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      Are surface water characteristics efficient to locate hyporheic biodiversity hotspots?

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          Location of river-groundwater exchange zones and biodiversity hotspot is essential for a river management plan, especially for Mediterranean karstic rivers. This location is often difficult and time-consuming when long river sectors are considered. We studied a 13 km-long sector of the Cèze River (Southern France) located in a karstic canyon. We compared five indicators of river-groundwater exchanges: longitudinal profiles of temperature, electrical conductivity and 222Rn concentrations in the surface water of the river, chemical characteristics of the hyporheic water and hyporheic biodiversity. Upwelling zones occurred downstream of geomorphological heterogeneities (here at the tail of gravel bars). Surface water chemistry, especially electrical conductivity and 222Rn concentrations, clearly traces large scale gaining sections, which were not associated to valley narrowing but with lateral springs, suggesting a crucial role of the geological structuration of the karstic plateau of Méjanne-le-Clap. Hyporheic water chemistry fits with the large-scale hydrological pattern, but with a high variability corresponding to local heterogeneities. The stygobite fauna (obligate groundwater organisms) and benthic EPTC (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Coleoptera) occurred preferentially in the gaining sections fed by groundwater, likely because of oligotrophic water and cooler temperature. The spatial distribution of river-groundwater exchange zone and hyporheic biodiversity may be thus predicted using changes in surface water chemistry, especially for electrical conductivity and 222Rn concentrations.

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          Author and article information

          Sci Total Environ
          The Science of the total environment
          Elsevier BV
          Oct 10 2020
          : 738
          [1 ] Univ. Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, ENTPE, UMR 5023 LEHNA, 43 boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne, France. Electronic address: pierre.marmonier@univ-lyon1.fr.
          [2 ] Univ. Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, ENTPE, UMR 5023 LEHNA, 43 boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne, France.
          [3 ] Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, INRA, Coll France, CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France; Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PSE-SRTE-LRTA, CADARACHE, France.
          [4 ] Université d'Avignon - EMMAH, UFR-ip Sciences, Technologies, Santé - Campus Jean-Henri Fabre, 301 rue Baruch de Spinoza, BP 21239, 84916 AVIGNON Cedex 9, France.
          [5 ] École Nationale des Mines de Saint-Étienne, UMR-CNRS 5600 EVS, 158 cours Fauriel, 42023 Saint-Étienne, France.
          [6 ] IMT Mines Alès, Université de Montpellier, 6 avenue de Clavières, 30319 Alès, France.
          [7 ] Agence de l'Eau Rhône Méditerranée et Corse, 2 allée de Lodz, 69007 Lyon, France.
          Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

          Macro-invertebrates,Stygobite,Karstic aquifer,Groundwater,(222)Rn


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