, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 1-30

First online:

Variation in Streamwater Chemistry Throughout the Hubbard Brook Valley

  • Gene E. LikensAffiliated withInstitute of Ecosystem Studies Email author 
  • , Donald C. BusoAffiliated withInstitute of Ecosystem Studies

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Streamwater chemistry was measured at 100-m intervals in all streams of the Hubbard Brook Valley, NH during ‘spring’ (May–July) and during ‘fall’ (October–December) 2001. Overall, streamwater chemistry was very similar during these two periods, but fall median concentrations were consistently higher than spring values, except for ANC, pH, NO3 and PO4 3−, which had lower values in fall. Median concentrations for NH4 + were approximately the same in spring and fall. Stream chemistry varied throughout the Hubbard Brook Valley by elevation, channel length, drainage area and type of drainage, but most of the variability in stream chemistry was subtle and relatively small. Overall, there were relatively large (two- to 10-fold) changes in chemistry with longitudinal distance of wetted channel, elevation and/or size of drainage area in some streams and for some elements (e.g., H+, Aln+, DOC), but other chemical concentrations changed relatively little (e.g., Cl, dissolved Si). The main Hubbard Brook, a fifth-order stream at the mouth of the Valley, was remarkably constant in chemistry throughout its length, except where human disturbance near the mouth changed the chemistry. Differences in vegetation, geologic substrates and wetland areas were related to changes in pattern of streamwater chemistry throughout the Valley.


Acid anions Base cations Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study pH Spatial and temporal pattern Stream order