Streambed migration frequency drives ecology and biogeochemistry across spatial scales

Ute Risse Buhl, Shai Arnon, Edo Bar Zeev, Anna Oprei, Aaron Packman, Ignacio Peralta Maraver, Yoni Teitelbaum, Michael Mutz, Anne Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bed of fluvial ecosystems plays a major role in global biogeochemical cycles. Although all fluvial sediments migrate and although responses of reports on aquatic organisms to such movements have been recorded were published, there is no theoretical framework on how the frequency of sediment movement affects streambed ecology and biogeochemistry. We here developed a theoretical framework describing how the moving-resting frequencies of fine-grained sediments constrain streambed communities across spatial scales. Specifically, we suggest that the most drastic impact on benthic and hyporheic communities will exist when ecological and biogeochemical processes are at the same temporal scale as the sediment moving-resting frequency. Moreover, we propose that the simultaneous occurrence of streambed patches differing in morphodynamics should be considered as an important driver of metacommunity dynamics. We surmise that the frequency of patch transition will add new dimensions to the understanding of biogeochemical cycling and metacommunities from micro-habitat to segment scales. This theoretical framework is important for fluvial ecosystems with frequent sediment movement, yet it could be applied to any other dynamic habitat.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2023

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