© 2003

Ecology of a Glacial Flood Plain

  • J. V. Ward
  • U. Uehlinger


  • Provides an important baseline foundation for examination of the extent and rapidity of impending changes


Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. U. Uehlinger, M. Maisch, C. Rothenbühler, R. Zah
    Pages 1-16
  3. R. Zah, M. Maisch, U. Uehlinger, C. Rothenbühler
    Pages 17-36
  4. K. Tockner, F. Malard
    Pages 57-73
  5. U. Uehlinger, F. Malard
    Pages 75-90
  6. K. Tockner, R. Illi, F. Malard, U. Uehlinger
    Pages 91-107
  7. C. Wellstein, U. Uehlinger, R. Zah
    Pages 109-121
  8. M. O. Gessner, C. T. Robinson
    Pages 123-137
  9. H. R. Bürgi, P. Burgherr, U. Uehlinger
    Pages 139-151
  10. P. Burgherr, B. Klein, C. T. Robinson, K. Tockner
    Pages 153-174
  11. F. Malard
    Pages 175-198
  12. U. Uehlinger, R. Zah
    Pages 199-215
  13. C. T. Robinson, M. O. Gessner
    Pages 217-230
  14. C. T. Robinson, U. Uehlinger, M. O. Gessner
    Pages 231-241
  15. K. Tockner, C. T. Robinson, P. Burgherr
    Pages 243-257
  16. C. T. Robinson, P. Burgherr, F. Malard, K. Tockner, U. Uehlinger
    Pages 259-271
  17. Back Matter
    Pages 273-306

About this book


This book is a monograph reporting the major findings from a comprehensive study of a glacial flood plain in the Swiss Alps, based on an intensive research program conducted year-round over several years. Until recently, very little was known regarding the ecology of glacial streams. Previous studies typically focused on one or a few aspects and were limited to the summer period. Moreover, this is the first ecological study of a glacial flood plain with a dynamic, multi-thread channel network. Year-round sampling of a system with a complex channel network spawned unanticipated results and new insights into the ecology of glacial streams. The book begins with the landscape features, glacial history, and floodplain evolution of the Val Roseg. This is followed by chapters on channel typology, groundwater-surfacewater interactions, thermal heterogeneity, and nutrient dynamics. Chapters on the biota deal with terrestrial and aquatic flora, hyphomycete fungi, surface zoobenthos, and the interstitial fauna. Functional processes are addressed in chapters on organic matter dynamics, litter decomposition, nutrient limitation, and drift and colonization patterns. The final chapter provides a synthesis of our current understanding of the ecology of Val Roseg. Weare indebted to many individuals and organizations for assistance and support of the research program on the Val Roseg and the production of this book.


Ecology Fauna Flora ecosystem ecosystems seasonal dynamics temporal dynamics vegetation

Editors and affiliations

  • J. V. Ward
    • 1
    • 2
  • U. Uehlinger
    • 3
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)DübendorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of LimnologySwiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)DübendorfSwitzerland

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


"Ecology of a Glacial Flood Plain is particularly useful to ecologists, limnologists, environmental activists, and anyone involved in management of dynamic freshwater resources."
Professor R.G. Wetzel, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, Series Editor "Aquatic Ecology

"Prof. Ward and Dr. Uehlinger present in this edited volume an extraordinarily comprehensive and well integrated study of a Swiss alpine stream and its floodplain; it is a model to follow for the study of streams."
William M. Lewis, Jr., Center for Limnology, University of Colorado, USA

"The authors, among the best experts in the field, treat the subject in a scholarly way: from glacial history to colonization dynamics, from the role of the terrestrial vegetation to channel stability and litter decomposition. The volume, subdivided into 16 chapters, discusses - among other topics - the role of interstitial fauna, of algae and hyphomycetes in organic matter dynamics. It provides not only updated information in great detail, but also a synthesis and perspectives. It is easy to predict that this book will become a standard in running water ecology and a must for ecologists interested in alpine environments and global change effects on pristine habitats."
Roland Psenner, Professor of Limnology, University of Innsbruck, Austria

"Unlike most of its predecessors the present volume is much more comprehensive in its scope and coverage, as befits the outcome of a multidisciplinary study based on an intensive research program. This volume provides a valuable record of a major investigation into the structure and functioning of a previously understudied type of river system. It is authoritatively written, outstandingly illustrated and attractively produced."
Mike Winterbourn, in Book Reviews of Freshwater Biology 49, 2004

"The findings of the huge and wel elaborated project set a new standard for flood plain and glacial research; this book is a milestone for relevant research"
Prof. Heinz Löffler, Universität Wien, Book Reviews, SIL News 45, May 2005