Sediment Respiration Pulses in Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams

Schiller, D. and Datry, T. and Corti, R. and Foulquier, A. and Tockner, K. and Marcé, R. and García‐Baquero, G. and Odriozola, I. and Obrador, B. and Elosegi, A. and Mendoza‐Lera, C. and Gessner, M. O. and Stubbington, R. and Albariño, R. and Allen, D. C. and Altermatt, F. and Arce, M. I. and Arnon, S. and Banas, D. and Banegas‐Medina, A. and Beller, E. and Blanchette, M. L. and Blanco‐Libreros, J. F. and Blessing, J. and Boëchat, I. G. and Boersma, K. S. and Bogan, M. T. and Bonada, N. and Bond, N. R. and Brintrup, K. and Bruder, Andreas and Burrows, R. M. and Cancellario, T. and Carlson, S. M. and Cauvy‐Fraunié, S. and Cid, N. and Danger, M. and Freitas Terra, B. and Dehedin, A. and De Girolamo, A. M. and Campo, R. and Díaz‐Villanueva, V. and Duerdoth, C. P. and Dyer, F. and Faye, E. and Febria, C. and Figueroa, R. and Four, B. and Gafny, S. and Gómez, R. and Gómez‐Gener, L. and Graça, M. A. S. and Guareschi, S. and Gücker, B. and Hoppeler, F. and Hwan, J. L. and Kubheka, S. and Laini, A. and Langhans, S. D. and Leigh, C. and Little, C. J. and Lorenz, S. and Marshall, J. and Martín, E. J. and McIntosh, A. and Meyer, E. I. and Miliša, M. and Mlambo, M. C. and Moleón, M. and Morais, M. and Negus, P. and Niyogi, D. and Papatheodoulou, A. and Pardo, I. and Pařil, P. and Pešić, V. and Piscart, C. and Polášek, M. and Rodríguez‐Lozano, P. and Rolls, R. J. and Sánchez‐Montoya, M. M. and Savić, A. and Shumilova, O. and Steward, A. and Taleb, A. and Uzan, A. and Vander Vorste, R. and Waltham, N. and Woelfle‐Erskine, C. and Zak, D. and Zarfl, C. and Zoppini, A. (2019) Sediment Respiration Pulses in Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 33 (10). pp. 1251-1263. ISSN 0886-6236

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Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) may represent over half the global stream network, but their contribution to respiration and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is largely undetermined. In particular, little is known about the variability and drivers of respiration in IRES sediments upon rewetting, which could result in large pulses of CO2. We present a global study examining sediments from 200 dry IRES reaches spanning multiple biomes. Results from standardized assays show that mean respiration increased 32-fold to 66-fold upon sediment rewetting. Structural equation modeling indicates that this response was driven by sediment texture and organic matter quantity and quality, which, in turn, were influenced by climate, land use, and riparian plant cover. Our estimates suggest that respiration pulses resulting from rewetting of IRES sediments could contribute significantly to annual CO2 emissions from the global stream network, with a single respiration pulse potentially increasing emission by 0.2–0.7%. As the spatial and temporal extent of IRES increases globally, our results highlight the importance of recognizing the influence of wetting-drying cycles on respiration and CO2 emissions in stream networks.

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