Ecosystem metabolism (photosynthesis and respiration) is a fundamental property of ecosystems. Measurements of whole-ecosystem metabolism integrate all habitats and organisms contributing to coupled O2 and CO2 dynamics; reflect landscape, upstream, and internal processes; and are increasingly being used as a metric to assess aquatic ecosystem health. We use metabolism estimates in many of our research projects to measure food web energy fluxes, quantify the role of metabolism in carbon and nutrient cycling, and monitor ecosystem responses to environmental change.
Hotchkiss, E.R. & T. DelSontro. 2024. Organic Carbon Cycling and Ecosystem Metabolism. Ch 28 in Wetzel's Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems, 4th ed. [PDF]
Battin, T.J., E. Bernhardt, E. Bertuzzo, L. Gómez Gener, R.O. Hall, E.R. Hotchkiss, R. Lauerwald, T. Maavara, T. Paveksly, L. Ran, P. Raymond, P. Regnier, & J. Rosentreter. 2023. River ecosystem metabolism and carbon biogeochemistry in a changing world. Nature 613: 449-459. [PDF]
See Publications for other examples of how our lab uses estimates of ecosystem metabolism to advance our understanding of freshwater ecology and biogeochemistry.
Also check out the StreamPULSE Project Website, where you can explore daily metabolism data from hundreds of streams/rivers and use the website interface to upload, clean, and run your data through a metabolism model. **As with any automated data cleaning and modeling interface, please check that the model structure and parameter choices are appropriate for your study sites and modeling needs! Always assess the convergence and quality of model estimates before including them in other analyses or publications.**