Landscape Ecology

, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 679–695 | Cite as

Physico-chemical heterogeneity in a glacial riverscape

  • Florian Malard
  • Klement Tockner
  • J.V. Ward

Abstract

Spatio-temporal heterogeneity in physico-chemical conditions associated with the annual expansion/contraction cycle in a complex glacial flood plain of the Swiss Alps was investigated employing a landscape approach. The diverse and dynamic aquatic habitats of the flood plain were visualized as an aquatic mosaic or riverscape. Based on samples collected at ca. monthly intervals for 1.5 yr along 17 floodplain transects, the 3 components of riverscape heterogeneity, extent, composition, and configuration, were quantified using categorical maps and indices of landscape patterns for turbidity and specific conductance. Changes in the spatial heterogeneity of 13 other physico-chemical parameters were further analyzed by means of a within-dates principal component analysis. Riverscape heterogeneity (RH), quantified by applying several indices of landscape pattern to turbidity and specific conductance data, was minimum during groundwater-dominated base flow in winter. Despite an increase in surface connectivity in the channel network with rising discharge, RH rose in spring and summer as additional chemically-distinct water sources (i.e., snowmelt runoff and glacial ablation) contributed to surface flow within the flood plain. Most other physico-chemical variables measured during this study exhibited the same spatio-temporal heterogeneity as turbidity and specific conductance. Overall, the glacial flood plain shifted from a monotonous physico-chemical riverscape in winter to a complex mosaic in summer, this seasonal pattern being clearly driven by hydrological factors operating at the catchment scale rather than by autogenic processes within individual water bodies. Although RH exhibited a predictable annual pattern in response to the seasonal flow regime, we expect the channel network to undergo future modifications from stochastic factors associated with flood events and long-term changes reflecting movements of the glaciers.

flow path flood pulse glacial river hydrological connectivity riverscape heterogeneity water chemistry water source 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amoros, C. and Roux, A.L. 1988. Interaction between water bodies within the floodplains of large rivers: function and development of connectivity. In Connectivity in Landscape Ecology. pp. 125–130. Edited by K.L. Schreiber. Proc. 2nd Int. Seminar of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, Münstersche Geographische Arbeiten 29, Münster.Google Scholar
  2. A.P.H.A. (ed.). 1989. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 17th ed., American Public Health Association, Washington.Google Scholar
  3. Bayley, P.B. 1995. Understanding large river-floodplain ecosystems. BioScience 45: 153–158.Google Scholar
  4. Bencala, K.E. 1993. A perspective on stream-catchment connections. J N Am Benthol Soc 12: 44–47.Google Scholar
  5. Bonetto, C., de Cabo, L., Gabellone, N., Vinocur, A., Donadelli, J. and Unrein, F. 1994. Nutrient dynamics in the deltaic floodplain of the Lower Parana River. Arch Hydrobiol 131: 277–295.Google Scholar
  6. Bornette, G. and Amoros, C. 1991. Aquatic vegetation and hydrology of a braided river floodplain. J Veg Sci 2: 497–512.Google Scholar
  7. Burt, T.P. and Haycock, N.E. 1996. Linking hillslopes to floodplains. In Floodplain Processes. pp. 461–492. Edited by M.G. Anderson, E. Des Walling and P.D. Bates. John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Charles, D.F. (ed.). 1991. Acidic Deposition and Aquatic Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Chessel, D. and Dolédec, S. 1996. ADE software. Multivariate analyses and graphical display for environmental data. Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, Lyon.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, S.D., Barmuta, L., Sarnelle, O., Kratz, K. and Diehl, S. 1997. Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in streams. J N Am Benthol Soc 16: 174–188.Google Scholar
  11. de Vries, J.J. 1995. Seasonal expansion and contraction of stream networks in shallow groundwater systems. J Hydrol 170: 15–26.Google Scholar
  12. D.E.V. (ed.). 1985. Deutsche Einheitsverfahren zur Wasseruntersuchung. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim.Google Scholar
  13. Dole, M.-J. 1983. Le domaine aquatique souterrain de la plaine alluviale du Rhône à l'Est de Lyon. 1. Diversité hydrologique et biocénotique de trois stations représentatives de la dynamique fluviale. Vie Milieu 33: 219–229.Google Scholar
  14. Dolédec, S. and Chessel, D. 1987. Rythmes saisonniers et composantes stationnelles en milieu aquatique. I. Description d'un plan d'observations complet par projection de variables. Acta OEcol Gen 8: 403–426.Google Scholar
  15. Dolédec, S. and Chessel, D. 1991. Recent developments in linear ordination methods for environmental sciences. Adv Ecol 1: 133–155.Google Scholar
  16. Downes, M.T. 1978. An improved hydrazine reduction method for the automated determination of low nitrate levels in freshwater. Wat Res 12: 673–675.Google Scholar
  17. Forsberg, B.R., Devol, A.H., Richey, J.E., Martinelli, L.A. and dos Santos, H. 1988. Factors controlling nutrient concentrations in Amazon floodplain lakes. Limnol Oceanogr 33: 41–56.Google Scholar
  18. Furch, K. and Junk, W.J. 1993. Seasonal nutrient dynamics in an Amazonian floodplain lake. Arch Hydrobiol 128: 277–285.Google Scholar
  19. Gregory, K.J. 1987. The hydrogeomorphology of alpine proglacial areas. In Glacio-fluvial sediment transfer. pp. 87–107. Edited by A.M. Gurnell and M.J. Clark. Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  20. Gurnell, A.M. and Clark, M.J. (eds). 1987. Glacio-fluvial sediment transfer. Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  21. Gurnell, A.M., Edwards P.J., Petts, G.E. and Ward, J.V. 1999. A conceptual model for alpine proglacial river channel evolution under changing climatic conditions. Catena 38: 223–242.Google Scholar
  22. Gustafson, E.J. 1998. Quantifying landscape spatial pattern: what is the state of the art ? Ecosystems 1: 143–156.Google Scholar
  23. Hamilton, S.K. and Lewis, W.M. 1987. Causes of seasonality in the chemistry of a lake on the Orinoco River floodplain, Venezuela. Limnol Oceanogr 32: 1277–1290.Google Scholar
  24. Heiler, H., Hein, T., Schiemer, F. and Bornette, G. 1995. Hydrological connectivity and flood pulses as the central aspects for the integrity of a river-floodplain system. Regul Riv 11: 351–361.Google Scholar
  25. Hoover, S.R. and Parker, A.J. 1991. Spatial components of biotic diversity in landscapes of Georgia, USA. Landsc Ecol 5: 125–136.Google Scholar
  26. Juget, J., Amoros, C., Gamulin, D., Reygrobellet, J.-L., Richardot, M., Richoux, Ph. and Roux, C. 1976. Structure et fonctionnement des écosystèmes du Haut-Rhône Français. II. Etude hydrologique et écologique de quelques bras morts. Premiers résultats. Bull Ecol 7: 479–492.Google Scholar
  27. Junk, W.J. 1997. The Central Amazon Floodplain. Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Junk, W.J., Bayley, P.B. and Sparks, R.E. 1989. The flood pulse concept in river-floodplain systems. In Proc. Int. Large River Symp. pp. 110–127. Edited by D.P. Dodge. Can Spec Publ Fish Aquat Sci 106.Google Scholar
  29. Knowlton, M.F. and Jones, J.R. 1997. Trophic status of Missouri River floodplain lakes in relation to basin type and connectivity. Wetlands 17: 468–475.Google Scholar
  30. Maizels, J.K. 1983. Proglacial channel systems: change and thresholds for change over long, intermediate and short time-scales. Spec Publ Int Assoc Sedimentol 6: 251–266.Google Scholar
  31. Malard, F., Tockner, K. and Ward, J.V. 1999. Shifting dominance of subcatchment water sources and flow paths in a glacial flood plain (Val Roseg, Switzerland). Arct Antarct Alp Res 31: 135–150.Google Scholar
  32. Milner, A.M. and Petts, G.E. 1994. Glacial rivers: physical habitat and ecology. Freshw Biol 32: 295–307.Google Scholar
  33. O'Neill, R.V., Krummel, J.R., Gardner, R.H., Sugihara, G., Jackson, B., DeAngelis, D.L., Milne, B.T., Turner, M.G., Zygmunt, B., Christensen, S.W., Dale, V.H. and Graham, R.L. 1988. Indices of landscape pattern. Landsc Ecol 1: 153–162.Google Scholar
  34. Parch, K., Jenik, J. and Large, A.R.G. (eds). 1996. Floodplain Ecology and Management, the Luznice River in the Trebon Biosphere Reserve, Central Europe. SPB Academic Publishing, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  35. Pielou, E.C. 1975. Ecological Diversity. Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  36. Robinson, C.T., Gessner, M.O. and Ward, J.V. 1998. Leaf breakdown and associated macroinvertebrates in alpine glacial streams. Freshw Biol 40: 215–228.Google Scholar
  37. Romme, W.H. 1982. Fire and landscape diversity in subalpine forests of Yellowstone national park. Ecol Monogr 52: 199–221.Google Scholar
  38. Roux, A.L. 1982. Cartographie polythématique appliquée à la gestion écologique des eaux. Etude d'un hydrosystème fluvial: le Haut-Rhône français. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.Google Scholar
  39. Spreafico, M., Leibundgut, C. and Weingartner, R. 1992. Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland. Hydrological and Geological Swiss Survey, Bern.Google Scholar
  40. Stanley, E.H., Fisher, S.G. and Grimm, N.B. 1997. Ecosystem expansion and contraction in streams. BioScience 47: 427–435.Google Scholar
  41. Thioulouse, J. 1989. Statistical analysis and graphical display of multivariate data on the Macintosh. Comput Applic Biosc 5: 287–292.Google Scholar
  42. Tockner, K., Malard, F., Burgherr, P., Robinson, C.T., Uehlinger, U., Zah, R. and Ward, J.V. 1997. Physico-chemical characterization of channel types in a glacial floodplain ecosystem (Val Roseg, Switzerland). Arch Hydrobiol 140: 433–463.Google Scholar
  43. Tockner, K., Pennetzdorfer, D., Reiner, N., Schiemer, F. and Ward, J.V. 1999. Hydrological connectivity, and the exchange of organic matter and nutrients in a dynamic river-floodplain system (Danube, Austria). Freshw Biol 41: 521–535.Google Scholar
  44. Trémolières, M., Eglin, I., Roeck, U. and Carbiener, R. 1993. The exchange process between river and groundwater on the Central Alsace floodplain (Eastren France). Hydrobiologia 254: 133–148.Google Scholar
  45. Turner, M.G. and Gardner, R.H. 1991. Quantitative methods in landscape ecology: an introduction. In Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology. pp. 3–14. Edited by M.G. Turner and R.H. Gardner. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  46. Turner, J.V. and Macpherson, D.K. 1990. Mechanisms affecting streamflow and stream water quality: an approach via stable isotope, hydrogeochemical, and time series analysis. Wat. Res Res 26: 3005–3019.Google Scholar
  47. Uehlinger, U., Bossard, P., Bloesch, J., Bürgi, H.R., and Bührer, H. 1984. Ecological experiments in limnocorrals: methodological problems and quantification of the epilimnetic phosphorous and carbon cycles. Verh Int Verein Limnol 22: 163–171.Google Scholar
  48. Uehlinger, U., Zah, R. and Bürgi, H.R. 1998. The Val Roseg project: temporal and spatial patterns of benthic algae in an alpine stream ecosystem influenced by glacier runoff. IAHS Publ 248: 419–424.Google Scholar
  49. Van den Brink, F.W.B., de Leeuw, J.P.H.M., van der Velde, G. and Verheggen, G.M. 1993. Impact of hydrology on the chemistry and phytoplankton development in floodplain lakes along the Lower Rhine and Meuse. Biogeochemistry 19: 103–128.Google Scholar
  50. Vogler, P. 1965. Beiträge zur Phosphoranalytik in der Limnologie. Fortschr Wasserchemie und Grenzgebiete 2: 109–119.Google Scholar
  51. Ward, J.V. 1997. An expansive perspective of riverine landscapes: pattern and process across scales. Gaia 6: 52–60.Google Scholar
  52. Ward, J.V. and Stanford, J.A. 1995. Ecological connectivity in alluvial river ecosystems and its disruption by flow regulation. Regul Riv 11: 105–119.Google Scholar
  53. Ward J.V., Malard, F., Tockner, K. and Uehlinger, U. 1999. Influence of ground water on surface water conditions in a glacial flood plain of the Swiss Alps. Hydrol Process 13: 277–293.Google Scholar
  54. Wiens, J.A. 1995. Landscape mosaics and ecological theory. In Mosaic landscapes and ecological processes. pp. 1–26. Edited by L. Hansson, L. Fahrig and G. Merriam. Chapman & Hall, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Malard
    • 1
  • Klement Tockner
    • 1
  • J.V. Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LimnologyEAWAG/ETHDuebendorfSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations