The hydroecology of groundwater-fed streams in a glacierised catchment

Crossman, Jill Helen (2010). The hydroecology of groundwater-fed streams in a glacierised catchment. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Groundwater flow typically provides stable stream habitat within glacierised floodplains. However, spatio-temporal differences within and between groundwater flow pathways can create marked variability in the physicochemical characteristics of groundwater-fed streams. Research conducted on a floodplain terrace of the Toklat River, Denali National Park, Alaska, predominantly from May to September 2008, determined the influence of groundwater flow dynamics upon benthic and hyporheic macroinvertebrate assemblages. During periods of resource depletion benthic macroinvertebrate abundance was dependent upon contributions from specific flow pathways (DFSdeep), which supplied fine particulate organic matter. Dynamics of groundwater flow pathways influenced macroinvertebrates throughout the summer, however, with higher diversity observed in perennial streams which received groundwater flow from DFSdeep. Ephemeral flow pathways of glacial seepage supported lower diversity. Within the hyporheic zone, environmental stability of surface waters was influential, as this reflected the sub-surface residence time of percolating waters; nested routes of flow within each flow pathway, of varying length or permeability, created differences in the environmental stability of each stream. Macroinvertebrate diversity in the hyporheic zone was higher at sites of lower surface environmental stability, suggesting possible migration into the hyporheic zone. Digital remote sensing used to estimate the spatial extent of groundwater upwellings within two national parks in Alaska indicated that these groundwater-fed habitats are widespread.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography


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