Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2008 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

The Influence of Stream Restoration on Biogeochemical Hotspots, Aquatic Biofilms, and a Stream’s Resistance or Resilience to Disturbance
Pennino, Michael
Co-Authors: Michael J. Pennino
Abstract: Streams carry out important ecosystem and societal services, particularly through the cycling of carbon and nutrients. Previous research in the literature has shown that the effects of urbanization can impair a stream’s ability to carry out these important ecosystem services. With concerns over excess nutrient loading into streams, there have been increasing efforts to restore streams to more natural, pre-development conditions. Despite recent interest in stream restoration projects, there have been few studies documenting how well a restored stream caries out its intended ecosystem services compared to unrestored streams. I propose to answer 4 broad questions which seek to determine how restored and unrestored or urbanized streams differ in 1) their ability to transform and retain nutrients, 2) the location and abundance of biogeochemical “hotspots,” 3) the relative role of different biotic assemblages that carry out nutrient transformations, and 4) the ability of the stream to recover its biogeochemical hotspots after a disturbance. I propose to (1) carry out reach scale measurements of stream nutrient uptake rates / transformations and stream metabolism, (2) create a dynamic habitat map of the location of biogeochemical hotspots, (3) use molecular techniques to identify types and abundance of organisms within the stream, and (4) monitor the accumulation of organic carbon and chlorophyll a in the stream and within hotspots following a hydrologic disturbance. Results from this study will help elucidate the role of stream restoration on ecosystem functions and will help inform managers and engineers in designing more efficient and effect stream restorations.