High-resolution time series of dissolved oxygen (DO) have revealed different ecosystem energetics regimes across various stream types. Ecosystem energetic regimes are relevant to better understand the transformation and retention of nutrients and carbon in stream ecosystems. However, the patterns and controls of stream energetics in high-mountain landscapes remain largely unknown. Here we monitored percent DO saturation (every 10 min) over 2 years in a glacier-fed, krenal (groundwater-fed) and a nival (snowmelt-fed) stream as they are typical for the high mountains. We used daily Shannon entropy to explore the temporal dynamics of stream water DO and to infer information on the ecosystem energetics and on the potential drivers. We found that discharge modulated the drivers of DO variations at daily and seasonal scales. Elevated bed movement along with high turbidity and very high gas exchange rates drove the daily DO patterns in the glacier-fed stream during snow and ice melt, whereas light seemed to drive DO dynamics in the krenal and nival streams. We found a window of favorable conditions for potential gross primary production (GPP) during the onset of the snowmelt in the glacier-fed stream, whereas potential GPP seemed to extend over longer periods in the krenal and nival streams. Our findings suggest how the energetic regimes of these high-mountain streams may change in the future as their biological and physical drivers change owing to climate warming. A copy can be obtained here.
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