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SFS Annual Meeting

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Globally, aridland rivers are poorly studied ecosystems in the field of metabolism (gross primary production – GPP, ecosystem respiration – ER); yet, are the most vulnerable systems regarding changing climate. Aridland rivers are characterized by high turbidity, variable flow and overallocated water resources. Our research is focused on the question: how productive metabolically are aridland rivers? The objectives were to quantify the extent of temporal (seasonal and interannual) and spatial variability in metabolism and to identify physical and biological drivers of metabolism along a 160 km reach of the Rio Grande, a 7th order river in the southwestern U.S. Metabolism was estimated using Stream Metabolizer from five years of semi-continuous water quality data at four sites along the Rio Grande that differed in hydrogeomorphic characteristics (e.g. streambed sediment type). Preliminary results show that metabolism can be estimated in a highly turbid, aridland river with rates of daily GPP and ER comparable to other lowland rivers. Seasonal and interannual rates of GPP and ER differed within and across sites, but not as expected with turbidity. This research better documents patterns of metabolism in an aridland river, susceptible to water quality degradation.

Justin Reale (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), United States Army Corps of Engineers, ;

David Van Horn (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of New Mexico, ;

Rebecca Bixby (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of New Mexico,;

Laura Crossey (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of New Mexico,;

Mark Stone (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of New Mexico,;

Betsy Summers (Primary Presenter/Author), University of New Mexico,;