwise velocity typically shows a logarithmic vertical distribution, mainly determined by the bottom roughness. According to field data, the maximum velocity is found just below the free surface and gradually decreases towards the bed (Franca et al., 2008; Guo, 2014). However, plenty of factors contribute to making the velocity distribution irregular. For instance, channel bends and deformed bathymetry produce large-scale secondary currents (Constantinescu et al., 2011; Lazzarin and Viero, 2023; Yang et al., 2012), and the presence of banks and of discontinuities of bed elevation in the spanwise directions can generate secondary currents of the second kind because of turbulence heterogeneity (Nikora and Roy, 2011; Proust and Nikora, 2020), which all increase the three-dimensionality of the flow field and alter the vertical and spanwise distributions of the flow velocity.

The presence of in-stream structures, such as bridges characterized by the presence of piers and/or of lateral abutments, can induce sudden variations of the flow field (Laursen, 1960, 1963) and complex three-dimensional turbulent structures (Ataie-Ashtiani and Aslani-Kordkandi, 2012; Chang et al., 2013; Lazzarin et al., 2024a; Salaheldin et al., 2004). Secondary currents in the cross-section transport low momentum fluid from lateral regions to the center of the channel and high-momentum fluid from the free surface toward the bed (Bonakdari et al., 2008; Nezu and Nakagawa, 1993; Yang et al., 2004). Coherent systems of vortices with horizontal (horseshoe vortex) or vertical axes (wake vortex) modify the velocity distribution (Kirkil and Constantinescu, 2015; Sumer et al., 1997). The wakes generated by in-stream obstacles and contractions can produce uneven spatial distributions of the water surface elevations close to the bridge and can propagate downstream of bridges, thus altering the cross-sectional velocity distribution for quite long distances (Briaud et al., 2009; Yang et al., 2021). Furthermore, because of particular bridge shape (e.g., arch-piers) and irregular cross-sections (e.g., compound sections), the flow field may show a marked dependence on the water depth and the flow rate.

Even though the above factors complicate estimation of the cross-sectional velocity distribution (and thus the flow discharge) based on surface velocity data in the vicinity of in-stream structures, it has to be observed that measuring instruments such as hydrometers, as well as radar sensors or cameras for estimating the surface velocity, are often mounted on bridge decks for convenience reasons. Notwithstanding the recommendation of installing height gauge at the upstream side of bridges (Meals and Dressing, 2008), measuring instruments are often located downstream of bridges, where the flow field unevenness is expected to further complicate the discharge estimation (Kästner et al., 2018). Besides the measurement of the flow discharge, knowing the flow field nearby bridges has additional practical implications; the flow velocity is the dominant parameter to study the local scour at bridge piers, which may cause bridge collapse during floods (Barbetta et al., 2017; Cheng et al., 2018; Federico et al., 2003; Khosronejad et al., 2012; Lu et al., 2022).

One of the most promising methods to estimate the cross-sectional velocity distribution from joint measures of water level and surface velocity is based on the concept of entropy. Researchers have widely applied this concept to predict the velocity distribution, flow discharge, and other relevant parameters of open-channel flows (Bahmanpouri et al., 2022b; Bonakdari et al., 2015; Chahrour et al., 2021; Chiu, 1989; Chiu et al., 2005; Chiu and Said, 1995; Ebtehaj et al., 2018; Moramarco et al., 2019; Moramarco and Singh, 2010; Singh et al., 2017; Sterling and Knight, 2002; Termini and Moramarco, 2017; Vyas et al., 2021). Recent applications of the entropic velocity distribution include the case of large meandering channels (Termini and Moramarco, 2020), the estimation of the depth-averaged velocity as a function of the aspect ratio (Abdolvandi et al., 2021), the confluence of the large Negro and Solimões rivers (Bahmanpouri et al. 2022a), and the regionalization of the entropy parameter (Ammari et al., 2022). One advantage of the entropy approach is providing the complete cross-sectional distribution of velocity, whereas other indirect methods for estimating flow discharge only compute the depth-averaged value from the surface velocities at subsections using a fixed reduction coefficient (e.g., Le Coz et al., 2010). Previous studies demonstrated the accuracy of the entropy method in undisturbed flow conditions and also in cases like confluences or low-curvature bends characterized by large-scale three-dimensional effects and secondary currents.

The present research is meant to investigate the predictive ability of entropy theory in estimating the velocity distribution, and hence the streamflow discharge, in the case of complex flow fields generated by the presence of bridges. The issue is of particular relevance because, as already noted, water levels and free-surface velocities are often measured by instruments mounted on bridges, where the flow–structure interaction can significantly disturb the flow field.

Considering that measuring the cross-sectional velocity distribution in the vicinity of bridges is practically unfeasible in flood conditions, in the present study a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (3D-CFD) model is used to obtain physics-based and high-resolution descriptions of the real flow field, for a sufficiently long river segment and for different values of the flow discharge. The CFD-computed surface velocity (either a single value or its river-wide distribution) is used as input for the entropy model, thus simulating the availability of suitable data provided by remote sense instruments. Then, the cross-sectional velocity distributions provided by the entropic model are benchmarked against those computed by the CFD model, which allows the reliability of the entropy model to be assessed. The exercise is repeated for different cross-sections, both upstream and downstream of the bridge, to investigate the pros and cons of different locations where estimating the discharge and thus to provide applicative guidelines. A reach of the Paglia River, in central Italy, is chosen as a relevant case study; here, a level gauge and a radar sensor for measuring the surface velocity are mounted on a historical multi-arch bridge, which produces strong flow–structure interactions.

The present analysis allows guidelines to be provided for the proper application of entropy theory and the optimal choice and positioning of measuring instruments, aimed at the reliable estimation of flow discharge in the vicinity of river bridges.

The Paglia River, in the central part of Italy (Fig. 1a), is a tributary of Tiber River, subject to severe flooding and high sediment transport. The reach of interest, near the town of Orvieto, is across the Adunata bridge (Fig. 1b) along the Paglia River (basin area of about 1200 km

The main thread of the flow is on the right-hand side of the river, and a large depositional area forms on the left-hand side just downstream of the bridge (Fig. 1b). The main channel axis is characterized by a significant curvature, bending to the left at the bridge section (Fig. 1c).

At the downstream side of the Adunata bridge, a water level gauge and a radar sensor for measuring the water surface velocity are located at the center of the first and second arch, respectively (Fig. 1d). The time resolution of both the sensors is 10 min. In addition, a number of flow rate measures and cross-sectional velocity distributions were provided by the Umbria Region Hydrological Service. The flow rate data were collected using a current meter by wading a few tens of meters downstream of the Adunata bridge in the period 2009–2011 (flow rate ranging between 3.3 and 14.3 m

As detailed in the following sections, the rating curve derived from current meter and ADCP data, the water levels, and the free-surface velocity data collected by the sensors mounted on the Adunata bridge were used to validate the hydrodynamic numerical models (Sect. 2.3 and Appendix A). The cross-sectional velocity distributions measured with the current meter just downstream of the bridge were used to further assess the spatial variability of the entropy-based velocity distributions, as detailed in Sect. 3.1.

The commercial CFD software STAR-CCM

The computational domain reproduced a

The 3D-CFD model was validated by comparing the surface velocity computed by the model with that measured by the radar sensor located downstream of the bridge (see the yellow bullets in Fig. A2c and d).

Three different steady flow conditions have been simulated with the 3D-CFD model STAR-CCM

Simulations performed in the present work. The value in brackets indicates the total discharge with consideration of the flow over floodplains, which is not considered in the 3D simulations.

Entropy theory deals with physical systems that may have a large number of states from a probabilistic point of view. The concept of entropy is used for statistical inference, to determine a probability distribution function when the available information is limited to some average quantities, defined as constraints such as mean and variance. For the application of entropy to streamflow measurements, the pioneer was Chiu (1987), who developed a probabilistic formulation of the cross-sectional velocity distribution in open channels, in which the expected value of the point velocity is determined by applying the maximum entropy principle (Chiu, 1987, 1988, 1989). Using this probabilistic formulation, the velocity distribution is given analytically as a function of the cross-sectional geometry; of the dimensionless entropy parameter,

The estimation of cross-sectional velocity distribution,

Flow data for the cross-sections of Fig. 2 and the three considered flood events of Table 1. The values of the entropic function,

Introducing the variable

In the case of gauged cross-sections,

When only the surface velocities,

The comparison between the entropy-based and the CFD-derived velocity distributions was performed considering four cross-sections (Fig. 2), at a distance of 50 m upstream and 50, 100, and 200 m downstream of the bridge, and the three flood events of 2012, 2019, and 2022 (see Table 1). The sections just upstream and downstream of the bridge are located at a distance of about 0.45

Location of the Adunata bridge and of the four selected cross-sections (aerial image from © Google Earth 2023).

First, the study analyzed the variability of the entropy function,

Some relevant parameters that characterize the flow field (e.g., aspect ratio, average and maximum velocity) at the selected cross-sections are presented in Table 2 for the peak flow condition of the three flood events. The values of the entropic function,

Entropic function

Since the entropic function is typically assumed to be constant for all flow conditions at a given cross-section, it is of interest to analyze its actual variation by exploiting the flow fields provided by the 3D-CFD model and to see the effectiveness of their first-guess estimates obtained using Eq. (4). The values of

Flood event of 2019, cross-section 2 (50 m downstream of the bridge). Velocity distributions provided by

For each flood event, at cross-sections 1 and 4, i.e., where the flow field is not characterized by the wakes generated by the bridge piers, the entropic function assumes similar values, which can be identified as “undisturbed” values. The variability of such undisturbed values of

This first analysis suggests that assuming constant values of

Comparison between 3D-CFD outputs and entropy-based estimations forced with the river-wide distribution of the free-surface velocity.

Flood event of 2019, cross-section 3 (100 m downstream of the bridge). Velocity distributions provided by

Flood event of 2019, cross-section 4 (200 m downstream of the bridge). Velocity distributions provided by

The efficacy of the entropy model is tested here for the case in which the surface velocity is known for all the width of the cross-section. This could be the case in which the river-wide surface velocity is estimated from imaging techniques (e.g., Eltner et al., 2020; Schweitzer and Cowen, 2021). The results, in terms of cross-sectional velocity distributions, are presented for brevity only for the intermediate peak flow of the 2019 flood event and for the most challenging cross-sections just downstream of the bridge, where the flow field is disturbed by the pier wakes. The same results, for the peak flows of 2012 and 2022 events, are provided in the Supplement.

Flood event of 2012, cross-section 1 (50 m upstream of the bridge). Cross-sectional velocity distribution computed with the 3D-CFD model

Figure 4 presents the cross-sectional velocity distribution 50 m downstream of the bridge (cross-section 2). As shown by the 3D-CFD flow field (Fig. 4a) and reflected in the low value of

Flood event of 2012, cross-section 1 (50 m upstream of the bridge). Spanwise distribution of the surface velocity

Figure 5 depicts the cross-sectional velocity distributions at a larger distance from the bridge, i.e., at cross-section 3, placed 100 m downstream of the bridge. The visual comparison with Fig. 4 suggests that the effects of the piers on the flow field are reduced because of the increased distance, and the cross-sectional distribution provided by the 3D-CFD model (Fig. 5a) appears to be more regular. The statistical analysis confirms that in this case the entropy model (Fig. 5b) is able to simulate the velocity profiles with a higher accuracy.

Figure 6 shows the cross-sectional velocity distributions of 3D-CFD and entropy models for cross-section 4, located 200 m downstream of the bridge. Compared to cross-section 3, the effect of the bridge piers is further reduced because of both the distance and the more compact shape of the cross-section. Since the effect of the bridge piers is minimum, the statistical analysis shows a better agreement of the entropy model results with the CFD-based data. Though areas with relatively high velocities are still visible in simulations with higher values of the discharge (i.e., events of 2012 and 2019), for the high-flow conditions of 2022, the effect of the bridge pier has completely vanished. Therefore, the lower the flow discharge, the lower the distance from the bridge to recover undisturbed flow conditions.

The results presented here show that, when the river-wide distribution of the free-surface velocity is provided, the entropy method provides good estimations of the cross-sectional velocity distribution even when the influence of bridge piers, and thus the unevenness of the flow field, is relevant. The main discrepancies are observed in low-velocity regions, which slightly affect the estimation of the flow discharge. Table 3 lists some statistics and error percentages for the depth-averaged velocity and discharge estimations for all cross-sections and the three events considered. The estimations provided by the entropy method are in good agreement with results of CFD model, both upstream and downstream of the Adunata bridge. Though the accuracy is slightly reduced downstream of the bridge, the results are also reliable in the vicinity of the structure (i.e., at cross-section 2), suggesting the applicability of the entropy model to estimate the flow discharges, even in the case of irregular distributions of the cross-sectional velocity, provided that the river-wide distribution of the surface velocity is used as input data.

Flood event of 2022, cross-section 4 (200 m downstream of the bridge). Cross-sectional velocity distribution computed with the 3D-CFD model

Flood event of 2022, cross-section 4 (200 m downstream of the bridge). Spanwise distribution of the surface velocity

In this section, the results are presented considering only a single value of the surface velocity as input for the entropy model, which corresponds to the maximum surface velocity predicted by the 3D-CFD model. Two different spanwise velocity distributions are enforced in the entropic model, namely a parabolic spanwise distribution (PSD) and an elliptic spanwise distribution (ESD). Of course, applying the entropy model using a unique value of the velocity is particularly sensitive to this value and supposes a unimodal velocity distribution in the spanwise direction. For this reason, this kind of approach cannot be used in the cross-sections immediately downstream of the bridge, where the spanwise velocity distribution is markedly irregular (see e.g., Fig. 4). Herein, the results are presented for cross-section 1, located 50 m upstream of the bridge for the high-flow condition of the 2012 event, and for cross-section 4, located 200 m downstream of the bridge, for the modest peak flow condition of the 2022 event, where the effect of bridge piers on the velocity distribution wears off in a shorter distance.

Figure 7 shows the distribution of the surface velocity based on the 3D-CFD outputs and both the PSD and ESD entropy models. The agreement of both the PSD and the ESD is generally good in the central and the right parts of the channel and less good in the left part of the channel. Here, due to the irregular bathymetry (i.e., gravel deposit), the 3D-CFD model predicts localized stagnation zones that cannot be captured by the entropy model based on a single value of the surface velocity. This is confirmed by Fig. 8, which shows the cross-sectional distribution of the surface velocity and three vertical profiles. In the perspective of estimating the flow discharge, the lateral discrepancies represent a minor limit, as the central part of the cross-sections conveys the largest part of the total discharge.

Comparison between 3D-CFD and entropy-based outputs considering a single surface velocity.

Overall, the cross-sectional velocity distributions based on ESD seem more accurate than those based on the PSD: they provide similar results at the center of the channel, but the parabolic distribution generally underestimates the flow velocity close to the banks. Both cross-sectional and vertical distributions of the velocity profiles (Figs. 7a and 8c) highlight the existence of a velocity dip; i.e., the maximum velocity is below the water surface, particularly at the center of the channel. This is generally the consequence of secondary currents superposed on the main flow (Termini and Moramarco, 2020). Yang et al. (2004) and Moramarco et al. (2017) reported that for large aspect ratios of channel flow,

Flood event of 2022. Color map of the instantaneous surface velocities computed with the 3D-CFD model for the Paglia River at the Adunata bridge (aerial image from © Google Earth, 2023).

The velocity distribution at cross-section 4 (200 m downstream of the bridge) is presented in Fig. 9 for the moderate peak flow condition of the 2022 event. For this cross-section, in the 3D-CFD results (Fig. 9a), the maximum surface velocity is located on the left side of the channel, rather than at its center (this aspect is discussed in the following). Forced with the maximum water surface velocity, the entropy model reproduces the velocity field in the central part of the riverbed well. Larger discrepancies are instead observed in the lateral part of the cross-section, with the elliptic spanwise distribution (ESD) that performs slightly better than the parabolic (PSD), particularly in the right side. Figure 10 shows the cross-sectional distribution of the surface velocity and the velocity distribution along three verticals. In terms of cross-sectional average velocity and flow discharge, both the PSD and ESD produce error that are lower than 10 % (Table 4), larger than those obtained using the river-wide surface velocity as input for the entropy model.

A last point worth discussing regards the unusual cross-sectional distribution of flow velocity in Sect. 4 (Fig. 9a). The reason that the 3D-CFD model locates the maximum velocity on the left of the thalweg is the alternate vortex shedding occurring downstream of the bridge piers, which propagates beyond the last considered cross-section. This is evident in the map of instantaneous surface velocity of Fig. 11. This particular occurrence poses interesting questions on the application of the entropy model to estimate the flow discharge downstream of in-stream structures. First, the spanwise location of the maximum surface velocity is subject to a periodical shift, which prevents its correct detection by means of a fixed sensor with a small-size field of view, like the one mounted on the Adunata bridge. Secondly, marked time-varying flow fields, which occasionally (or periodically) deviate from nearly uniform flow conditions, can hardly be captured by any preset velocity distribution. To alleviate the problem, the periodic signal of surface velocity can be filtered, which is equivalent to looking at time-averaged modeled flow fields; this requires knowing the frequency of vortex shedding.

The results shown in this section confirm the general accuracy of the entropy model in predicting the cross-sectional velocity distributions. As expected, when using a single value of velocity in place of the river-wide distribution of surface velocity, the accuracy of the method slightly decreases. Provided that using a single velocity is beyond the scope of the method when the spanwise velocity distribution is markedly irregular, the entropy approach can still be forced with a single surface velocity and produce accurate results, when there is no evidence of strong disturbances of the flow. Indeed, such an approach cannot capture marked unevenness in the flow field, as shown in the case of the lateral low-velocity regions at cross-section 1 for the 2012 event (Fig. 7) and in the time-varying flow field of cross-section 4 for the 2022 event (Fig. 9).

The present study investigated the ability of the entropy-based method to estimate the cross-sectional distribution of velocity, as well as the associated river discharge, for different flow conditions in a representative case study. As sensors for continuous monitoring of water level and surface velocity are often mounted on bridges, we analyzed a stretch of the Paglia River where a multi-arch bridge with thick piers, hosting a level gauge and a radar sensor, strongly affects the flow field. A 3D-CFD model was set up to obtain reliable, physics-based velocity distributions at relevant cross-sections, both upstream and downstream of the bridge. The entropy model was then applied to reproduce this set of velocity distributions, using the bathymetric data and the CFD-computed surface velocity as input data.

As a first point, the study highlighted the potential of using accurate, physics-based 3D-CFD models to deepen the knowledge of rivers and, specifically, of theoretical methods for discharge estimation. Indeed, 3D-CFD models provide pictures of complex flow fields that are more complete than, e.g., ADCP measures, in terms of spatial and temporal distribution and, above all, valid for high-flow regimes, which typically prevent any direct measurement of the flow field beneath the free surface. This entails unexplored chances of outlining best practices in the use of simplified methods for continuous discharge monitoring and, as a consequence, to improve their accuracy.

According to the present analysis, the entropy model revealed remarkable skills in also reproducing disturbed and uneven flow fields when the river-wide distribution of the surface velocity is used as input data. This occurred also just downstream of the bridge, where the pier-induced wakes made the velocity distribution multimodal and extremely irregular, with error on discharge estimates lower than 8 %. The availability of innovative measuring techniques, able to collect river-wide surface velocity data at a relatively low cost, adds value to the present findings.

On the other side, the accuracy of the entropy model is reduced when only the maximum surface velocity is used as input data, so that the spanwise velocity distribution has to be assumed on a theoretical basis (e.g., parabolic or elliptical). While such a method is absolutely discouraged in the case of disturbed flow fields (e.g., downstream of in-stream structures), it still provides accurate estimates when the velocity field is sufficiently smooth.

As a final recommendation, measuring instruments and sensors for surface velocity become more effective when placed upstream of in-stream structures, i.e., where the flow field is only marginally affected by the structure and both the water surface elevation and the velocity distribution are far more regular.

A main limitation of the present methodological approach is that it relies in the assumption of a fixed bed in both the CFD analysis and the application of the entropic model. In natural rivers, bed scouring during severe flood events and the ensuing formation of local deposits, especially close to in-stream structures such as bridges, can alter the bathymetry and, in turn, the velocity distribution and the discharge estimates. In the case of a movable bed and in the absence of protection measures (e.g., riprap or bed sills), the uncertainty associated with the local bed mobility has to be evaluated with due care. Future research on more complex scenarios that still need a comprehensive assessment, and which could largely benefit from physics-based numerical modeling, will include the case of mobile beds and the analysis of stage-dependent variations of cross-sectional velocity distribution, particularly in the case of compound cross-sections that are typical of lowland natural rivers.

Data are available on request from the authors.

The supplement related to this article is available online at:

Conceptualization: FB, TL, SB, TM, DPV. Formal analysis: FB and TL. Funding acquisition: TM. Investigation: FB and TL. Methodology: FB, TL, SB, TM, DPV. Project administration: SB, TM, DPV. Software: FB, TL, TM, DPV. Supervision: SB, TM, DPV. Visualization: FB, TL, DPV. Writing (original draft preparation): FB. Writing (review and editing): TL, SB, TM, DPV.

The contact author has declared that none of the authors has any competing interests.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this paper. While Copernicus Publications makes every effort to include appropriate place names, the final responsibility lies with the authors.

The authors acknowledge the assistance of Luigi di Micco, Shiva Rezazadeh, and Marco Dionigi.

This study was supported by the Italian National Research Program PRIN 2017 (project no. 2017SEB7Z8), “IntEractions between hydrodyNamics and bioTic communities in fluvial Ecosystems: advancement in the knowledge and undeRstanding of PRocesses and ecosystem sustainability by the development of novel technologieS with fIeld monitoriNg and laboratory testing (ENTERPRISING)”. Tommaso Lazzarin is sponsored by a scholarship provided by the CARIPARO Foundation.

This paper was edited by Alberto Guadagnini and reviewed by Gustavo Marini and two anonymous referees.