Reconceptualizing the hyporheic zone for nonperennial rivers and streams

Amanda G. Delvecchia, Margaret Shanafield, Margaret A. Zimmer, Michelle H. Busch, Corey A. Krabbenhoft, Rachel Stubbington, Kendra E. Kaiser, Ryan M. Burrows, Jake Hosen, Thibault Datry, Stephanie K. Kampf, Samuel C. Zipper, Ken Fritz, Katie Costigan, Daniel C. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Nonperennial streams dominate global river networks and are increasing in occurrence across space and time. When surface flow ceases or the surface water dries, flow or moisture can be retained in the subsurface sediments of the hyporheic zone, supporting aquatic communities and ecosystem processes. However, hydrological and ecological definitions of the hyporheic zone have been developed in perennial rivers and emphasize the mixing of water and organisms from both the surface stream and groundwater. The adaptation of such definitions to include both humid and dry unsaturated conditions could promote characterization of how hydrological and biogeochemical variability shape ecological communities within nonperennial hyporheic zones, advancing our understanding of both ecosystem structure and function in these habitats. To conceptualize hyporheic zones for nonperennial streams, we review how water sources and surface and subsurface structure influence hydrological and physicochemical conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalFreshwater Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science


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