The Development of Hydraulic and Geomorphic Complexity in Recently Formed Streams in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

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Geomorphic and hydraulic complexity within five streams representing 200 years of stream development were examined in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Channel geomorphic units (CGUs) were mapped using a hierarchical approach, which defined stream habitat according to morphological and hydraulic characteristics. Detailed hydraulic assessment within the geomorphic units allowed differences in hydraulic characteristics across the 200-year chronosequence to be documented. Channel geomorphology and hydrology changed as stream age increased. Younger streams were dominated by fast flowing geomorphic units Such as rapids and riffles with little hydraulic or landscape diversity. As stream age increased, slower flowing habitat units such as glides and pools became more dominant, resulting in increased geomorphic, hydraulic and landscape diversity. These results suggest that geomorphic and hydraulic complexity develop over time, creating habitat features likely to be favoured by instream biota, enhancing biodiversity and abundance. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1338
Number of pages8
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • HydroSignature, stream age, hydraulic diversity, habitat heterogeneity, geomorphology