Rivers and streams: Physical setting and adapted biota

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Streams and rivers are enormously important, with their ecological, and economic value, greatly outweighing their significance on the landscape. Lotic ecology began in Europe with a focus on the distribution, abundance, and taxonomic composition of aquatic organisms and in North American with a focus on fishery biology. Since 1980, stream/river research has been highly interdisciplinary, involving fishery biologists, aquatic entomologists, algologists, hydrologists, geomorphologists, microbiologists, and terrestrial plant ecologists. Stream and river biota evolved in response to, and in concert with, the physical and chemical setting. Streams/rivers transport water and move sediments to the sea as part of the hydrologic cycle that involves evaporation, plant evapotranspiration, and precipitation. Ephemeral streams flow only in the wettest year, intermittent streams flow predictably every year during capture of surface runoff, and perennial streams flow continuously during wet and dry periods, receiving both stormflow and groundwater baseflow. The lotic biota, for example, algae, macrophytes, benthic invertebrates, and fishes, have evolved adaptations to their running-water setting. Dominant physical features of this setting are current, substrate, and temperature. Key chemical constituents are dissolved gases, dissolved inorganic ions and compounds, particulate inorganic material, particulate organic material, and dissolved organic ions (nitrogen and phosphorus) and compounds.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Rivers and streams: Physical setting and adapted biota
DOI 10.1016/B978-008045405-4.00353-0
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Oxford
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Encyclopedia of Ecology
First page 3095
Last page 3106
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