Models of underlying autotrophic biomass dynamics fit to daily river ecosystem productivity estimates improve understanding of ecosystem disturbance and resilience

Joanna R. Blaszczak, Charles B. Yackulic, Robert K. Shriver, Robert O. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Directly observing autotrophic biomass at ecologically relevant frequencies is difficult in many ecosystems, hampering our ability to predict productivity through time. Since disturbances can impart distinct reductions in river productivity through time by modifying underlying standing stocks of biomass, mechanistic models fit to productivity time series can infer underlying biomass dynamics. We incorporated biomass dynamics into a river ecosystem productivity model for six rivers to identify disturbance flow thresholds and understand the resilience of primary producers. The magnitude of flood necessary to disturb biomass and thereby reduce ecosystem productivity was consistently lower than the more commonly used disturbance flow threshold of the flood magnitude necessary to mobilize river bed sediment. The estimated daily maximum percent increase in biomass (a proxy for resilience) ranged from 5% to 42% across rivers. Our latent biomass model improves understanding of disturbance thresholds and recovery patterns of autotrophic biomass within river ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1510-1522
Number of pages13
JournalEcology Letters
Volume26
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Keywords

  • autotrophic biomass
  • disturbance ecology
  • gross primary productivity
  • population dynamics
  • resilience
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Time Factors
  • Ecosystem
  • Biomass
  • Rivers

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