Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES, these rivers and streams which stop flowing or dry up at some point in time and space) are prevalent in all climates and dominate river networks in many regions.
After years of near-obscurity, IRES research is now blooming, driven by increasing water scarcity issues and the ongoing pressures of climate change on rivers worldwide. However, many aspects of IRES remain poorly studied, particularly at the global scale, limiting our understanding of their ecology and preventing their inclusion into management plans. An international, collaborative network is thus necessary to allow sharing knowledge and conducting joint experiments across many IRES in the world.
The first joint experiment has quantified organic material accumulation over dry streambeds during dry periods and assessed the ecological consequences of first pulses on downstream receiving waters, leaching of nutrients and CO2 release. It has been really productive and shaded light onto C dynamics in IRES.
The second phase of the project is called BiodiversIRES and will explore and reveal the biodiversity values of IRES, both from an aquatic and terrestrial perspective. Detailed procedures and protocols here.
In the next years, additional joint experiments will be carried out within the network on other overlooked aspects of IRES ecology.