Christopher T. Robinson

Christopher T. Robinson
Eawag: Das Wasserforschungs-Institut des ETH-Bereichs | Eawag · Department of Aquatic Ecology

About

201
Publications
81,842
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6,082
Citations
Citations since 2017
78 Research Items
3092 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600

Publications

Publications (201)
Article
1. Flow regime is a major determinant of the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems. Under climate change, flow intermittency is becoming more prevalent in glaciated alpine catchments, but the effects of increasing dryness on aquatic biodiversity remain largely unknown. 2. We characterized flow intermittency patterns in 30 streams of a gla...
Conference Paper
The widespread presence of dams in the Alps has deprived most alpine streams of their dynamic character. Alpine streams are naturally subject to strong disturbance drivers where high flow variability and large sediment loads drive environmental conditions. Dams disrupt flow and sediment regimes, modifying the habitat template and the equilibrium be...
Conference Paper
Alpine streams are dynamic systems, subject to strong disturbance drivers. Environmental conditions are characterized by high discharge variability and large sediment loads. Flow regulation for hydropower is widespread in the alpine area, where numerous dams have been built to exploit the high-head potential of steep valleys. Dams alter both water...
Article
Full-text available
The Macun lakes form a high-alpine (> 2,600 m asl) cirque landscape (3.6 km 2) in the Swiss National Park, comprising 26 small lakes together with a number of temporary ponds. Streams interconnect the four largest lakes, forming the drainage network that flows into the Inn River at the town of Lavin. The drainage network of Macun consists of a nort...
Article
Full-text available
Changing weather patterns and receding glaciers are predicted to increase flow intermittency in alpine streams. If aquatic macroinvertebrate communities largely comprise taxa adapted to perennial flows, an increase in flow intermittency substantially reduces biodiversity and affects functional processes. We conducted a before-after-control-impact f...
Article
Full-text available
Gold mining is currently one of the main anthropogenic sources of mercury in the environment. In this study, the total mercury content was measured in bottom sediments, benthic macroinvertebrates (mayfly larvae), and fish (Siberian dace) along the Boroo River in northern Mongolia. There was a gold recovery plant in the middle reaches of the river u...
Article
Full-text available
Microbes play a critical role in plant litter decomposition and influence the fate of carbon in rivers and riparian zones. When decomposing low‐nutrient plant litter, microbes acquire nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from the environment (i.e., nutrient immobilization), and this process is potentially sensitive to nutrient loading and changing clima...
Article
Full-text available
In high‐altitude Alpine streams, seasonal cycles of snowmelt, glacial melt, and rainfall drive variation in the availability of algal food resources. Yet, high‐altitude streams also exhibit varying degrees of flow intermittency, ranging from solely winter‐drying streams to others that dry periodically throughout summer and autumn. These environment...
Article
Full-text available
Flow refugia, locations that maintain substrate stability and low hydraulic stress during periods of high flow, can ensure riverine resilience in the face of increasing hydrological unpredictability. Despite their known importance, they have been overlooked in recent years with work on drought refugia currently seeing greater attention. Moreover, r...
Book
Full-text available
Rivers of Europe, Second Edition, presents the latest update on the only primary source of complete and comparative baseline data on the biological and hydrological characteristics of more than 180 of the highest profile rivers in Europe. With even more full-color photographs and maps, the book includes conservation information on current patterns...
Article
Full-text available
Rivers regulated by dams display several ecosystem alterations due to modified flow and sediment regimes. Downstream from a dam, ecosystem degradation occurs because of reduced disturbance, mostly derived from limitations on flow variability and sediment supply. In the last decade, most flow restoration/dam impact mitigation was oriented towards th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The ambition of this symposium was to review and create knowledge and praxis in bedload management, support the implementation of restoration measures in Switzerland and strengthen the international network among scientists and practitioners. Switzerland has the legal goal and the financial tools to restore its rivers from the impacts of sediment...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract River regulation globally has reduced the riverine connectivity (longitudinal, lateral and vertically) with significant consequences for their abiotic and biotic components. To restore the ecological integrity of regulated rivers, artificial floods are increasingly being employed in large‐scale flow restoration efforts. Despite considerabl...
Article
Sediment transport in mountain streams can be a major hazard to downstream infrastructure. Consequently, sediment traps are a common feature in many high gradient streams to retain large volumes of sediment and protect settlements from major sediment transport events. Despite the wide application of these instream structures, there is little knowle...
Article
Full-text available
Exploitation of hydropower potential in alpine areas undermines the ecological integrity of rivers. Damming and water abstraction substantially alter the physical habitat template of rivers, with strong repercussions on aquatic communities and their resources. Tools are needed to predict and manage the consequences of these alterations on the struc...
Article
Full-text available
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential resources unequally distributed throughout landscapes. Certain PUFAs, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are common in aquatic but scarce in terrestrial ecosystems. In environments with low PUFA availability, meeting nutritional needs requires either adaptations in metabolism to PUFA-poor resource...
Article
River floodplains are spatially diverse ecosystems that respond quickly to flow variations and disturbance. However, it remains unclear how flow alteration and hydrological disturbance impacts the structure and biodiversity of complex microbial communities in these ecosystems. Here, we examined the spatial and seasonal dynamics of microbial communi...
Article
Drying in alpine streams might decrease aquatic-terrestrial trophic linkages by reducing terrestrial predation on aquatic prey. We tested this hypothesis by investigating whether a common riparian predator (hunting spiders) in alpine environments assimilated a lower proportion of aquatic prey with increasing stream intermittency. We used high tempo...
Article
1. More frequent and more severe forest fires mean more severely burned wood in streams. Instream wood provides habitat complexity, alters geomorphology, retains organic and inorganic material, promotes hyporheic flow and acts as substrate for biofilm and invertebrates. However, little is known about instream wood functions in fire-prone biomes and...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Increasingly severe forest fires are recruiting more heavily burned wood into streams. Wood affects every ecological and physical process in streams differently throughout seasons. However, little is known about the seasonality of wood functions in fire-prone biomes and how it combines with wood burning level to guide future postfire restoration...
Article
• Glacial retreat, accompanied by shifts in riparian vegetation and glacier meltwater inputs, alters the energy supply and trophic structure of alpine stream food webs. Our goal in this study was to enhance understanding of dietary niches of macroinvertebrates inhabiting different alpine streams with contrasting glacial and non‐glacial (groundwater...
Article
Full-text available
Flow intermittency occurs naturally in alpine streams. However, changing rainfall patterns and glacier retreat are predicted to increase the occurrence of flow intermittency in alpine catchments, with largely unknown effects on ecosystem structure and function. We conducted a flow manipulation experiment within a headwater stream of Val Roseg, a gl...
Article
River reaches downstream of dams with constant residual discharge often lack sediment supply and periodic high flows due to dam sediment retention and flow regulation, respectively. To test a novel multi‐deposit methodology for defining environmental flows, activating dynamics of river morphology downstream of dams, a flood was released from Rossen...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Chapter 3 of the Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams: what water managers need to know. Technical report – Cost ACTION CA 15113
Article
Drawing insights from multiple disciplines is essential for finding integrative solutions that are required to tackle complex environmental problems. Human activities are causing unprecedented influence on global ecosystems, culminating in the loss of species and fundamental changes in the selective environments of organisms across the tree of life...
Conference Paper
Freshwater ecosystems across the world are facing the pressure of multiple stressors, undergoing alarming ecological degradation. The exploitation of hydropower potential of rivers has substantially altered natural flow and sediment regimes, considerably contributing to habitat degradation and biodiversity loss in fluvial networks .These alteration...
Article
• Characterising food‐web responses to environmental factors could greatly improve our understanding of environment‐biota relationships, and especially in floodplains where trophic interactions can be particularly important during phases of hydrological disconnection. The effects of floodplain hydrology and environmental attributes on structural as...
Article
Alpine streams can exhibit naturally high levels of flow intermittency. However, how flow intermittency in alpine streams affects ecosystem functions such as food web trophic structure is virtually unknown. Here, we characterized the trophic diversity of aquatic food webs in 28 headwater streams of the Val Roseg, a glacierized alpine catchment. We...
Article
More than one‐third of the world's rivers cease to flow and go dry on a periodic basis—so‐called intermittent rivers. The frequency and duration of flow intermittency in running waters are increasing due to climate change and water demands for human use. Intermittency effects on stream biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are dramatic and are exp...
Conference Paper
Experimental floods are operational measures designed to restore flow variability and mitigate dam impacts on rivers. Flow-sediment interactions during experimental floods represent strong ecosystem drivers, influencing nutrient dynamics, metabolic and functional properties. Thus, it is relevant to understand how different sediment inputs influence...
Poster
Full-text available
Flow intermittency occurs naturally in alpine catchments, but is expected to increase with climate change. Thus, characterizing ecological responses to increased flow intermittency is key in conservation and management of alpine fluvial ecosystems. We conducted a paired-stream experiment in Val Roseg, a glacierized alpine catchment, where we experi...
Article
Understanding how different food resources sustain stream food webs is fundamental towards increasing our knowledge on trophic structure and energy flow pathways in fluvial ecosystems. Food webs in small mountain streams are sustained by autochthonous (instream primary production) and allochthonous (inputs from the terrestrial ecosystem) organic re...
Thesis
Up to 90% of streams in alpine catchments cease to flow and dry at least once during the year, so-called intermittent streams. Ongoing climate change is increasing the frequency and duration of dry phases. Flow intermittency is a major disturbance for aquatic invertebrates and therefore an important driver of species composition in intermittent str...
Article
The geometry and hydrodynamics of river reaches are key ecohydraulic descriptors. Statistics of water depth and velocity measurements are usually taken as proxies for habitat suitability in rivers. However, little is known about the sufficiency of data to produce effective and representative results. In this research, 19 reaches with differences in...
Article
Full-text available
River reaches downstream dams where a constant residual flow discharge is imposed, often lack sediment supply and periodic inundation due to the absence of natural flood events. In this study, a two-year return flood was released from an upstream reservoir and combined with sediment replenishment to enhance instream habitat conditions downstream of...
Article
Full-text available
River ecosystems receive and process vast quantities of terrestrial organic carbon, the fate of which depends strongly on microbial activity. Variation in and controls of processing rates, however, are poorly characterized at the global scale. In response, we used a peer-sourced research network and a highly standardized carbon processing assay to...
Article
Full-text available
River ecosystems receive and process vast quantities of terrestrial organic carbon, the fate of which depends strongly on microbial activity. Variation in and controls of processing rates, however, are poorly characterized at the global scale. In response, we used a peer-sourced research network and a highly standardized carbon processing assay to...
Article
Full-text available
River ecosystems receive and process vast quantities of terrestrial organic carbon, the fate of which depends strongly on microbial activity. Variation in and controls of processing rates, however, are poorly characterized at the global scale. In response, we used a peer-sourced research network and a highly standardized carbon processing assay to...
Article
Full-text available
River ecosystems receive and process vast quantities of terrestrial organic carbon, the fate of which depends strongly on microbial activity. Variation in and controls of processing rates, however, are poorly characterized at the global scale. In response, we used a peer-sourced research network and a highly standardized carbon processing assay to...
Article
Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES) encompass fluvial ecosystems that eventually stop flowing and run dry at some point in space and time. During the dry phase, channels of IRES consist mainly of dry riverbeds (DRBs), prevalent yet widely unexplored ecotones between dry and wet phases that can strongly influence the biogeochemistry of...
Article
Environmental high flows are being implemented in many flow-regulated rivers globally. The questions arise as to whether different rivers respond similarly to artificial floods, and what are the long-term ecological consequences of such flood programs? This study evaluated abiotic/biotic dynamics during experimental floods in two rivers with contra...
Poster
Full-text available
Dams and their reservoirs are undoubtedly valuable to society because they are essential for hydropower production, they provide flood protection, supply water for consumption and irrigation, and are used as tourist attractions. On the other hand, by impounding upriver valleys, dams often have a negative impact on fluvial ecosystems. In Switzerland...
Conference Paper
Die Wasserkraft ist die wichtigste Säule der heutigen Schweizer Stromproduktion und deren Ausbau ist in den nächsten Jahrzehnten im Rahmen der Energiestrategie 2050 geplant. Deshalb ist ein auch nachhaltiger Betrieb der Wasserkraftwerke erforderlich. Geschiebebeigaben kombiniert mit künstlich ausgelösten Hochwasser gewinnen zunehmend an Interesse u...
Article
Floodplain areas belong to the most diverse, dynamic and complex ecological habitats of the terrestrial portion of the Earth. Spatial and temporal quantification of floodplain dynamics is needed for assessing the impacts of hydromorphological controls on river ecosystems. However, estimation of land cover dynamics in a post-classification setting i...
Poster
Full-text available
[GERMAN] In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Energieversorger Groupe e und des Kanton Fribourgs, wurde im September 2016 eine Reaktivierung der Auen mittels eines künstlichen Hochwassers und Geschiebeschüttungen in der Saane unterhalb der Staumauer Rossens getestet.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Hydropower is an important pillar of the electricity production in Switzerland and its extension is planned in the next decades. Therefore, a more sustainable management of hydropower plants is needed. Sediment replenishment combined with artificially-triggered flood pulses are gaining increasing interest to restore residual flow reaches. In the Sa...
Poster
Full-text available
Hydropower is an important pillar of the electricity production in Switzerland and its extension is planned in the next decades. Therefore, a more sustainable management of hydropower plants is needed. Sediment replenishment combined with artificially-triggered flood pulses are gaining increasing interest to restore residual flow reaches. In the Sa...
Article
In Alpine streams, humans have strongly modified the interactions between hydraulic processes, geomorphology and aquatic life through dams, flow abstraction at water intakes and river channel engineering. To mitigate these impacts, research has addressed both minimum flows and flow variability to sustain aquatic ecosystems. Whilst such environmenta...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the existing literature on river water temperature focuseds on river thermal sensitivity to long-term trends of climate variables, whereas how river water temperature responds to extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, still requires in-depth analysis. Research in this direction is particularly relevant in that heatwaves are expected to...
Article
The river Spöl flows from Livigno reservoir on the Swiss–Italian border in the central Alps. Flow regulation since 1970 has decreased and stabilized the mean annual discharge of 8.6 to 1.0 m3/s (winter: 0.55 m3/s, summer: 2.5 m3/s). Thirty experimental floods were released between 2000 and 2016 to improve the ecology of the river. A 100-m reach ~2....
Data
Supplemental Information - Ecological influence of sediment bypass tunnels on macroinvertebrates in dam-fragmented rivers by DNA metabarcoding
Article
Full-text available
Sediment bypass tunnels (SBTs) are guiding structures used to reduce sediment accumulation in reservoirs during high flows by transporting sediments to downstream reaches during operation. Previous studies monitoring the ecological effects of SBT operations on downstream reaches suggest a positive influence of SBTs on riverbed sediment conditions a...
Article
Full-text available
Construction of small hydropower plants (<10 megawatts) is booming worldwide, exacerbating ongoing habitat fragmentation and degradation, and further fueling biodiversity loss. A systematic approach for selecting hydropower sites within river networks may help to minimize the detrimental effects of small hydropower on biodiversity. In addition, a b...
Article
Full-text available
Rivers and floodplains used for hydropower are often severely affected by altered discharge and sediment regimes, thus influencing their morphology and ecology. In the Saane River below the Rossens dam, decades of residual flow management and reduction in sediment load reduced flow and sediment dynamics and thus led to ecological deficits, includin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Hydromorphological conditions are a key factor for the habitat diversity in riverine ecosystems. The Hydromorphological Index of Diversity (HMID) is a tool to quantify the habitat diversity in a river reach based on local flow depths and flow velocities. The work presented here analyzes the sensitivity of the HMID value towards input data. Since th...
Poster
Full-text available
Over half of Swiss electricity is produced by hydropower. Hydropower reservoirs cause severe hydropeaking flows to meet peak energy production to satisfy energy demands. Hydropeaking causes negative impacts on aquatic biota. Water diversion due to dams on the other hand often imposes residual flow regimes downstream. The absence of flood events and...
Article
Full-text available
Removal of lateral constraints to restore rivers has become increasingly common in river resource management, but little is known how the interaction of de-channelization with flow influences ecosystem structure and function. We evaluated the ecosystem effects of river widening to improve sediment relations in the Thur River, Switzerland, 12 years...
Article
Full-text available
Global change threatens invertebrate biodiversity and its central role in numerous ecosystem functions and services. Functional trait analyses have been advocated to uncover global mechanisms behind biodiversity responses to environmental change, but the application of this approach for invertebrates is underdeveloped relative to other organism gro...
Article
The species concept is the cornerstone of biodiversity science and any paradigm shift in the delimitation of species affects many research fields. Many biologists now are embracing a new ‘species’ paradigm as separately evolving populations using different delimitation criteria. Individual criteria can emerge during different periods of speciation;...
Article
Theory and experiments strongly support the importance of interactive effects of multiple factors shaping biodiversity, although their importance rarely has been investigated at biogeographically relevant scales. In particular, the importance of higher order interactions among environmental factors at such scales is largely unknown. We investigated...
Article
Nach erfolgreichem Abschluss der interdisziplinären Vorgängerprojekte «Rhone-Thur», «Integrales Flussgebietsmanagement » und «Geschiebeund Habitatsdynamik» wurde im Rahmen des durch das Bundesamt für Umwelt (BAFU) unterstützten Forschungsprogramms «Wasserbau und Ökologie» ein neues Projekt gestartet, welches sich auf die Sedimentdynamik und Vernetz...
Article
Alpine landscapes are changing rapidly due to environmental change, ultimately affecting the structure and function of running water ecosystems. This study examined the trophic structure, using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, of macroinvertebrate assemblages in 32 non-glacial headwaters in 4 glacierized alpine catchments in Switzerland in s...
Article
Full-text available
More than half of the global river network is composed of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES), which are expanding in response to climate change and increasing water demands. After years of obscurity, the science of IRES has bloomed recently and it is being recognised that IRES support a unique and high biodiversity, provide essential...
Poster
Full-text available
More than 15,000 km of the river network is categorized as strongly modified or artificial in Switzerland. In order to classify the natural state of a river, a solid method is needed. Commonly used methods, such as the Rapid Bio assessment Protocol (RBP) based on visual observations, are sensitive to the person doing the survey. The Hydromorpholog...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers cover ∼10% of the Earth's land surface, but they are shrinking rapidly across most parts of the world, leading to cascading impacts on downstream systems. Glaciers impart unique footprints on river flow at times when other water sources are low. Changes in river hydrology and morphology caused by climate-induced glacier loss are projected...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
River restoration has become a priority goal in many countries. The interest in rivers as valuable habitats for floral and faunal diversity and as an ecosystem with important functions has increased. For evaluating the structural changes from a river restoration project, quantitative methods are needed to support engineers and resource managers in...
Article
Floodplains are vital components of river ecosystems and play an important role in carbon cycling and storage at catchment and global scales. For efficient river management and conservation, it is critical to understand the functional role of spatiotemporally complex and dynamic habitat mosaics of river floodplains. Unfortunately, the fundamental u...
Article
Understanding ecological divergence of morphologically similar but genetically distinct species ̶ previously considered as a single morphospecies ̶ is of key importance in evolutionary ecology and conservation biology. Despite their morphological similarity, cryptic species may have evolved distinct adaptations. If such ecological divergence is una...