Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-98
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-98
08 Mar 2024
 | 08 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Reviews and Syntheses: Variable Inundation Across Earth’s Terrestrial Ecosystems

James Stegen, Amy Burgin, Michelle Busch, Joshua Fisher, Joshua Ladau, Jenna Abrahamson, Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Li Li, Xingyuan Chen, Thibault Datry, Nate McDowell, Corianne Tatariw, Anna Braswell, Jillian Deines, Julia Guimond, Peter Regier, Kenton Rod, Edward Bam, Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, Inke Forbrich, Kristin Jaeger, Teri O'Meara, Tim Scheibe, Erin Seybold, Jon Sweetman, Jianqiu Zheng, Daniel Allen, Elizabeth Herndon, Beth Middleton, Scott Painter, Kevin Roche, Julianne Scamardo, Ross Vander Vorste, Kristin Boye, Ellen Wohl, Margaret Zimmer, Kelly Hondula, Maggi Laan, Anna Marshall, and Kaizad Patel

Abstract. The structure, function, and dynamics of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems are profoundly influenced by the frequency and duration that they are inundated with water. A diverse array of natural and human engineered systems experience temporally variable inundation whereby they fluctuate between inundated and non-inundated states. Variable inundation spans from extreme flooding and droughts to predictable sub-daily cycles. Variably inundated ecosystems (VIEs) include hillslopes, non-perennial streams, wetlands, floodplains, temporary ponds, tidal systems, storm-impacted coastal zones, and human engineered systems. VIEs are diverse in terms of inundation regimes, water chemistry and flow velocity, soil and sediment properties, vegetation, and many other properties. The spatial and temporal scales of variable inundation are vast, ranging from sub-meter to whole landscapes and from sub-hourly to multi-decadal. The broad range of system types and scales makes it challenging to predict the hydrology, biogeochemistry, ecology, and physical evolution of VIEs. Despite all experiencing the loss and gain of an overlying water column, VIEs are rarely considered together in conceptual, theoretical, modeling, or measurement frameworks/approaches. Studying VIEs together has the potential to generate mechanistic understanding that is transferable across a much broader range of environmental conditions, relative to knowledge generated by studying any one VIE type. We postulate that enhanced transferability will be important for predicting VIE function under future, potentially non-analog, environmental conditions. Here we aim to catalyze cross-VIE science that studies drivers and impacts of variable inundation across Earth’s VIEs. To this end, we complement expert mini-reviews of eight major VIE systems with overviews of VIE-relevant methods and challenges associated with scale. We conclude with perspectives on how cross-VIE science can derive transferable understanding via a ‘continuum approach’ in which the impacts of variable inundation are studied across multi-dimensional environmental space.

James Stegen, Amy Burgin, Michelle Busch, Joshua Fisher, Joshua Ladau, Jenna Abrahamson, Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Li Li, Xingyuan Chen, Thibault Datry, Nate McDowell, Corianne Tatariw, Anna Braswell, Jillian Deines, Julia Guimond, Peter Regier, Kenton Rod, Edward Bam, Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, Inke Forbrich, Kristin Jaeger, Teri O'Meara, Tim Scheibe, Erin Seybold, Jon Sweetman, Jianqiu Zheng, Daniel Allen, Elizabeth Herndon, Beth Middleton, Scott Painter, Kevin Roche, Julianne Scamardo, Ross Vander Vorste, Kristin Boye, Ellen Wohl, Margaret Zimmer, Kelly Hondula, Maggi Laan, Anna Marshall, and Kaizad Patel

Status: open (until 11 May 2024)

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James Stegen, Amy Burgin, Michelle Busch, Joshua Fisher, Joshua Ladau, Jenna Abrahamson, Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Li Li, Xingyuan Chen, Thibault Datry, Nate McDowell, Corianne Tatariw, Anna Braswell, Jillian Deines, Julia Guimond, Peter Regier, Kenton Rod, Edward Bam, Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, Inke Forbrich, Kristin Jaeger, Teri O'Meara, Tim Scheibe, Erin Seybold, Jon Sweetman, Jianqiu Zheng, Daniel Allen, Elizabeth Herndon, Beth Middleton, Scott Painter, Kevin Roche, Julianne Scamardo, Ross Vander Vorste, Kristin Boye, Ellen Wohl, Margaret Zimmer, Kelly Hondula, Maggi Laan, Anna Marshall, and Kaizad Patel
James Stegen, Amy Burgin, Michelle Busch, Joshua Fisher, Joshua Ladau, Jenna Abrahamson, Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Li Li, Xingyuan Chen, Thibault Datry, Nate McDowell, Corianne Tatariw, Anna Braswell, Jillian Deines, Julia Guimond, Peter Regier, Kenton Rod, Edward Bam, Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, Inke Forbrich, Kristin Jaeger, Teri O'Meara, Tim Scheibe, Erin Seybold, Jon Sweetman, Jianqiu Zheng, Daniel Allen, Elizabeth Herndon, Beth Middleton, Scott Painter, Kevin Roche, Julianne Scamardo, Ross Vander Vorste, Kristin Boye, Ellen Wohl, Margaret Zimmer, Kelly Hondula, Maggi Laan, Anna Marshall, and Kaizad Patel

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Short summary
The loss and gain of surface water (variable inundation) is a common process across Earth. Global change shifts variable inundation dynamics, highlighting a need for unified understanding that transcends individual variably inundated ecosystems (VIEs). We review literature, highlight challenges, and emphasize opportunities to generate transferable knowledge by viewing VIEs through a common lens. We aim to inspire the emergence of a cross-VIE community based on a proposed continuum approach.