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Spring cold snap helps with stream ecosystem research
Date:7/23/2009

stream production," said Mulholland, a member of the Environmental Sciences Division.

In this case, a freeze caused the Walker Branch stream to prosper, but an ecosystem cannot count on unexpected weather events to maintain productivity.

"The stream ecosystem cannot depend on an Arctic air mass moving in every year, killing the leaves and exposing the stream to sunlight, resulting in increased growth," Mulholland said. "It's an unpredictable weather occurrence. On the other hand, we see that early leaf emergence has become predictable and has negative effects on the stream ecosystem during the critical spring period when many stream organisms are dependent on algae for food."

Although canopy cover in the spring leads to decreased organism growth, in the autumn, bacteria and fungi decompose the leaves and grow from the nutrients, thus stimulating productivity.


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Contact: Emma Macmillan
macmillanee@ornl.gov
865-241-9138
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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