We present a conceptual approach for evaluating the biological and hydrological controls of nutrient removal in different sized rivers within an entire river network. We emphasize a per unit area biological parameter, the nutrient uptake velocity (νf), which is mathematically independent of river size in benthic dominated systems. Standardization of biological parameters from previous river network models to νf reveals the nature of river size dependant biological activity in these models. We explore how geomorphic, hydraulic, and biological factors control the distribution of nutrient removal in an idealized river network, finding that larger rivers within a basin potentially exert considerable influence over nutrient exports.

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Geophysical Research Letters


American Geophysical Union (AGU)

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©2006. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. This is an article published by AGU in Geophysical Research Letters in 2006, available online: