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National Science Foundation (USA) 2007

Community responses to river drying in an arid-land ecosystem : a field and experimental study

River Drying Arid-Land

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Titre : Community responses to river drying in an arid-land ecosystem : a field and experimental study

Organismes NSF : Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)

Durée : August 15, 2007 - July 31, 2011

Description
Rivers that flow through arid lands provide a limiting resource for human population and economic growth while simultaneously supporting a diverse community of plants and animals. Consequently, these rivers are often targets of intensive restoration activities based, perhaps erroneously, on concepts developed for mesic (wetter) rivers. Arid-land systems differ from mesic counterparts in that they experience enormous variability in flows that range from high floods to being nearly dry. Low flows and river intermittency are common occurrences, and drying events may be important for enhancing species diversity by allowing coexistence of organisms that specialize on high- and low-flow conditions, respectively. However, actual effects of seasonal variability in discharge, especially low flows, on aquatic communities remain largely unknown.
To address this gap in knowledge, a field and experimental study will be conducted on the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Changes biomass and nutrient composition of the algae, invertebrates, and fishes that make up the river ?s food web will be tracked. Macronutrients, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, will be used as tracers to understand the dynamics of community changes associated with flow variability and drying in natural river environments. Finally, an experimental study will manipulate key variables that appear to strongly affect species abundance and diversity in drying river environments. The outcomes of this study will aid development of scientifically defensible restoration policies and establishment of minimum flows in arid-land rivers. Development of such policies is of paramount economic importance to arid and semi-arid regions worldwide.

Partenaires : Thomas Turner turnert unm.edu (Principal Investigator)

Financement : $373,414.00

Présentation (National Science Foundation)

Page publiée le 2 juillet 2017, mise à jour le 4 novembre 2017