Stream metabolism increases with drainage area and peaks asynchronously across a stream network

Aquatic Sciences
By: , and 

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Abstract

Quantifying the spatial and temporal dynamics of stream metabolism across stream networks is key to understanding carbon cycling and stream food web ecology. To better understand intra-annual temporal patterns of gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) and their variability across space, we continuously measured dissolved oxygen and modeled stream metabolism for an entire year at ten sites across a temperate river network in Washington State, USA. We expected GPP and ER to increase with stream size and peak during summer and autumn months due to warmer temperatures and higher light availability. We found that GPP and ER increased with drainage area and that only four sites adhered to our expectations of summer peaks in GPP and autumn peaks in ER while the rest either peaked in winter, spring or remained relatively constant. Our results suggest the spatial arrangement and temporal patterns of discharge, temperature, light and nutrients within watersheds may result in asynchronies in GPP and ER, despite similar regional climatic conditions. These findings shed light on how temporal dynamics of stream metabolism can shift across a river network, which likely influence the dynamics of carbon cycling and stream food webs at larger scales.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Stream metabolism increases with drainage area and peaks asynchronously across a stream network
Series title Aquatic Sciences
DOI 10.1007/s00027-018-0606-z
Volume 81
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description Article 9, 17 p.
First page 1
Last page 17
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Methow River basin