Nutrient dynamics at the interface between surface waters and groundwaters

Clifford N. Dahm, Nancy B. Grimm, Pierre Marmonier, H. Maurice Valett, Philippe Vervier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

278 Scopus citations


1. The surface water/groundwater (SW/GW) interface is a crucial control point for lateral nutrient fluxes between uplands and aquatic ecosystems and for upstream/downstream (longitudinal) processes in lotic ecosystems. 2. Hydrological and biogeochemical dynamics of the SW/GW ecotone are linked to the degree of channel constraint and the sediment characteristics of the floodplain and stream bed. 3. The availability of specific chemical forms of electron donors and electron acceptors affects the spatial distribution of biogeochemical processes at the SW/GW interface. Temporal change in discharge is also a major factor affecting the rate and extent of these processes. 4. The magnitude of SW/GW interactions in lotic ecosystems is predicted to be a major determinant of solute retention. Channel morphology, stream bed composition and discharge are predicted to be important controls on SW/GW interactions. 5. Interdisciplinary research involving hydrologists, geomorphologists, aquatic ecologists, microbial ecologists and landscape ecologists is needed to further our present understanding of this critical interface linking terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-451
Number of pages25
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1998


  • Biogeochemistry
  • Ecotone
  • Hydrogeology
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Surface water/groundwater interactions
  • Terminal electron accepting processes


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