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Water 2017, 9(9), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9090645

An Opinion on Spring Habitats within the Earth’s Critical Zone in Headwater Regions

Department of Geography, Philipps-Universität Marburg, 35037 Marburg, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 19 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract

Springs are crucial interfaces within the Earth’s Critical Zone, connecting water and its related matter and energy at different scales from the microscopic to the macroscopic level. This connectivity is of importance for habitat conditions and the invertebrate community in springs as ecotones at the groundwater–surface water and the aquatic–terrestrial interfaces in headwater regions. Here, an integrative approach regarding an appropriate theoretical framework is given as an opinion on coupling perspectives from Ecohydrology and Earth Science. A theoretical integration within the approaches of the concepts of Earth’s Critical Zone and Hydropedology with its hierarchical framework is considered for bridging multiple scales from the individual substrate type to the entire spring habitat and the headwater catchment. The paper is in every respect an opinion on theoretical approaches and provides a synthesis within a conceptual framework for spring habitats, which should give further insight into how to study such small water bodies in the context of its adjacent landscape settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecohydrology; hydropedology; hierarchical framework; ecotone; groundwater; interflow ecohydrology; hydropedology; hierarchical framework; ecotone; groundwater; interflow
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Reiss, M.; Chifflard, P. An Opinion on Spring Habitats within the Earth’s Critical Zone in Headwater Regions. Water 2017, 9, 645.

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