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Hydroecology and Ecohydrology: Past, Present and Future

Paul J. Wood (Editor), David M. Hannah (Editor), Jonathan P. Sadler (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-01017-4
460 pages
April 2008
Hydroecology and Ecohydrology: Past, Present and Future (0470010177) cover image


This state-of-the-art, research level text considers the growing volume of research at the interface of hydrology and ecology and focuses on:
  • the evolution of hydroecology / ecohydrology 
  • process understanding
  • hydroecological interactions, dynamics and linkages
  • methodological approaches
  • detailed case studies
  • future research needs

The editors and contributors are internationally recognised experts in hydrology and ecology from institutions across North America, South America, Australia, and Europe. Chapters provide a broad geographical coverage and bridge the traditional subject divide between hydrology and ecology. 

The book considers a range of organisms (plants, invertebrates and fish), provides a long-term perspective on contemporary and palaeo-systems, and emphasises wider research implications with respect to environmental and water resource management.

Hydroecology and Ecohydrology is an indispensable resource for academics and postgraduate researchers in departments of physical geography, earth sciences, environmental science, environmental management, civil engineering, water resource management, biology, zoology, botany and ecology. It is also of interest to professionals working within environmental consultancies, organizations and national agencies.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors.


1. Ecohydrology and Hydroecology: An Introduction (Paul J. Wood, David M. Hannah and Jonathan P. Sadler).

1.1 Wider Context.

1.2 Hydroecology and Ecohydrology: A Brief Retrospective.

1.3 A Focus.

1.4 This Book.

1.5 Final Opening Remarks.


2. How Trees Influence the Hydrological Cycle in Forest Ecosystems (B.J. Bond, F.C. Meinzer and J.R. Brooks).

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Key Processes and Concepts in Evapotranspiration – Their Historical Development and Current Status.

2.3 Evapotranspiration in Forest Ecosystems.

2.4 Applying Concepts: Changes in Hydrologic Processes through the Life Cycle of Forests.

3. The Ecohydrology of Invertebrates Associated with Exposed Riverine Sediments (Jon P. Sadler and Adam J. Bates).

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 ERS Habitats.

3.3 Invertebrate Conservation and ERS Habitats.

3.4 Flow Disturbance in ERS Habitats.

3.5 The Importance of Flow Disturbance for ERS Invertebrate Ecology.

3.6 How Much Disturbance is Needed to Sustain ERS Diversity?

3.7 Threats to ERS Invertebrate Biodiversity.

4. Aquatic-Terrestrial Subsidies Along River Corridors (Achim Paetzold, John L. Sabo, Jon P. Sadler, Stuart E.G. Findlay and Klement Tockner).

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 What Controls Aquatic–Terrestrial Flows?

4.3 Aquatic–Terrestrial Flows Along River Corridors.

4.4 Infl uence of Human Impacts on Aquatic–Terrestrial Subsidies.

4.5 Conclusions.

4.6 Future Research.

5. Flow-generated Disturbances and Ecological Responses; Floods and Droughts (P.S. Lake).

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Defi nition of Disturbance.

5.3 Disturbances and Responses.

5.4 Disturbance and Refugia.

5.5 Floods.

5.6 Droughts.

5.7 The Responses to Floods.

5.8 Responses to Drought.

5.9 Summary.

5.10 Hydrological Disturbances and Future Challenges.  

6. Surface Water-Groundwater Exchange Processes and Fluvial Ecosystem Function: An Analysis of Temporal and Spatial Scale Dependency (Pascal Breil, Nancy B. Grimm and Philippe Vervier).

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Fluvial Ecosystems: The Hydrogeomorphic Template and Ecosystem Function.

6.3 Flow Variability and SGW Water Movements.

6.4 Implications of Flow Variability for SGW Exchange and Fluvial Ecosystem Structure and Function.

6.5 Conclusion.

7. Ecohydrology and Climate Change (Wendy Gordon and Travis Huxman).

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Ecohydrological Controls on Streamflow.

7.3 Simulation Studies of Ecohydrological Effects of Climate Change.

7.4 Experimental Studies of Ecohydrological Effects of Climate Change.

7.5 Differing Perspectives of Hydrologists and Ecologists.

7.6 Future Research Needs.

7.7 Postscript.

8. The Value of Long-term (Palaeo) Records in Hydroecology and Ecohydrology (Tony Brown).

8.1 River–Floodplain–Lake Systems and the Limits of Monitoring.

8.2 Key Concepts.

8.3 Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology: Proxies and Transfer Functions.

8.4 Palaeoecology, Restoration and Enhancement.

8.5 Case Study I. The River Culm in South-west England.

8.6 Case Study II. The Changing Status of Danish Lakes.  

9. Field Methods for Monitoring Surface/Groundwater Hydrological Interactions in Aquatic Ecosystems (Andrew J. Boulton).

9.1 Introduction.

9.2 Research Contexts: Questions, Scales, Accuracy and Precision.

9.3 Direct Hydrological Methods for Assessing SGW Interactions.

9.4 Indirect Hydrological Methods for Assessing SGW Interactions.

9.5 Future Technical Challenges and Opportunities.

10. Examining the Influence of Flow Regime Variability and Instream Ecology (Wendy A. Monk, Paul J. Wood and David. M. Hannah).

10.1 Introduction.

10.2 The Requirement for Hydroecological Data.

10.3 Bibliographic Analysis.

10.4 Importance of Scale.

10.5 River Flow Data: Collection and Analysis.

10.6 Ecological Data: Collection and Analysis.

10.7 Integration of Hydrological and Ecological Data for Hydroecolical Analysis.

10.8 River Flow Variability and Ecological Response: Future.

11. High Resolution Remote Sensing for Understanding Instream Habitat (Stuart N. Lane and Patrice E. Carbonneau).

11.1 Introduction.

11.2 Scale, the Grain of Instream Habitat and the Need for Remotely Sensed Data.

11.3 Depth and Morphology.

11.4 Substrate.

11.5 Discrete Grain Identification.

11.6 Ensemble Grain Size Parameter Determination.

11.7 Example Application: Substrate Mapping in a Salmon River.

11.8 Future Developments.

12. A Mathematical and Conceptual Framework for Ecohydraulics (John M. Nestler, R. Andrew Goodwin, David L. Smith and James J. Anderson).

12.1 Introduction.

12.2 Ecohydraulics: Where Do the Ideas Come From?

12.3 Reference Frameworks of Engineering and Ecology.

12.4 Concepts for Ecohydraulics.

12.5 Two Examples of Ecohydraulics.

12.6 Discussion.

12.7 Conclusions.

13. Hydroecology: The Scientific Basis for Water Resources.Management and River Regulation (Geoffrey Petts).

13.1 Introduction.

13.2 A Scientifi c Basis for Water Resources Management.

13.3 Hydroecology in Water Management.

13.4 Applications to Water Resource Problems.

13.5 Conclusions.


14. The Role of Floodplains in Mitigating Diffuse Nitrate Pollution (T.P. Burt, M.M. Hefting, G. Pinay and S. Sabater).

14.1 Context.

14.2 Nitrogen Removal by Riparian Buffers: Results of a Pan-European Experiment.

14.3 Landscape Perspectives.

14.4 Future Perspectives.

15. Flow-Vegetation Interactions in Restored Floodplain Environments (Rachel Horn and Keith Richards).

15.1 The Need for Ecohydraulics.

15.2 The Basic Hydraulics of Flow–Vegetation Interaction.

15.3 Drag Coeffi cients and Vegetation.

15.4 Velocity, Velocity Profi les and Vegetation Character.

15.5 Dimensionality: Flow Velocity in Compound Channels with Vegetation.

15.6 Some Empirical Illustrations of Flow–Vegetation Interactions.

15.7 Conclusions.

16. Hydrogeomorphological and Ecological Interactions in Tropical Floodplains: The Signifi cance of Confl uence Zones in the Orinoco Basin, Venezuela (J. Rosales, L. Blanco-Belmonte and C. Bradley).

16.1 Introduction.

16.2 Hydrogeomorphological Dynamics.

16.3 The Riparian Ecosystem.

16.4 Longitudinal Gradients at Confl uence Zones.

16.5 Synthesis and Conclusions.

17. Hydroecological Patterns of Change in Riverine Plant Communities (Birgitta M. Renöfält and Christer Nilsson).

17.1 Introduction.

17.2 Vegetation in Riverine Habitats.

17.3 Hydrological–Ecological Interactions.

17.4 Natural Patterns of Change.

17.5 Human Impacts.

17.6 Ways Forward.

18. Hydroecology of Alpine Rivers (Lee E. Brown, Alexander M. Milner and David M. Hannah).

18.1 Introduction.

18.2 Water Sources Dynamics in Alpine River Systems.

18.3 Physicochemical Properties of Alpine Rivers.

18.3.4 Hydrochemistry.

18.4 Biota of Alpine Rivers.

18.5 Towards an Integrated Hydroecological Understanding of Alpine River Systems.

18.6 Conclusions and Future Research Directions.

19. Fluvial Sedimentology: Implications for Riverine Ecosystems (Gregory H. Sambrook Smith).

19.1 Introduction.

19.2 The Sedimentology of Barforms.

19.3 The Evolution of Barforms.

19.4 Discussion and Conclusion.

 20. Physical-Ecological Interactions in a Lowland River System: Large Wood, Hydraulic Complexity and Native Fish Associations in the River Murray, Australia (Victor Hughes, Martin C. Thomas, Simon J. Nicol and John D. Koehn).

20.1 Introduction.

20.2 Study Area.

20.3 Methods.

20.4 Results.

20.5 Discussion.

20.6 Conclusions.

21. The Ecological Significance of Hydraulic Retention Zones (F. Schiemer and T. Hein).

21.1 Introduction.

21.2 Geomorphology and Patch Dynamics Creating Retention Zones.

21.3 Retention, Hydraulics and Physiographic Conditions.

21.4 Habitat Conditions for Characteristic Biota.

21.5 Retention and Water Column Processes.

21.6 The Signifi cance of Retention Zones for the River Network.

21.7 Implications for River Management.

22. Conclusion (David M. Hannah, Jonathan P. Sadler and Paul J. Wood).

22.1 Introduction.

22.2 The Need for an Interdisciplinary Approach.

22.3 Future Research Themes.


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Author Information

Dr Paul J. Wood is Lecturer in Hydrology and Ecology, at the Department of Geography, Loughborough University, and has held this post since April 2000. He obtained his B.Sc. Hons. at Loughborough 1993, followed by his Ph.D. in Low flows and siltation in chalk streams with particular reference to the macroinvertebrate community in 1996. Dr Wood has over 11 years experience of groundwater ecology and hydrological disturbance of freshwater ecosystems and has published over 35 articles in this area. His main research interests are in the interaction of freshwater organisms with their environment

Dr David M. Hannah is Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham and has held this post since 2005. He obtained his B.Sc. Hons in Physical Geography at the University of Aberdeen in 1994, followed by his Ph.D. in Meltwater generation and drainage at the University of Birmingham in 1997. Dr Hannah has over 9 years experience of interdisciplinary research at the interface between hydrology and climatology and has published 23 articles on this subject.

Dr Jonathan P. Sadler has been Reader in Biogeography and Senior Examinations Officer at the University of Birmingham since 1993. Previously he completed a Ph.D. in Biogeography at Sheffield and an M.Sc. and B.Sc.  in Birmingham. He is a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and member of the British Ecological Society. He is also Editor of the Journal of Biogeography (Oct. 2004-); on the Editorial Panel (Biogeography) of Geography Compass (Oct 06-) and was Physical Geography editor for the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers book series (Nov 2000-Jan 06). Dr Sadler has over 17 years experience of the disturbance ecology of invertebrates, and has published over 70 articles on these subjects.

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"I recommend this book without reservation to any hydrologist, ecologist and water resources manager who works at the interface between hydrological and ecological sciences in riverine systems. Editors and contributors succeed in bridging the traditional subject divide between hydrology and ecology." (International Review of Hydrobiology, December 2008)

"I fully agree with the editors' message" (Journal of Sedimentary Research)

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