A Comparison of Metabolic Rates in Off-Channel Habitats of the Middle Mississippi River
Autochthonous material has been found to be an important base in large river food webs. However, a spatial understanding of primary production in large rivers is lacking. We modeled primary productivity and community respiration (CR) during a low water period in two types of off-channel habitat present in the Middle Mississippi River, side channels and wing dike fields. Wing dike fields are constantly connected to the main channel and are well mixed along most of their length, while side channels are typically connected only at the top and mouth. Gross primary production (GPP) in wing dike fields ranged from 0.0 to 8.9 g O2 m−2 D−1 and in side channels GPP ranged from 0.4 to 33.5 g O2 m−2 D−1. Both habitat types experienced periods of positive net ecosystem production (NEP) especially in the late summer and early fall. Correlations between metabolic rates and ecosystem characteristics differed between habitat types. Discharge was negatively correlated to NEP in wing dike fields but was not associated with metabolic rates in side channels. Light was positively correlated with GPP and CR at both site types and with NEP in side channels. These areas are protected from high velocity and likely experience greater light penetration, allowing more photosynthesis to take place especially during low water periods. This study demonstrates the potential for high productivity in off-channel habitats that are permanently connected to the main channel. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
CR, dike, GPP, large-river, metabolism, Mississippi River, NEP, off-channel, side channels
Sobotka, M. J., and Q. E. Phelps. "A Comparison of Metabolic Rates in Off‐Channel Habitats of the Middle Mississippi River." River Research and Applications 33, no. 6 (2017): 903-911.
River Research and Applications