Riparian Ecosystem Functioning
Riparian Ecosystems are tied to the hydrologic regime and geomorphic processes of streams, and can influence stream functioning through floodplain and bank stabilization, sediment, organic matter and nutrient trapping, and the support of biota which create shade, structure and organic production.
A riparian continuum exists from the highest elevation streams in the alpine zone through conifer forest zones in the mountains, large floodplains in the lower montane, plains, and desert regions, to the ocean. Ecosystems can be dominated by herbaceous plants, shrubs, trees, and combinations of these life forms including exotic plants such as species of Tamarix and Russian Olive.
Our work analyzes the hydrologic processes that support the establishment and physiological functioning of riparian plants, sediments and landforms.