Interregional comparisons of sediment microbial respiration in streams

Brian H Hill, R. K. Hall, P. Husby, A. T. Herlihy, M. Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


1. The rate of microbial respiration on fine-grained stream sediments was measured at 371 first to fourth-order streams in the Central Appalachian region (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia), Southern Rocky Mountains (Colorado), and California's Central Valley in 1994 and 1995. 2. Study streams were randomly selected from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) River Reach File (RF3) using the sample design developed by USEPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). 3. Respiration rate ranged from 0 to 0.621 g O2 g-1 AFDM h-1 in Central Appalachian streams, 0-0.254 g O2 g-1 AFDM h-1 in Rocky Mountain streams, and 0-0.436 g O2 g-1 AFDM h-1 in Central Valley streams. 4. Respiration was significantly lower in Southern Rocky Mountain streams and in cold water streams (< 15 °C) of the Central Appalachians. 5. Within a defined index period, respiration was not significantly different between years, and was significantly correlated with stream temperature and chemistry (DOC, total N, total P, K, Cl, and alkalinity). 6. The uniformity of respiration estimates among the three study regions suggests that sediment microbial respiration may be collected at any number of scales above the site-level for reliable prediction of respiration patterns at larger spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000


  • EMAP
  • Microbial respiration
  • Probability-based sampling
  • Regional scale
  • Streams

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