OU biologist developing network of researchers and data from intermittent rivers

Credit: University of Oklahoma

A University of Oklahoma professor, Daniel Allen, is developing an intermittent river research coordination network of ecologists and hydrologists to better understand the half of the Earth's rivers that dry or stop flowing each year. Allen and other participants will compile existing ecological and hydrological data from across the nation for the network with a four-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

"The hydrology and ecology of intermittent rivers is very different from rivers that always flow. Even the plants and animals that live in and around intermittent rivers are different," said Allen, professor of biology in the OU College of Arts and Sciences. "We are developing a research network to improve communication and networking among researchers and stakeholders and provide them with large ecological and hydrological datasets to be able to study and manage these rivers more effectively."

A series of workgroups will synthesize existing data on U.S. intermittent rivers to explain how the ecology and hydrology of these systems work. Three workgroups will be formed to focus on intermittent river hydrology, ecology and ecohydrology.

The hydrology workgroup will generate new tools to characterize intermittent flow regimes and develop a framework for predicting patterns of streamflow. The ecology workgroup will gather and synthesize large-scale biodiversity and ecosystem datasets to understand the structure and function of intermittent river ecosystems. The ecohydrology workgroup will integrate products from the ecology and hydrology workgroups to identify hydrological controls on intermittent ecosystems.

Stakeholders who will benefit from the intermittent river research coordination network include academic researchers and nonacademic users from government agencies and non-government organizations. Network data will be available through a web portal and deposited in the Dryad Digital Repository and will broadly impact the global scientific community.


For more information about this project, please contact Professor Allen at [email protected] or visit his website at http://www.allenlab.org.

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