River network saturation concept: factors influencing the balance of biogeochemical supply and demand of river networks

W. M. Wollheim, S. Bernal, D. A. Burns, J. A. Czuba, Charles T Driscoll, A. T. Hansen, R. T. Hensley, J. D. Hosen, S. Inamdar, S. S. Kaushal, L. E. Koenig, Y. H. Lu, A. Marzadri, P. A. Raymond, D. Scott, R. J. Stewart, P. G. Vidon, E. Wohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

River networks modify material transfer from land to ocean. Understanding the factors regulating this function for different gaseous, dissolved, and particulate constituents is critical to quantify the local and global effects of climate and land use change. We propose the River Network Saturation (RNS) concept as a generalization of how river network regulation of material fluxes declines with increasing flows due to imbalances between supply and demand at network scales. River networks have a tendency to become saturated (supply ≫ demand) under higher flow conditions because supplies increase faster than sink processes. However, the flow thresholds under which saturation occurs depends on a variety of factors, including the inherent process rate for a given constituent and the abundance of lentic waters such as lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and fluvial wetlands within the river network. As supply increases, saturation at network scales is initially limited by previously unmet demand in downstream aquatic ecosystems. The RNS concept describes a general tendency of river network function that can be used to compare the fate of different constituents among river networks. New approaches using nested in situ high-frequency sensors and spatially extensive synoptic techniques offer the potential to test the RNS concept in different settings. Better understanding of when and where river networks saturate for different constituents will allow for the extrapolation of aquatic function to broader spatial scales and therefore provide information on the influence of river function on continental element cycles and help identify policy priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiogeochemistry
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Rivers
saturation
river
supply and demand
Aquatic ecosystems
Ponds
Wetlands
Extrapolation
Land use
aquatic ecosystem
land use change
Lakes
pond
wetland
Fluxes
sensor
Water
Sensors
lake
climate

Keywords

  • Demand
  • Dissolved
  • Flow regime
  • Fluxes
  • Gases
  • Macrosystems
  • Modeling
  • Removal
  • Retention
  • River network
  • Saturation
  • Sediment
  • Sensors
  • Supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

River network saturation concept : factors influencing the balance of biogeochemical supply and demand of river networks. / Wollheim, W. M.; Bernal, S.; Burns, D. A.; Czuba, J. A.; Driscoll, Charles T; Hansen, A. T.; Hensley, R. T.; Hosen, J. D.; Inamdar, S.; Kaushal, S. S.; Koenig, L. E.; Lu, Y. H.; Marzadri, A.; Raymond, P. A.; Scott, D.; Stewart, R. J.; Vidon, P. G.; Wohl, E.

In: Biogeochemistry, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wollheim, WM, Bernal, S, Burns, DA, Czuba, JA, Driscoll, CT, Hansen, AT, Hensley, RT, Hosen, JD, Inamdar, S, Kaushal, SS, Koenig, LE, Lu, YH, Marzadri, A, Raymond, PA, Scott, D, Stewart, RJ, Vidon, PG & Wohl, E 2018, 'River network saturation concept: factors influencing the balance of biogeochemical supply and demand of river networks', Biogeochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-018-0488-0
Wollheim, W. M. ; Bernal, S. ; Burns, D. A. ; Czuba, J. A. ; Driscoll, Charles T ; Hansen, A. T. ; Hensley, R. T. ; Hosen, J. D. ; Inamdar, S. ; Kaushal, S. S. ; Koenig, L. E. ; Lu, Y. H. ; Marzadri, A. ; Raymond, P. A. ; Scott, D. ; Stewart, R. J. ; Vidon, P. G. ; Wohl, E. / River network saturation concept : factors influencing the balance of biogeochemical supply and demand of river networks. In: Biogeochemistry. 2018.
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AU - Wollheim, W. M.

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AU - Burns, D. A.

AU - Czuba, J. A.

AU - Driscoll, Charles T

AU - Hansen, A. T.

AU - Hensley, R. T.

AU - Hosen, J. D.

AU - Inamdar, S.

AU - Kaushal, S. S.

AU - Koenig, L. E.

AU - Lu, Y. H.

AU - Marzadri, A.

AU - Raymond, P. A.

AU - Scott, D.

AU - Stewart, R. J.

AU - Vidon, P. G.

AU - Wohl, E.

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N2 - River networks modify material transfer from land to ocean. Understanding the factors regulating this function for different gaseous, dissolved, and particulate constituents is critical to quantify the local and global effects of climate and land use change. We propose the River Network Saturation (RNS) concept as a generalization of how river network regulation of material fluxes declines with increasing flows due to imbalances between supply and demand at network scales. River networks have a tendency to become saturated (supply ≫ demand) under higher flow conditions because supplies increase faster than sink processes. However, the flow thresholds under which saturation occurs depends on a variety of factors, including the inherent process rate for a given constituent and the abundance of lentic waters such as lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and fluvial wetlands within the river network. As supply increases, saturation at network scales is initially limited by previously unmet demand in downstream aquatic ecosystems. The RNS concept describes a general tendency of river network function that can be used to compare the fate of different constituents among river networks. New approaches using nested in situ high-frequency sensors and spatially extensive synoptic techniques offer the potential to test the RNS concept in different settings. Better understanding of when and where river networks saturate for different constituents will allow for the extrapolation of aquatic function to broader spatial scales and therefore provide information on the influence of river function on continental element cycles and help identify policy priorities.

AB - River networks modify material transfer from land to ocean. Understanding the factors regulating this function for different gaseous, dissolved, and particulate constituents is critical to quantify the local and global effects of climate and land use change. We propose the River Network Saturation (RNS) concept as a generalization of how river network regulation of material fluxes declines with increasing flows due to imbalances between supply and demand at network scales. River networks have a tendency to become saturated (supply ≫ demand) under higher flow conditions because supplies increase faster than sink processes. However, the flow thresholds under which saturation occurs depends on a variety of factors, including the inherent process rate for a given constituent and the abundance of lentic waters such as lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and fluvial wetlands within the river network. As supply increases, saturation at network scales is initially limited by previously unmet demand in downstream aquatic ecosystems. The RNS concept describes a general tendency of river network function that can be used to compare the fate of different constituents among river networks. New approaches using nested in situ high-frequency sensors and spatially extensive synoptic techniques offer the potential to test the RNS concept in different settings. Better understanding of when and where river networks saturate for different constituents will allow for the extrapolation of aquatic function to broader spatial scales and therefore provide information on the influence of river function on continental element cycles and help identify policy priorities.

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KW - Macrosystems

KW - Modeling

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KW - Retention

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KW - Saturation

KW - Sediment

KW - Sensors

KW - Supply

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