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Keywords:

  • exchange modelling;
  • upwelling;
  • hyporheic exchange;
  • large scale;
  • small scale;
  • ground water discharge

Abstract

The exchange of oxygen and nutrients between the well-aerated stream water and the subsurface water is crucial for the biochemical conditions of the hyporheic zone. The metabolic activity of the hyporheic microorganisms controls the fate of nitrogen and phosphorus in the pore water, and influences the fate of these nutrients at the catchment scale. Unfortunately, the incomplete knowledge of the complex hydrodynamics of the coupled surface-subsurface flow field often hinders the understanding of the ecological relevance of the hyporheic processes. Here, we analyse the influence of groundwater discharge through the streambed on bedform-induced hyporheic exchange. A simple mathematical model of a coupled stream-aquifer system is developed in order to describe the essential feature of the surface-subsurface exchange. The most representative characteristics of the hyporheic exchange, e.g. the depth of the hyporheic zone - are parametrized in terms of a small number of easily measurable quantities. This information on the hyporheic flow field provides the fundamental basis for the study of the ecological function of the hyporheic zone. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.