Biofilm-induced bioclogging produces sharp interfaces in hyporheic flow, redox conditions, and microbial community structure

Alice Caruso*, Fulvio Boano, Luca Ridolfi, David L. Chopp, Aaron Packman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Riverbed sediments host important biogeochemical processes that play a key role in nutrient dynamics. Sedimentary nutrient transformations are mediated by bacteria in the form of attached biofilms. The influence of microbial metabolic activity on the hydrochemical conditions within the hyporheic zone is poorly understood. We present a hydrobiogeochemical model to assess how the growth of heterotrophic and autotrophic biomass affects the transport and transformation of dissolved nitrogen compounds in bed form-induced hyporheic zones. Coupling between hyporheic exchange, nitrogen metabolism, and biomass growth leads to an equilibrium between permeability reduction and microbial metabolism that yields shallow hyporheic flows in a region with low permeability and high rates of microbial metabolism near the stream-sediment interface. The results show that the bioclogging caused by microbial growth can constrain rates and patterns of hyporheic fluxes and microbial transformation rate in many streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4917-4925
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 28 2017

Keywords

  • bioclogging
  • hyporheic exchange
  • nitrogen metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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