The hyporheic interstitial was recognized as an integral zone within the aquatic ecosystem bearing important functions for both adjacent compartments, surface and ground water, about 50 years ago. Since then, rather disciplinary works gained knowledge on the organismic community of this ecotone, its spatial extent, the role of distinct parameters such as hydrology and morphology, temporal characteristics, process dynamics, the role for stream or groundwater quality and restoration measures. However, a systematic study on the risks to the hyporheic functions was missing to date. This thesis combined existing methods in order to gather an integrated set of information allowing for the assessment of the ecotonal status. This approach was applied to investigate the functional behavior towards stressors like increasing nutrient and fine sediment input into a rather pristine environment. An interdisciplinary risk assessment and the establishment of adapted measures was called for as land-use scenarios for the studied catchment area indicated progressive onland erosion. Therefore firstly, an integrated monitoring scheme was drawn up and conducted at three sites along a river that underlay a stressor gradient such as mentioned before. Secondly, the data sets were analysed in order to evaluate the status of the hyporheic funtions at the riffles. Thirdly, a coupled surface-subsurface modelling approach was set up to further study the impact of the stressors on the ecotonal integrity. And fourthly, an interdisciplinary consideration combined with studies on the catchments sediment budget and the rivers ecological status was applied to identify measures for the restoration and protection of the aquatic ecosystem. The analysis of the data gathered with the help of the established monitoring scheme revealed that elevated nutrient or fine sediment input lead to biological or physical clogging, respectively, with consequences for the hyporheic zone functions. The surface - ground water connectivity was either lowered in summer months, when biofilm growth was highest, or permanently, as fine sediment particles infiltrated into the interstices of the riverbed sediment. Scouring did not seem to take place as high amounts of fine particles were found in the matrix after discharge events of snowmelt and summer precipitation. With respect to the biogeochemical regulation function, biofilm material appeared to provide an autochthonous carbon source boosting microbial substance turnover. The sediment underneath the physical clogged layer was cut off from carbon and oxygen rich surface water and thus was not reactive. However, the enhanced surface area provided by the fine sediment within the topmost sediment layer seemed to support microbial processing. The inclusion of the results of a study concerning the ecological status at the investigated reaches lead to the deduction that biological clogging at the present degree was not affecting habitat quality. Whereas the physical clogging had tremendeous and lasting effects on the macroinvertebrate community which carries to the conclusion that sediment management within the studied catchment is of uttermost importance. A scenario analysis reflecting distinct clogging degrees and types with a calibrated model of a studied riffle within a pristine reach proved the observed loss of hydrologic connectivity due to physical and biological clogging. Further, a treshold of oxygen consumption rates above which the reproduction of salmonid fish would be unsuccessful was identified for the settings of the middle reaches. In summer month with low discharge it seemed to be likely that this treshold might be reached. Following, a dynamic discharge may be decisive to protect the ecotonal integrity. The integration with the outcome of an investigation regarding the sediment sources within the catchment allowed for two suggestions. On the one hand, river bank restoration and protection within the middle reaches need to be prioritised, and on the other hand, the conservation of the natural vegetation at the steep slopes within the mountaineous areas need to be undertaken in order to secure the pristine aquatic environment of this area. Hyporheic zone research of the last decade was driven by testing hypotheses on the functional significance of distinct spatial and temporal configurations in the field and by new modelling approaches. However, data on the quantification of the ecological impact of clogging processes were lacking. The thesis contributed to the systemic understanding of the hyporheic zone being affected by physical and biological clogging and new field data within a degrading pristine environment were generated, accessible for further hyporheic research. The interdisciplinarity enabled comprehensive statements for the usage of an Integrated Water Resources Management plan.
Hyporheische Zone ; Funktion Ökoton ; Kolmation ; Iwrm ; Hyporheic Zone ; Ecotonal Funtion ; Clogging ; Iwrm ; Ddc:550 ; Rvk:Rr 67363
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