New RBC Publication: States and Rates in Flow-Ecology Relationships

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New RBC Publication: States and Rates in Flow-Ecology Relationships

A paper authored by RBC staff has been recently accepted into the scientific journal Freshwater Biology.  This literature review analyzes different approaches to generating flow-ecology relationships in modern stream ecology research.  The authors divide flow-ecology methods into three categories: states, repeated-states, and rates.  

In pure states approaches to sampling, ecological function is measured as a snapshot in time.  Many sites may be sampled but at a single time.  In repeated-states approaches, multiple measurements of an ecological response are made over time, but they are analyzed as states.  In rates approaches, ecological responses are measured and analyzed as changes over time.  This type of sampling requires long-term data collection.

By reviewing the literature, the researchers found that current research uses states (19%) and repeated-states (53%) approaches much more than rates (12%).  This is probably because rates approaches require long-term datasets, which require more sampling effort and more funding, which is not feasible for many projects.  However, the authors argue that rates approaches should be more commonly used because they allow the prediction of ecological responses to changing flow conditions over time and the demographic processes behind these changes.

This paper is authored by RBC staff members Kit Wheeler, Seth Wenger, and Mary Freeman.  It will appear in a future issue of Freshwater Biology but is currently available online as an Online Early article.  To view this publication, click here.