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Coupled biogeochemical and hydrological responses of streams and rivers to drought
Freshwater Biology (2003)
  • Clifford N. Dahm
  • Michelle A. Baker, Utah State University
  • Douglas I. Moore
  • James R. Thibault
Summary 1 Severe or extreme droughts occurred about 10% of the time over a 105-year record from central New Mexico, U.S.A., based on the Palmer Drought Severity Index. 2 Drought lowers water tables, creating extensive areas of groundwater recharge and fragmenting reaches of streams and rivers. Deeper groundwater inputs predominate as sources of surface flows during drought. Nutrient inputs to streams and rivers reflect the biogeochemistry of regional ground waters with longer subsurface residence times. 3 Inputs of bioavailable dissolved organic carbon to surface waters decrease during drought, with labile carbon limitation of microbial metabolism a byproduct of drought conditions. 4 Decreased inputs of organic forms of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus and a decrease in the organic : inorganic ratio of nutrient inputs favours autotrophs over heterotrophs during drought. 5 The fate of autotrophic production during drought will be strongly influenced by the structure of the aquatic food web within impacted sites.
  • biogeochemistry,
  • alluvial,
  • drought
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2427.2003.01082.x
Citation Information
Dahm, C.N., M.A. Baker, D.I. Moore, and J.R. Thibault. 2003. Biogeochemistry of surface waters and alluvial ground waters in streams and rivers during drought. Freshwater Biology 48:1219-1231.