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Sediment Respiration Pulses in Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams


Abstract

Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) may represent over half the global stream network, but their contribution to respiration and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is largely undetermined. In particular, little is known about the variability and drivers of respiration in IRES sediments upon rewetting, which could result in large pulses of CO2. We present a global study examining sediments from 200 dry IRES reaches spanning multiple biomes. Results from standardized assays show that mean respiration increased 32‐fold to 66‐fold upon sediment rewetting. Structural equation modeling indicates that this response was driven by sediment texture and organic matter quantity and quality, which, in turn, were influenced by climate, land use, and riparian plant cover. Our estimates suggest that respiration pulses resulting from rewetting of IRES sediments could contribute significantly to annual CO2 emissions from the global stream network, with a single respiration pulse potentially increasing emission by 0.2–0.7%. As the spatial and temporal extent of IRES increases globally, our results highlight the importance of recognizing the influence of wetting‐drying cycles on respiration and CO2 emissions in stream networks.

Abstract

Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) may represent over half the global stream network, but their contribution to respiration and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is largely undetermined. In particular, little is known about the variability and drivers of respiration in IRES sediments upon rewetting, which could result in large pulses of CO2. We present a global study examining sediments from 200 dry IRES reaches spanning multiple biomes. Results from standardized assays show that mean respiration increased 32‐fold to 66‐fold upon sediment rewetting. Structural equation modeling indicates that this response was driven by sediment texture and organic matter quantity and quality, which, in turn, were influenced by climate, land use, and riparian plant cover. Our estimates suggest that respiration pulses resulting from rewetting of IRES sediments could contribute significantly to annual CO2 emissions from the global stream network, with a single respiration pulse potentially increasing emission by 0.2–0.7%. As the spatial and temporal extent of IRES increases globally, our results highlight the importance of recognizing the influence of wetting‐drying cycles on respiration and CO2 emissions in stream networks.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Atmospheric Science, Global and Planetary Change, General Environmental Science, Environmental Chemistry river, stream, intermittent, temporary, respiration
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:29 Jan 2020 15:35
Last Modified:29 Jan 2020 15:35
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0886-6236
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1029/2019gb006276
Official URL:https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019GB006276
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID748625
  • : Project TitleSABER CULTURAL - SAfeguarding Biodiversity and Ecosystem seRvices by integrating CULTURAL values in freshwater management: learning from MÄ�ori
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID603629
  • : Project TitleGLOBAQUA - MANAGING THE EFFECTS OF MULTIPLE STRESSORS ON AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS UNDER WATER SCARCITY
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_179089
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: a meta-ecosystem perspective
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_150698
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in dendritic networks: a meta-ecosystem perspective

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