Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Book chapters
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-819166-8.00117-1
Title (Primary) Importance of the micro-scale for the macro-scale — What can we learn from groundwater ecosystems?
Title (Secondary) Encyclopedia of inland waters (Second edition). Volume 3
Author Schmidt, S.I. ORCID logo ; Cuthbert, M.O.; Schwientek, M.
Publisher Mehner, T.; Tockner, K.
Year 2022
Department SEEFO
Page From 523
Page To 536
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Computational model; Conceptual model; Fauna; Groundwater ecology; Micro-scale environment heterogeneity; Metazoa; Microorganisms; Spatial scale; Temporal scale; Unconsolidated sediment

Aim: Micro-scale processes play a fundamental role in shaping groundwater ecosystems and yet they remain poorly understood and under-explained. Here, we aim to provide an overview of existing concepts, methods, and knowledge. We outline how increased understanding of micro-scale processes may lead to an improved appreciation of the range of ecosystems functions taking place at different scales.

Main concepts covered: A reason why the groundwater ecosystems studies on the micro-scale are scarce lies in the fact that sampling is rarely carried out at the scale at which microorganisms and their grazers and predators, act. Within a larger scale framework in terms of geochemical features, supply with energy and nutrients, and exchange intensity and dynamics, the micro-scale adds heterogeneity which enables a wider range of redox reactions. Such processes are relied upon in bioremediation and we demonstrate that ecosystem modeling must consider the micro-scale.

Main methods covered: We describe the scales at which field sampling and laboratory investigations usually occur, and explain how such results should be interpreted. An appropriate tool for deriving knowledge on the micro-scale will be models which have to be carefully validated wherever possible. Examples of micro-scale models are provided, both experimental and computational, that so far only cover prokaryotes but can be developed further to incorporate more elements of the food web.

Conclusion/outlook: Models encompassing the micro-scale and whole food web processes, parameterized by experiments and investigations on the appropriate scale, may provide tools for testing concepts and improving our understanding of the subsurface ecosystems functioning.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Schmidt, S.I., Cuthbert, M.O., Schwientek, M. (2022):
Importance of the micro-scale for the macro-scale — What can we learn from groundwater ecosystems?
In: Mehner, T., Tockner, K. (eds.)
Encyclopedia of inland waters (Second edition). Volume 3
p. 523 - 536 10.1016/B978-0-12-819166-8.00117-1