Hyporheic Exchange And Nutrient Uptake In A Forested And Urban Stream In The Southern Appalachians

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Chuanhui Gu Ph.D., Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: The hyporheic exchange (HE) is defined as the interaction between stream water and groundwater, where the stream water passes back and forth between the active channel and subsurface flow paths (Runkel, 1998). The zone of this exchange is characterized by saturated pore spaces, under sand or gravel stream beds (Hancock, 2002) and near the adjacent banks of the stream (Ryan, 2010), that contain some amount of water from the main stream channel (Boulton, Welty, & Larson, 2010). An indication of channel complexity within streams (Grimm, 2005), this transitional zone exposes surface water solutes to alternating oxic and anoxic conditions as they are mixed within the groundwater flow system (Lautz & Siegel, 2007). This plays a crucial role in stream ecosystem functioning with regard to physical characteristics (e.g. stream temperature), biogeochemical processes, (Ryan, 2010), and nutrient cyclings, which ultimately control the water quality of the stream (Lautz & Siegel, 2007). HE is driven by many physical attributes. Parent lithology of watersheds affects HE by controlling sediment porosity and hydraulic conductivity (Morrice, Valett, Dahm, & Campana, 1997). In addition, bed topography (i.e.dunes and ripples in sediments) drives HE through changes in local hydraulics (Harvey & Bencala 1993). Stream slope, morphology, and bed form (e.g. pool-step sequence, channel sinuosity, etc) also influence HE (Wondzell, 2005). As a result, extent of HE depends on a wide variety of factors including, but not limited to, sedimentporosity and hydraulic conductivity, channel morphology, as well as strength of groundwater upwelling, discharge, and size of the channel (Hancock, 2002). Size of HE in the vertical and lateral directions can range anywhere from a few centimeters to tens of meters depending on all of the above stated factors (Kasahara & Hill,2000). From a hydrological perspective, the hyporheic zone also has the potential to reduce peak discharge during storm events (Kasahara & Hill, 2002), a quality of particular importance in urban areas with extensive impervioussurfaces prone to storm runoff. The ecological significance of HE is even greater than just hydrologic flux. HE brings oxygen and other substrates in and flushes wastes out (Hancock, 2002). This process lends itself to a buffer having the potential to impede pollutant transport within both surface water flow paths as well as groundwater (Hester & Gooseff, 2010). HE increases the contact time of stream water with chemically reactive sediments and microbial communities, which creates hot spots for biogeochemical processes (Findlay, 1995).Given the permeable nature of hyporheic sediments, as nutrients flow through the hyporheic zone, it is reactively filtered (Trimmer et al., 2012). Hyporheic zones also provide a means for nitrogen (N) and other nutrients to be temporarily stored before they are lost downstream (Reidy & Clinton, 2004). This longer residence time for materials and reactive filtration allows for nutrient processing and plays a crucial role in regulating theconcentrations and forms of N exported downstream (Ensign & Doyle, 2006).

Additional Information

Batchelor, C. and Gu, C. (2014). "Hyporheic Exchange And Nutrient Uptake In A Forested And Urban Stream In The Southern Appalachians," Environment and Natural Resources Research, 4(3). Version of record available from Canadian Center of Science and Education [DOI:10.5539/enrr.v4n3p56], [ISSN: 1927-0488]
Language: English
Date: 2014
hyporheic exchange, groundwater, biogeochemical processes, hydrologic flux

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