Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

IF value: 5.153
IF5.153
IF 5-year value: 5.460
IF 5-year
5.460
CiteScore value: 7.8
CiteScore
7.8
SNIP value: 1.623
SNIP1.623
IPP value: 4.91
IPP4.91
SJR value: 2.092
SJR2.092
Scimago H <br class='widget-line-break'>index value: 123
Scimago H
index
123
h5-index value: 65
h5-index65
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-490
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-490
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Oct 2020

07 Oct 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Environmental DNA simultaneously informs hydrological and biodiversity characterization of an Alpine catchment

Elvira Mächler1,2, Anham Salyani3, Jean-Claude Walser4, Annegret Larsen3,5, Bettina Schaefli3,6,7, Florian Altermatt1,2, and Natalie Ceperley3,6,7 Elvira Mächler et al.
  • 1Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Department of Aquatic Ecology, Überlandstrasse 133, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 4Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Genetic Diversity Centre, CHN E 55 Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 5Soil Geography and Landscape Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 6Geography Institute, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 7Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Alpine streams are particularly valuable for downstream water resources and of high ecological relevance, however a detailed understanding of water storage and release in such heterogeneous environments is still often lacking. Observations of naturally occurring tracers, such as stable isotopes of water or electrical conductivity, are frequently used to track and explain hydrological patterns and processes. Importantly, some of these hydrological processes also create microhabitat variations in Alpine aquatic systems, each inhabited by characteristic organismal communities. The inclusion of such ecological diversity in a hydrologic assessment of an Alpine system may improve our understanding of hydrologic flows while also delivering biological information. Recently, the application of environmental DNA (eDNA) to assess biological diversity in water and connected habitats has gained popularity in the field of aquatic ecology. A few of these studies have started to link aquatic diversity with hydrologic processes, but hitherto never in an Alpine system. Here, we collected water from an Alpine catchment in Switzerland and compared the genetic information of eukaryotic organisms conveyed by eDNA with the hydrologic information conveyed by naturally-occurring, hydrologic tracers. Between March and September 2017, we sampled water at multiple time points at 10 sites distributed over the 13.4 km2 Vallon de Nant catchment (Switzerland). The sites corresponded to three different water types and habitats, namely low flow or ephemeral tributaries, groundwater fed springs, and the main channel receiving water from both previous mentioned water types.

Accompanying observations of typical physico-chemical hydrologic characteristics with eDNA revealed that in the main channel and in the tributaries the biological richness increases according to change in streamflow, dq/dt. Whereas, in contrast, the richness in springs increased in correlation with electrical conductivity. At the catchment scale, our results suggest that transport of additional, and probably terrestrial, DNA into water storage or flow compartments occurs with increasing streamflow. Such processes include overbank flow, stream network expansion, and hyporheic exchange. In general, our results highlight the importance of considering the at-site sampling habitat in combination with upstream connected habitats to understand how streams integrate eDNA over a catchment and to interpret spatially distributed eDNA samples, both for hydrologic and biodiversity assessments. At the intersection of two disciplines, our study provides complementary knowledge gains and identifies the next steps to be addressed for using eDNA to achieve complementary insights into Alpine water sources. Finally, we provide recommendations for future observation of eDNA in Alpine stream ecosystems.

Elvira Mächler et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: open (until 02 Dec 2020)
Status: open (until 02 Dec 2020)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
[Subscribe to comment alert] Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Elvira Mächler et al.

Elvira Mächler et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 264 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
221 40 3 264 14 3 3
  • HTML: 221
  • PDF: 40
  • XML: 3
  • Total: 264
  • Supplement: 14
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 07 Oct 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 07 Oct 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 250 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 250 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 

Cited

Saved

No saved metrics found.

Discussed

No discussed metrics found.
Latest update: 26 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
We collected water from an Alpine catchment in Switzerland and compared the genetic information of eukaryotic organisms conveyed by eDNA with the hydrologic information conveyed by naturally-occurring, hydrologic tracers. At the intersection of two disciplines, our study provides complementary knowledge gains and identifies the next steps to be addressed for using eDNA to achieve complementary insights into Alpine water sources.
We collected water from an Alpine catchment in Switzerland and compared the genetic information...
Citation