Streambed migration frequency drives ecology and biogeochemistry across spatial scales

Ute Risse-Buhl, Shai Arnon, Edo Bar-Zeev, Anna Oprei, Aaron I. Packman, Ignacio Peralta-Maraver, Anne Robertson, Yoni Teitelbaum, Michael Mutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The bed of fluvial ecosystems plays a major role in global biogeochemical cycles. All fluvial sediments migrate and although responses of aquatic organisms to such movements have been recorded there is no theoretical framework on how the frequency of sediment movement affects streambed ecology and biogeochemistry. We here developed a theoretical framework describing how the moving-resting frequencies of fine-grained sediments constrain streambed communities across spatial scales. Specifically, we suggest that the most drastic impact on benthic and hyporheic communities will exist when ecological and biogeochemical processes are at the same temporal scale as the sediment moving-resting frequency. Moreover, we propose that the simultaneous occurrence of streambed patches differing in morphodynamics should be considered as an important driver of metacommunity dynamics. We surmise that the frequency of patch transition will add new dimensions to the understanding of biogeochemical cycling and metacommunities from micro-habitat to segment scales. This theoretical framework is important for fluvial ecosystems with frequent sediment movement, yet it could be applied to any other dynamic habitat. This article is categorized under: Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1632
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2023


  • benthic and hyporheic communities
  • environmental filtering
  • hierarchical spatial and temporal scaling
  • process time scale
  • sediment transport frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Streambed migration frequency drives ecology and biogeochemistry across spatial scales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this