ARCHIVED CONTENT: In December 2020, the CZO program was succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net) ×

Ward, 2015


The evolution and state of interdisciplinary hyporheic research

Ward, A. (2015)
WIREs Water 2015  


Hyporheic zones are of broad interest, given their location at the interface between surface and groundwaters, numerous ecological functions, and location as a zone of interdependent physical, chemical, and biological processes. Hyporheic research has been successful in study of individual processes, but our understanding of coupled, interacting processes in hyporheic zones remains limited. Based on an analysis of publications and citations, interest in the hyporhec zone was catalyzed by ecological functions, and interest has become more balanced across disciplines and functions in recent years. Analysis of publications and field studies spanning 12 identified hyporheic processes demonstrates that studies commonly focus on 1–3 processes limiting our ability to characterize interaction or interdependence of hyporheic processes. Analysis of field studies demonstrate that the most frequently studies scales are second‐ and third‐order streams with longitudinal, lateral, and vertical scales of 10–1000+ m, 1–10, and 0–1 m, respectively. These studies commonly considered variations spanning timescales of storm events to seasons. I identified a total of 86 variables used to characterize hyporheic processes of which the most frequently reported 14 variables represent more than 50% of all variables found in this analysis. Thus, a relatively small suite of variables may hold key information to enable cross‐site comparison of findings. Future hyporheic research should address the challenges of (1) defining common metadata to support interdisciplinary research and cross‐site comparison and (2) quantifying spatial and temporal heterogeneity in hyporheic functions to enable multi‐scale assessment and prediction of hyporheic processes.


Ward, A. (2015): The evolution and state of interdisciplinary hyporheic research. WIREs Water 2015. DOI: doi: 10.1002/wat2.1120

This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.