Ecosystem metabolism across agricultural, forested and urban land-uses


Stream and river metabolism – the production of oxygen and carbon dioxide by the entirety of stream or river organisms – is an important functional metric of these ecosystems, which can facilitate the understanding of the dynamics of energy and organic matter pathways. Therefore, it can be a good indicator of the ecological status of flowing waters in the ever-changing environment created by humans.

conceptual drawing synthesis group 'metabolism'


We investigate, what stream and river metabolism can tell us about human impacts for one year of data and from 10-12 sites, covering small streams to larger rivers in Central Europe and the North-Eastern US. We chose these areas as they have available data that provide similar climate and vegetation conditions and accordingly,  can be compared to assess the robustness of our findings.

Research questions / hypotheses

We identified two major knowledge gaps we want to address with our analysis:

1. How do environmental conditions affect the metabolism across stream and river sizes?

2. Most metabolism measurements are conducted during summer base flow - are human impacts on the metabolism similar for other seasons?