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The evolution and state of interdisciplinary hyporheic research

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Hyporheic zones are of broad interest, given their location at the interface between surface and groundwaters, numerous ecological functions, and location as a zone of interdependent physical, chemical, and biological processes. Hyporheic research has been successful in study of individual processes, but our understanding of coupled, interacting processes in hyporheic zones remains limited. Based on an analysis of publications and citations, interest in the hyporhec zone was catalyzed by ecological functions, and interest has become more balanced across disciplines and functions in recent years. Analysis of publications and field studies spanning 12 identified hyporheic processes demonstrates that studies commonly focus on 1–3 processes limiting our ability to characterize interaction or interdependence of hyporheic processes. Analysis of field studies demonstrate that the most frequently studies scales are second‐ and third‐order streams with longitudinal, lateral, and vertical scales of 10–1000+ m, 1–10, and 0–1 m, respectively. These studies commonly considered variations spanning timescales of storm events to seasons. I identified a total of 86 variables used to characterize hyporheic processes of which the most frequently reported 14 variables represent more than 50% of all variables found in this analysis. Thus, a relatively small suite of variables may hold key information to enable cross‐site comparison of findings. Future hyporheic research should address the challenges of (1) defining common metadata to support interdisciplinary research and cross‐site comparison and (2) quantifying spatial and temporal heterogeneity in hyporheic functions to enable multi‐scale assessment and prediction of hyporheic processes. WIREs Water 2016, 3:83–103. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1120 This article is categorized under: Science of Water > Methods
Summary of literature analysis results, organized by the processes being investigated in each study. Data are presented by analysis year (left bar representing 2008 and right bar representing 2015 in all groupings) and by individual processes (colors). Histograms show differences in (a) lateral scale, (b) stream order, (c) longitudinal scale, (d) temporal scale, (e) vertical scale, and (f) total number of variables reported. Distributions between 2008 and 2015 are not significantly different for any of the categories (a)–(f) based on a chi‐squared test.
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Distributions of the literature included in the 2008 and 2015 literature analyses (left and right grouped bars, respectively). (a) Publication year ranged from 1991 to 2007 for the 2008 analysis (median 2002) and from 1991 to 2014 for the 2015 analysis (median 2009). (b) The most‐investigated process in the literature analyses was exchange flux in 2008 and permanent hyporheic community in 2015. In both years, study of particulate transport and/or colmation was the least‐studied process.
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Annual publications (left column) and citations of those publications (right column) based on the processes studied. The top row represents total publications or citations, while the relative proportion each year is presented in the bottom row.
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Conceptualization of the hyporheic zone as a location of interacting physical, chemical, and biological systems, and the major mechanisms of interaction between the systems (after Ref. ).
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(a) frequency of reporting for each of the 86 variables considered in the literature analysis, with bars shaded based on the hyporheic process(es) reporting each variable. Both 2008 data and 2015 data are sorted by frequency of reporting in the 2008 analysis. (b) Spearman's rank correlation coefficients for 2008 and 2015 variable frequency for both overall frequency of reporting and reporting associated with individual processes. (c) Cumulative distribution of individual variables reported, sorted from most‐ to lead‐frequently reported in the 2008 literature analysis, compared to the total number of variable‐reports. More than 50% of variable reports are based on a suite of only 15 variables in 2008 and 14 variables in 2015; more than 75% are based on a suite of only 28 variables in 2008 and 27 variables in 2015.
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Summary of the jointly investigated vertical and lateral scales of study, mapping to the emerging paradigm of reporting both dimensions of hyporheic exchange. About 50% the total studies reporting both vertical and lateral scales were conducted in the shallow (<1 m), near‐stream (1–10 m) environment.
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