• Fluvial ecology;
  • Groundwater fluxes;
  • Degradation aggradation;
  • Benthic and hyporheic communities


On the basis of data collected from several previous studies on the Miribel Canal, a by-passed section of the Upper Rhône river near Lyon (France), an ecological methodology, based on geomorphology and dealing with both benthic and hyporheic layers of the river bed, has been set up and tested at the scale of the whole reach. The methodology allowed the description, by single spatial survey of, a “functional profile” of the canal incorporating both hydrological and faunistic fluxes. The ecological importance of riffles is emphasized and the results indicate that, even in this kind of disturbed channel, geomorphological processes (degradation/aggradation…) act as ecological constraints, especially in the hyporheic layers where they determine community structure by influencing groundwater circulation. The methodology proved to be a good tool over different scales for ecological studies of fluvial systems.