Urs Uehlinger's research while affiliated with ETH Zurich and other places

Publications (101)

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...
Chapter
The Rhine is a 1233 km-long pivotal river in Central Europe. Its catchment harbors about 60 million inhabitants in nine countries from the Alps to the North Sea. On most of its course, this heavily modified water body is managed in favor of industrial production, urbanization, and transport. The 1816 commission on navigability was the first Europea...
Article
Full-text available
Natural disturbances are agents of natural selection that drive multiple biological adaptations along evolutionary time. Frequent, high magnitude disturbances are expected to select for morphological and behavioral traits to resist or to avoid them. In contrast, predictable and seasonal disturbances are expected to select for synchronized life cycl...
Article
Relatively little is known regarding the extent of intermittent streams or the general ecology of headwaters in alpine catchments with glacial influence. This study quantified the contribution of intermittent streams to the total length of the stream network along with an ecological assessment during spring-summer of headwater streams (higher than...
Article
We examined for a glacial fingerprint on the ecology of two postglacial streams within the Swiss National Park over a 14 yr period (1999-2013). One stream (Aqua) emerges from a small rock glacier (0.2% of the catchment area), whereas the other stream (Fuorn) flows from a remnant ice field (0.02% of the catchment area). In general, abiotic and bioti...
Article
Quantifying spatial and temporal dynamics of organic matter (OM) is critical both for understanding ecosystem functioning and for predicting impacts of landscape change. To determine the influence of different habitats and coarse particulate OM (CPOM) types upon floodplain OM dynamics, we quantified aerial input, lateral surface transfer, and surfa...
Article
Full-text available
The natural flow regime of many rivers on the globe has been altered by regulation, strongly influencing river morphology and aquatic biota. The incorporation of regimebased criteria such as flow and temperature regimes in restoration plans is an important step in river management. This paper summarizes the effects of a long-term flood program (15...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the effect of vertical hydrological exchange on physicochemical variables, periphyton biomass (ecosystem properties), and sediment respiration (ecosystem process) at 2 spatial scales along a large gravel-bed river (Tagliamento River, northeastern Italy). At the regional scale, we investigated a 29-km-long, expanding and contracting, los...
Article
1. We investigated photosynthesis±irradiance relationships (P±I curves; P = oxygen production rate due to photosynthesis, I = light irradiance rate at the water surface) and ecosystem respiration in a 9 km long reach of a river that is characterised by light conditions favouring primary production, high ambient nutrient concentrations, a high re-ae...
Article
1. In their natural state, river floodplains are composed of a complex mosaic of contrasting aquatic and terrestrial habitats. These habitats are expected to differ widely in their properties and corresponding ecological processes, although empirical data on their capacity to produce, store and transform organic matter and nutrients are limited. 2....
Article
Full-text available
The physico-chemical habitat template of glacial streams in the Alps is characterized by distinct and predictable changes between harsh and relatively benign periods. Spring and autumn were thought to be windows of favorable environmental conditions conducive for periphyton development. Periphyton biomass (measured as chlorophyll a and ash-free dry...
Article
River floodplains are composed of a shifting mosaic of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Each habitat type exhibits distinct environmental and ecological properties. Temperature is a key property driving ecological processes and controlling the composition and distribution of biota. However, given the size and complexity of floodplains, ground surv...
Article
Full-text available
Nine countries are in part or entirely situated within the Rhine catchment, namely Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy (only 51 km²), Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, The Netherlands and Switzerland. With a total length of about 1250 km, a drainage area of 185 260 km² and an average discharge of about 2300 m³/s, the Rhine ranks 9th among Eurasian riv...
Chapter
Publisher Summary Rivers recognize no political boundaries. This is particularly true for Europe, which has over 150 transboundary rivers. For example, the Danube is the 29th longest river globally and it drains parts of 19 countries and 10 ecoregions. Further, 8 of the 10 largest catchments in Europe are in the eastern plains of Russia and the Ukr...
Article
Full-text available
Rivers are heterogeneous at various scales. River metabolism estimators based on oxygen time series provide average estimates of net oxygen production at the scale of a river reach. These estimators are derived for homogeneous river reaches. For this reason, they cannot be used to analyze how exactly they average over longitudinal variations in net...
Book
Cette monographie du Bassin hydrographique Adour-Garonne comprend une introduction sur le contexte géographique, hydrographique et sociétal du bassin in cluant de courtes signalétiques des grosses villes et de leur relation à l'hydrosystème. Le 1er chapitre décrit les principales caractéristiques des cours d'eau du bassin (longueur, aire et caracté...
Book
Based on the bestselling book, Rivers of North America, this new guide stands as 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 numerous full-color photographs and maps, this book includes conservation information on...
Book
This new guide stands as 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 numerous full-color photographs and maps, this book includes conservation information on current patterns of river use and the extent to which hu...
Chapter
Full-text available
The physico-chemical habitat template of glacial streams in the Alps is characterized by distinct and predictable changes between harsh and relatively benign periods. Spring and autumn were thought to be windows of favorable environmental conditions conducive for periphyton development. Periphyton biomass (measured as chlorophyll a and ash-free dry...
Article
Summary1. Most of the existing river ecosystem models describe only part of the ecosystem, have site-specific features, and lack an adequate treatment of uncertainty.2. We developed a dynamic model of the functional groups of non-filamentous and filamentous algae, scrapers, collector-gatherers and predators of the benthos community in rivers. This...
Article
Full-text available
The natural flow regime of many rivers on the globe has been altered by regulation, strongly influencing river morphology and aquatic biota. The incorporation of regimebased criteria such as flow and temperature regimes in restoration plans is an important step in river management. This paper summarizes the effects of a long-term flood program (15...
Article
Full-text available
Resource availability is an important ecosystem attribute that can influence species distributions and ecosystem processes. We manipulated the quantity of leaf litter, a critical resource in streams, in a replicated field experiment to test whether: 1) greater litter quantity promotes microbial leaf decomposition (through greater microbial inoculum...
Article
Summary1. Global warming has increased the mean surface temperature of the Earth by 0.6 °C in the past century, and temperature is probably to increase by an additional 3 °C by 2100. Water temperature has also increased, which in turn can affect metabolic rate in rivers. Such an increase in metabolic rate could alter the role of river networks in t...
Article
Reservoirs have altered the flow regime of most rivers on the globe. To simulate the natural flow regime, experimental floods are being implemented on regulated rivers throughout the world to improve their ecological integrity. As a large-scale disturbance, the long-term sequential use of floods provides an excellent empirical approach to examine e...
Article
A travers l'histoire ou l'actuel renouvellement des grands barrages, on distingue les changements actuels profonds dans la pensée aménagiste. Les impacts sociaux et environnementaux ont vu leurs approches se renouveler considérablement : c'est ce qu'illustre ce numéro thématique, comportant cinq articles, et autant de disciplines. L'histoire, l'ant...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the short-term colonization of habitat patches by larval macroinvertebrates in 6 different types of alpine streams, including permanent kryal (glacier-melt), rhithral (rain and snow-melt), and krenal (groundwater) streams, kryal and rhithral lake outlets, and temporary rhithral streams. Abundant macroinvertebrates found in the different...
Article
Riverine floodplains are pulsing ecosystems that expand and contract with changing flow. In this study we quantified large-scale expansion and contraction dynamics of surface waters along a 41·5 km braided section of the last remaining semi-natural large Alpine gravel-bed river (Tagliamento River; NE Italy). To assess surface–subsurface exchange pa...
Article
River ecosystems are increasingly viewed as dynamic riverscapes; their extent, composition, and configuration vary in response to the pulsing of discharge. Although compositional and configurational shifts in riverscapes are thought to control ecosystem processes and biodiversity, attempts to quantify riverscape dynamics of braided rivers are scarc...
Article
1. Temporal variation in ecosystem metabolism over a 15-year period (1986–2000) was evaluated in a seventh order channelised gravel bed river (mean annual discharge 48.7 m3 s−1) of the Swiss Plateau. The river is subject to frequent disturbance by bed-moving spates. Daily integrals of gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) we...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental heterogeneity is a key regulator of ecological processes. River- ine floodplains are particularly heterogeneous and dynamic systems and loss of their natural environmental heterogeneity and dynamism as a consequence of human impacts constitutes their most serious threat. On river floodplains, flow and flood pulses create a shifting mo...
Article
Full-text available
1. Benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages were compared among a diverse array of first-order alpine tundra streams of the Swiss Alps. 2. A principal components analysis separated sites into three main groups: rhithral streams, rhithral lake outlets, and kryal sites including outlets and streams. Rhithral streams contained the most diverse and taxon...
Article
Periphyton metabolism was studied at five sites along a 70km unshaded stretch of the Truckee River below the City of Reno, Nevada (USA). Sites differed with respect to concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus and total dissolved inorganic nitrogen because a water pollution control facility discharged its treated wastewater through a small trib...
Article
In floodplains, flow, temperature, and resource pulses interact in complex ways and maintain biodiversity and biological productivity in these systems. We investigated the driving force of multiple pulses (i.e. flow, temperature, resource) on ecosystem processes in semi-natural floodplains in Central Europe (Val Roseg, Tagliamento, Danube). We used...
Article
We compared functional attributes of streams draining catchments burned by wildfire 20 years previously to those of streams in unburned catchments. Long-term analyses of channel profiles indicated most channel change occurred within the first 10 years after fire with little subsequent change the following 10 years. Much of the standing dead timber...
Article
Hydropower is usually considered a relatively "green" energy; it is renewable and does not cause emissions of carbon dioxide or other pollutants. However, outflows of dams often cannot be considered ecologically sound rivers; they are not polluted but altered in their physical regime, mainly through changes in the temporal dynamics of flow and temp...
Article
The effects of multiple experimental floods in the same year on the ecology of a river (River Spöl) below a large reservoir were investigated. In the flood year (2000), three floods of different magnitude (10 m3/s on 15 June, 25 m3/s on 5 July, and 10 m3/s on 10 August) were implemented, each lasting 7–8 h. Regulated baseflow discharge was maintain...
Article
1. Single-station diel oxygen curves were used to monitor the oxygen metabolism of an intermittent, forested third-order stream (Fuirosos) in the Mediterranean area, over a period of 22 months. Ecosystem respiration (ER) and gross primary production (GPP) were estimated and related to organic matter inputs and photosynthetically active radiation (P...
Article
There is growing recognition by resource managers on the importance of the natural flow regime in maintaining river integrity downstream of large dams. Historically, ar- tificial floods from reservoirs were regarded simply as flushing flows for removing fine sediments in down- stream receiving waters or for reservoir maintenance (Reiser et al., 198...
Article
We examined the longitudinal effects of 3 experimental floods on seston, periphyton, and macroinvertebrates in a regulated river downstream from a large reservoir in the Swiss Alps. In addition, suspended organic sediments, in conjunction with conductivity and turbidity, were measured during each flood. Three study reaches were selected downstream...
Article
We examined the response of stream macroinvertebrates to a multiple-year experimental flood regime downstream of a large reservoir. Benthic samples were collected from the River Spl prior to the initial flood (1999) and at periodic intervals before and after eight floods from 2000 through 2002. Three artificial floods occurred each in 2000 and 2001...
Article
We investigated the effects of an experimental flood regime on periphyton and stream metabolism downstream of a large reservoir. Three floods took place in summer of 2000 and 2001 and two floods in summer of 2002. Residual flow in the River Spl was <2.5 m3s–1. The experimental floods lasted 9 to 11 hours with peak flows ranging from 12 to 55 m3s–1....
Article
Full-text available
1. We examined the seasonal and diel patterns of invertebrate drift in relation to seston and various habitat characteristics in two each of four different kinds of alpine streams [rhithral (snow-fed) lake outlets, rhithral streams, kryal (glacial-fed) lake outlets and kryal streams]. Samples were collected at four times of the day (dawn, midday, d...
Article
SUMMARY 1. We examined the thermal patterns of the surface waters in the catchment of the Roseg River, which is fed by the meltwaters of two valley glaciers. One of the glaciers has a lake at its terminus. The river corridor comprised a proglacial stream reach below one glacier, the glacier lake outlet stream, a 2.5-km long complex floodplain and a...
Chapter
The findings presented in this book represent a holistic perspective on the structure and function of a high elevation glacial flood plain in the Swiss Alps, encompassing landscape features and their history, physical and chemical characteristics of surface waters and ground waters, aquatic and terrestrial flora, benthic and hyporheic biota, and me...
Chapter
The ecology of alpine streams, in particular glacier-fed systems, has attracted major attention in the past few years (e. g., Brittain & Milner, 2001; Castella et al., 2001; Milner et al., 2001; Milner & Petts, 1994; Robinson et al., 2001; Ward, 1994). There exists, however, surprisingly little information on algal communities in alpine and glacial...
Chapter
The Roseg valley was shaped by glaciers and glacial activity is still the dominant force altering floodplain habitats. Today, more than 40% of the catchment of the Roseg flood plain is glacierized. Glacial influence on floodplain dynamics is expected to increase in the future in response to climate change.
Chapter
Temperature is a primary factor structuring biotic communities and regulating ecosystem functions in streams and rivers. Temperature affects surface-subsurface interactions, the solubility of gases, chemical and biochemical reactions, ecosystem processes, and the structure of invertebrate communities (Constanz & Murphy, 1991; Vannote et al., 1980;...
Chapter
Organic matter, which includes detritus and plant biomass, is the dominant energy base of lotic ecosystems. The pool of organic matter is fueled by autochthonous primary production in the wetted channel and allochthonous inputs of organic detritus produced on the flood plains and uplands. The relative importance of autochthonous versus allochthonou...
Chapter
Nutrients are pivotal in the structure and function of river ecosystems. As essential resources they control primary production and decomposition processes, and influence metabolic pathways in the riparian, parafluvial and hyporheic zones (e. g. Duff & Triska, 2000; Wetzel, 2001). Surprisingly few year-round studies, however, have quantified concen...
Chapter
The Alps, covering an area of 240,000 km2, extend from southwest to northeast with a length of about 1,000 km and a width between 130 and 250 km. The highest peak is Mont Blanc at 4807 m a. s. l. Mountains exceeding 3000 m in altitude usually have snow and ice covered summits; the glacierized area totals about 2900 km2 (Haeberli et al., 1989). The...
Chapter
Primary production (algal growth) fuels the energy base of most streams in the Roseg flood plain, especially those streams having a glacial influence (see Chapter 12). Some side-slope tributaries do have substantial inputs of terrestrially derived organic matter, but these represent a small percentage of the total channel area in the flood plain (Z...
Chapter
Ecological studies of glacier forelands1 in the Alps already began at the end of the 19th century (Coaz, 1887). Primary succession has been studied using the method of space-for-time substitution (Matthews, 1992). Investigations of the foreland vegetation in the Bernina massif included several studies (Burga, 1999; Flütsch, 1930; Lüdi, 1958; Richte...
Book
This book is a monograph reporting the major findings from a comprehensive study of a glacial flood plain in the Swiss Alps, based on an intensive research program conducted year-round over several years. Until recently, very little was known regarding the ecology of glacial streams. Previous studies typically focused on one or a few aspects and we...
Article
In autumn 1998 stream metabolism was measured in the Hassayampa River, Arizona, a Sonoran Desert stream, using single-station diel oxygen curves and an oxygen mass balance model. Oxygen consumption rates of parafluvial and channel sediments were determined with respiration chambers. Bedload of channel sediments (sand) prevented significant primary...
Article
We investigated the intra-annual chemical and physical properties of 16 lotic systems situated in the Swiss Alps that comprised alpine lake outlets and streams of kryal and rhithral origin. A primary goal of the study was to examine whether alpine lake outlets are less harsh lotic habitats than alpine non-outlet streams, as expected from studies of...
Article
Full-text available
1. Changes in water chemistry, benthic organic matter (BOM), and macroinvertebrates were examined in four different glacial streams over an annual cycle. The streams experienced strong seasonal changes in water chemistry that reflected temporal changes in the influence from the source glacier, especially in water turbidity, particulate phosphorus a...
Article
Nutrient and organic matter dynamics were evaluated for a glacial river-floodplain system in the Swiss Alps (Val Roseg). Glacial melt water was the primary source of particulate organic and inorganic matter; hillslope groundwater was richest in DOC and SiO2; and pulses in dissolved nitrogen were identified during spring snowmelt. Calculations of te...
Article
1. In unshaded, nutrient-rich streams, prolific growth of stream macrophytes often results in flows that over-top the banks and in high primary production and respiration that may result in extreme diel variations in dissolved oxygen. Consequently, water protection authorities commonly remove macrophytes periodically. 2. We investigated the effect...
Article
1. Food sources and trophic structure of the macroinvertebrate community along a longitudinal gradient were examined in a glacier stream of the Swiss Alps (Val Roseg). Analysis of multiple stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) and measurement of C : N ratios were used to differentiate between allochthonous and autochthonous organic matter. 2. Although is...
Article
1. Traps for litterfall and for lateral transport of organic matter were sampled over a 1-year period along longitudinal and lateral transects in a glacial stream system (Val Roseg, Swiss Alps), which is characterized by single-thread reaches and a large subalpine floodplain.2. Allochthonous inputs to the glacier stream were low close to the glacie...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated major physical-chemical characteristics and benthic algae of different alpine lotic systems comprising streams and lake outlets of rhithral and kryal origin over an annual cycle. We also evaluated the structure of the algal communities and its relation to environmental characteristics for the different stream types. Algal communitie...
Article
The incorrect version of this article was published previously. Please find the correct version, which retains the original pagination, on the next page.The publisher wishes to apologise for this mistakeRunning water ecology is a young science, the conceptual foundations of which were derived largely from research conducted in Europe and North Amer...
Article
Full-text available
The fluvial system in the upper Val Roseg in the Swiss Alps is characterized by a complex glacial floodplain. To analyze the changes in floodplain morphology between 1947 and 1999, a period during which the two main glaciers lost 700 to 1600 m in length, ten sets of aerial images were rectified and channel network and active floodplain area were di...
Article
We investigated major physical-chemical characteristics and benthic algae of different alpine lotic systems comprising streams and lake outlets of rhithral and kryal origin over an annual cycle. We also evaluated the structure of the algal communities and its relation to environmental characteristics for the different stream types. Algal communitie...
Article
An Erratum has been published for this article in Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 17 (6) 2001, 311–323. Running water ecology is a young science, the conceptual foundations of which were derived largely from research conducted in Europe and North America. However, virtually all European river corridors were substantially regulated well be...
Conference Paper
Running water ecology is a young science, the conceptual foundations of which were derived largely from research conducted in Europe and North America. However, virtually all European river corridors were substantially regulated well before the science of river ecology developed. While regulation of North American river systems occurred later than...
Article
We examined the thermal regime of surface and hyporheic waters at three kryal sites and four krenal streams within the channel network of a glacial floodplain. Temperature was continuously measured for 1 year in the surface stream and at sediment depths of 30 and 80 cm. The vertical pattern of water temperature was strongly influenced by the direct...
Article
Full-text available
Periphyton growth limitation experiments were conducted in five glacier streams during the main ice melt period in late summer using nutrient diffusing substrata (NDS) that contained nitrate and/or phosphate. Periphyton net growth was determined as chlorophyll a accrual after an exposure time of 4 weeks. In addition, primary water chemistry and phy...