Frontiers in real-time ecohydrology - a paradigm shift in understanding complex environmental systems

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Technological advances in environmental sensing have increased our awareness of the complexity of spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of ecohydrological processes and their interactions. Improving the basis of knowledge of dynamically interacting processes is crucial for advancing our understanding of how ecosystems function under the influence of, and their resilience to, environmental change. Capturing the often fast changing and nonlinear behaviour of ecosystems represents a challenge for current observational networks, particularly when studying system interfaces and coupled ecological, hydrological, geomorphological and biogeochemical processes, demanding novel, adaptive approaches in real-time monitoring and research. This paper discusses conceptual, technological and methodological challenges and resulting requirements for real-time ecohydrological research by reviewing current approaches of capturing nonlinear behaviour with high-frequency, high-resolution monitoring and develops strategies for transforming ecohydrological research by including real-time analysis of highly dynamic processes that are currently understudied. Examples of highly dynamic processes include rapid system changes, hot spots and hot moment behaviour.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-537
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • 10.1002/eco.1646 and real-time, dynamics, ecohydrology, high-frequency, high-resolution, non-linear, pulsing, sensor networks, spatial/ temporal variability