Is the hyporheic zone relevant beyond the scientific community?

authored by
Jörg Lewandowski, Shai Arnon, Eddie Banks, Okke Batelaan, Andrea Betterle, Tabea Broecker, Claudia Coll, Jennifer D. Drummond, Jaime Gaona Garcia, Jason Galloway, Jesus Gomez-Velez, Robert C. Grabowski, Skuyler P. Herzog, Reinhard Hinkelmann, Anja Höhne, Juliane Hollender, Marcus Andreas Horn, A. Jaeger, Stefan Krause, Adrian Löchner Prats, Chiara Magliozzi, Karin Meinikmann, Brain Babak Mojarrad, Birgit Maria Mueller, Ignacio Peralta-Maraver, Andrea L. Popp, Malte Posselt, Anke Putschew, Michael Radke, Muhammad Raza, Joakim Riml, Anne Robertson, Cyrus Rutere, Jonas L. Schaper, Mario Schirmer, Hanna Schulz, Margaret Shanafield, Tanu Singh, Adam S. Ward, Philipp Wolke, Anders Wörman, Liwen Wu

Rivers are important ecosystems under continuous anthropogenic stresses. The hyporheic zone is a ubiquitous, reactive interface between the main channel and its surrounding sediments along the river network. We elaborate on the main physical, biological, and biogeochemical drivers and processes within the hyporheic zone that have been studied by multiple scientific disciplines for almost half a century. These previous efforts have shown that the hyporheic zone is a modulator for most metabolic stream processes and serves as a refuge and habitat for a diverse range of aquatic organisms. It also exerts a major control on river water quality by increasing the contact time with reactive environments, which in turn results in retention and transformation of nutrients, trace organic compounds, fine suspended particles, and microplastics, among others. The paper showcases the critical importance of hyporheic zones, both from a scientific and an applied perspective, and their role in ecosystem services to answer the question of the manuscript title. It identifies major research gaps in our understanding of hyporheic processes. In conclusion, we highlight the potential of hyporheic restoration to efficiently manage and reactivate ecosystem functions and services in river corridors.

Institute of Microbiology
External Organisation(s)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Flinders University
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)
Technische Universität Berlin
Stockholm University
University of Birmingham
Freie Universität Berlin
University of Trento
Vanderbilt University
Indiana University Bloomington
Cranfield University
University of Western Australia
University of Bayreuth
Julius Kühn Institute - Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (JKI)
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Roehampton University
ETH Zurich
Institute of Hygiene and Environment
IWW Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wasserforschung gemeinnützige GmbH
Water (Switzerland)
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Biochemistry, Geography, Planning and Development, Aquatic Science, Water Science and Technology
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)