The project

Can small scale ecological experiments be applied to understand structure and function of regional ecological systems?

•Do patch-scale (dm) measurements of ecosystem rates over- or under-estimate reach-scale (100m) rates in streams?
•What abiotic variables drive scaling of reach- to network-scale measures of ecosystem function?
•How do ecosystem rates and the effects of consumers vary between biomes?

Goal: To develop new insights regarding how best to extrapolate small-scale experimental measurements used by field researchers to large-scale river networks.

Hypotheses:

•Quantifying ecosystem processes at river network scales will require accounting for the distribution of abiotic drivers (temperature, light, flow) defined by heterogeneity that is superimposed on gradients of river size.
•Consumer effects will have influences across biomes via biogeographical patterns of community composition.

Project design

•Experiments and sampling in five biomes across North America
•Methods consistent across biomes.
•Stream networks in each biome represented using spatial datasets and ecosystem models
•Stream metabolism and nutrient uptake are key response variables