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Title: Seasonal controls on dynamic hyporheic zone redox biogeochemistry

Abstract

Hyporheic zones (where surface water and groundwater mix in streambeds) play a critical role in the movement of chemicals within watersheds, particularly in upland headwater streams. Seasonal hydrology controls the expansion and contraction of hyporheic zones, with greater downwelling oxic river water influence during periods of peak river discharge (linked to snowmelt), and greater influence of upwelling anoxic groundwater during periods of low- and base-flow. Through this work, we aimed to quantify upwelling and downwelling fluxes across seasons and assess the impact of these dynamics on microbial community assembly and geochemical gradients at East River, Colorado. Further, we performed high spatial resolution sampling to capture heterogeneous mixing patterns around a characteristic meander on the river and developed reactive transport models to explain seasonal patterns of manganese (Mn) cycling in riverbed sediments. We were able to measure a dominant period of downwelling river water associated with high river discharge in Spring 2017 that led to the mixing of microbial communities across a 60-cm depth profile through the riverbed at three locations around the meander, and higher rates of aerobic respiration via delivery of dissolved oxygen (O2) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Conversely, we demonstrated that depth-resolved microbial communities became more distinctmore » and stratified across a depth gradient during periods of low- and base-flow when upwelling groundwater exerted more influence in the riverbed. We also observed an increase in Mn concentrations within deeper streambed sediments during the baseflow season. Reactive transport models were developed to understand seasonal changes in Mn cycling in the streambed because Mn oxides influence the mobility of other metals in streams. In field observations and models, dissolved Mn is flushed from the streambed during spring snowmelt. A shift to upwelling conditions over the subsequent baseflow period allows for groundwater rich in dissolved Mn to mix with oxygenated river water in the shallow subsurface, resulting in net accumulation of Mn-oxides until the bed freezes in winter. We also developed models for hydrograph scenarios with snowmelt events of various size and timing. Our scenarios suggest that in years with less snowpack and a longer baseflow season, Mn oxidation will be favored in the upper riverbed sediments over more of the year, which may increase the sorption capacity of the streambed for other metals. Finally, we assessed fine-scale geochemical and hydrologic heterogeneity in the meandering riverbed by sampling pore water at 20 cm depth across more than 100 locations in August 2018. Sample locations span distinct zones of up-welling groundwater that contrast against dominant down-welling conditions. Clear differences in carbon quality and concentrations of redox sensitive solutes were detected between these zones, highlighting the importance of understanding heterogeneity at small scales across streambeds. Geochemical differences were associated with differences in microbial assemblage, but microbial diversity was generally uniform and high across all locations at the same depth, regardless of the extent of groundwater influence.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]
  1. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  2. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1506963
Report Number(s):
DOE-OSU-16488
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0016488
Type / Phase:
SBIR (Phase I)
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; surface water-groundwater interactions, hyporheic, microbiology, manganese

Citation Formats

Wilkins, Michael, Sawyer, Audrey, and Williams, Kenneth. Seasonal controls on dynamic hyporheic zone redox biogeochemistry. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1506963.
Wilkins, Michael, Sawyer, Audrey, & Williams, Kenneth. Seasonal controls on dynamic hyporheic zone redox biogeochemistry. United States. doi:10.2172/1506963.
Wilkins, Michael, Sawyer, Audrey, and Williams, Kenneth. Mon . "Seasonal controls on dynamic hyporheic zone redox biogeochemistry". United States. doi:10.2172/1506963. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1506963.
@article{osti_1506963,
title = {Seasonal controls on dynamic hyporheic zone redox biogeochemistry},
author = {Wilkins, Michael and Sawyer, Audrey and Williams, Kenneth},
abstractNote = {Hyporheic zones (where surface water and groundwater mix in streambeds) play a critical role in the movement of chemicals within watersheds, particularly in upland headwater streams. Seasonal hydrology controls the expansion and contraction of hyporheic zones, with greater downwelling oxic river water influence during periods of peak river discharge (linked to snowmelt), and greater influence of upwelling anoxic groundwater during periods of low- and base-flow. Through this work, we aimed to quantify upwelling and downwelling fluxes across seasons and assess the impact of these dynamics on microbial community assembly and geochemical gradients at East River, Colorado. Further, we performed high spatial resolution sampling to capture heterogeneous mixing patterns around a characteristic meander on the river and developed reactive transport models to explain seasonal patterns of manganese (Mn) cycling in riverbed sediments. We were able to measure a dominant period of downwelling river water associated with high river discharge in Spring 2017 that led to the mixing of microbial communities across a 60-cm depth profile through the riverbed at three locations around the meander, and higher rates of aerobic respiration via delivery of dissolved oxygen (O2) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Conversely, we demonstrated that depth-resolved microbial communities became more distinct and stratified across a depth gradient during periods of low- and base-flow when upwelling groundwater exerted more influence in the riverbed. We also observed an increase in Mn concentrations within deeper streambed sediments during the baseflow season. Reactive transport models were developed to understand seasonal changes in Mn cycling in the streambed because Mn oxides influence the mobility of other metals in streams. In field observations and models, dissolved Mn is flushed from the streambed during spring snowmelt. A shift to upwelling conditions over the subsequent baseflow period allows for groundwater rich in dissolved Mn to mix with oxygenated river water in the shallow subsurface, resulting in net accumulation of Mn-oxides until the bed freezes in winter. We also developed models for hydrograph scenarios with snowmelt events of various size and timing. Our scenarios suggest that in years with less snowpack and a longer baseflow season, Mn oxidation will be favored in the upper riverbed sediments over more of the year, which may increase the sorption capacity of the streambed for other metals. Finally, we assessed fine-scale geochemical and hydrologic heterogeneity in the meandering riverbed by sampling pore water at 20 cm depth across more than 100 locations in August 2018. Sample locations span distinct zones of up-welling groundwater that contrast against dominant down-welling conditions. Clear differences in carbon quality and concentrations of redox sensitive solutes were detected between these zones, highlighting the importance of understanding heterogeneity at small scales across streambeds. Geochemical differences were associated with differences in microbial assemblage, but microbial diversity was generally uniform and high across all locations at the same depth, regardless of the extent of groundwater influence.},
doi = {10.2172/1506963},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {8}
}

Technical Report:
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