CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Australian Journal of Botany   
Australian Journal of Botany
Journal Banner
  Southern Hemisphere Botanical Ecosystems
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Turner Review Series
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
Awards and Prizes
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn

red arrow PrometheusWiki
blank image
Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 54(2)

Rivers as groundwater-dependent ecosystems: a review of degrees of dependency, riverine processes and management implications

A. J. Boulton A B, P. J. Hancock A

A Ecosystem Management, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: aboulton@une.edu.au
PDF (196 KB) $25
 Export Citation


Many rivers are classified as groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs), owing to the contribution of groundwater to their base flow. However, there has been little explicit recognition of the way groundwater influences riverine biota or processes, how degrees of ecological dependency may vary, and the management implications of this dependency. The permeable beds and banks of these GDEs where surface water and groundwater exchange are termed ‘hyporheic zones’. They are often inhabited by invertebrates, with varying reliance on groundwater, although the ecological roles of these invertebrates are little known. Upwelling hyporheic water can promote surface primary productivity, influence sediment microbial activity, and affect organic matter decomposition. In many intermittent streams, variable groundwater inputs alter the duration of flow or water permanence, and the duration and timing of these largely govern the biota and rates of many ecosystem processes (e.g. leaf decomposition). Not only is the physical presence of water important, thermal and chemical conditions arising from groundwater inputs also have direct and indirect effects on riverine biota and rates or types of in-stream processes. Differing degrees of dependency of rivers on groundwater mediate all these influences, and may change over time and in response to human activities. Alteration of groundwater inputs through extraction from riparian wells or changes in local water table have an impact on these GDEs, and some current management plans aim to restrict groundwater extraction from near permeable river channels. However, these are often ‘blanket’ restrictions and the mechanisms of GDE dependency or timing of groundwater requirements are poorly understood, hampering refinement of this management approach. More effective management of these GDEs into the future can result only from a better understanding of the mechanisms of the dependency, how these vary among river types and what in-stream changes might be predicted from alteration of groundwater inputs.

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015