A modelling approach to quantify the influence of fine sediment deposition on biogeochemical processes occurring in the hyporheic zone

Navel, S.; Sauvage, S.; Delmotte, S.; Gerino, M.; Marmonier, P.; Mermillod-Blondin, F.
July 2012
Annales de Limnologie;Jul2012, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p279
Academic Journal
Excessive sedimentation of fine particles on stream beds has been recognized as a major threat to running-water ecosystems. Deposition of fine sediments often affects hyporheic zone (HZ) functioning by (1) reducing hydrological exchanges at the water-sediment interface and by (2) increasing the organic matter (OM) content of surface sediments. These two factors usually occur concurrently to control biogeochemical processes in sediments. In the present study, experimental and modelling approaches were coupled to evaluate the contribution of these factors on the biogeochemical functioning of the HZ. We used a one-dimensional (1D) vertical model taking into account the hydrodynamic properties, the vertical distribution of the OM and the main microbial processes involved in OM processing (aerobic respiration, denitrification, nitrification and sulphate reduction). This Mobile-Immobile Model for Organic Matter (MIM-OM) model was calibrated and validated using experimental data (conservative tracer, dissolved oxygen and nitrate concentrations) obtained in filtration columns filled with a porous sedimentary matrix. Simulations showed that organic carbon content and Darcy velocity acted in concert to shape biogeochemical processes in stream sediments. The use of the MIM-OM model on data obtained in filtration columns impacted by fine sediment deposition indicated that the biodegradability of the OM (modified through the degradation parameter kPOC) also played a key role on biogeochemical processes occurring in sediments. In conclusion, the MIM-OM model appears as an efficient simulation tool to evaluate biogeochemical functioning in river sediments under different conditions (granulometry, quality of surface water and clogging).


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