Journal article

High rates of organic carbon processing in the hyporheic zone of intermittent streams

Ryan M Burrows, Helen Rutlidge, Nick R Bond, Stefan M Eberhard, Alexandra Auhl, Martin S Andersen, Dominic G Valdez, Mark J Kennard

Scientific Reports | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2017


Organic carbon cycling is a fundamental process that underpins energy transfer through the biosphere. However, little is known about the rates of particulate organic carbon processing in the hyporheic zone of intermittent streams, which is often the only wetted environment remaining when surface flows cease. We used leaf litter and cotton decomposition assays, as well as rates of microbial respiration, to quantify rates of organic carbon processing in surface and hyporheic environments of intermittent and perennial streams under a range of substrate saturation conditions. Leaf litter processing was 48% greater, and cotton processing 124% greater, in the hyporheic zone compared to surface env..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

Thanks to Luke Carpenter-Bundhoo, Clement Nicoud, Helena Vogler, Songyan Yu, Junsong Chen, Yumi Hong, Cecil Moll, and Zhangyong Wang for your invaluable field and laboratory assistance. Thanks to Moya Tomlinson, Bruce Chessman, and Andrew Boulton for advice on the project design and an earlier version of the manuscript. Funding for this project came from the Office of Water Science within the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy. We would like to thank A/Prof Bryce Kelly at UNSW for lending us the Digital Force Gauges tensiometer and providing us with the cotton canvas for the cotton tensile strength experiments.