Intermittent streams are characterized by significant periods of low to no flow, yet are also frequently subjected to flashy, high floods. Floods alter ecosystem function and result in variable successional patterns across the stream network. Yet, the timing of restored function after floods in intermittent stream networks is relatively unexplored. We measured recovery of stream ecosystem function using rates of gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), net ecosystem production (NEP), and the primary production to respiration ratio (P/R) across eight locations in the Kings Creek drainage basin with differing preflood conditions (previously dry [intermittent] or flowing [perennial]) over a 30‐d period following a 2‐yr return interval flood. We found that all metabolic rates (GPP, ER, NEP, P/R) varied primarily by time (days since flood) and antecedent flow, but not spatial network position (i.e., drainage area). Intermittent sites exhibited high rates of ER (0.17–3.33 g dissolved oxygen [DO] m−2d−1) following rewetting compared to perennial sites (0.03–1.17 g DO m−2d−1), while GPP, NEP, and P/R were slower to recover and varied less between sites of differing preflood conditions. Metabolic rates were not strongly influenced by other environmental conditions. A large proportion of variation was explained by the random effect of location. Our results suggest that metabolism is temporally asynchronous and highly heterogenous across intermittent watersheds and that antecedent hydrology (drying prior to rewetting) stimulates heterotrophic activity, likely dependent on terrestrially derived organic matter and nutrient subsidies.
Ecosystem metabolism of freshwater ecosystems has been studied for several decades, with theory and synthesis largely derived from temperate streams and rivers in North America and Europe. Advances in sensor technology and modeling have opened a wider range of streams to be included to test theories beyond temperate streams. In this paper, we review and synthesize ecosystem metabolism data from tropical streams and rivers to determine to what extent the constraints of metabolism measured in temperate streams are similar in tropical streams. We compiled 202 measurements of gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) from 83 tropical streams spanning 22.2°S to 18.4°N. Overall, tropical streams were heterotrophic (ER > GPP), with GPP ranging from 0.01 to 11.7 g O2m−2d−1and ER ranging from −0.2 to −42.1 g O2m−2d−1, similar on average to rates reviewed from temperate streams, but with higher maximum ER in tropical streams. Gross primary productivity increased with watershed area; a result also observed in temperate streams. ER decreased with elevated phosphorus and higher annual rainfall. We constructed a structural equation model that explained greater variation of ER (74%) than GPP (26%), and reflects similar drivers, such as land‐use and watershed area, as in temperate streams. We conclude that tropical stream ecosystem metabolism has similar drivers as temperate streams, and a warmer and wetter climate and human use of tropical lands will influence metabolic rates in streams.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Limnology and Oceanography
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- p. 1627-1638
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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