Coupling of hydrodynamical, biological, and geochemical processes in streambeds

Aaron I. Packman*, Tom J. Batiin, J. Denis Newbold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Recent interest in the effects of streambed and near-subsurface (benthic and hyporheic) processes on stream ecosystems has motivated study of the hydrodynamics of stream-subsurface interactions. Hydrodynamic transport places an important control on the delivery of reactive species such as contaminants and ecologically-relevant substances such as nutrients to the benthic and hyporheic zones. Conversely, biological processes such as biofilm growth and physicochemical processes such as colloid deposition can alter the transport environment within sedimentary systems. Multiple feedbacks between biological, chemical, and transport processes make these interfacial sedimentary environments very complex. Experimental results are presented to illustrate the feedbacks between hydrodynamic stream-subsurface exchange, biofilm development, and fine particle deposition. These studies demonstrate that a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach is required to assess even the most basic dynamic processes in these systems, such as the evolution of interfacial fluxes over time. We suggest that it is useful to consider these processes to be biophysicochemical in nature. That is, in such complex environmental systems, it is misleading to attempt to consider processes in isolation; rather, understanding of system dynamics can only come from an integrated approach that considers feedbacks among and between biological, physical, and chemical processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Hydroengineering and Environmental Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Benthic zone
  • Hyporheic zone
  • Stream ecology
  • Stream-groundwater interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology

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