Metabolism (ie oxygen consumption or production) is one of the best ways to quantify the functioning of an ecosystem, although the quantification of other indicators such as nutrient dynamics (i.e. nitrates or phosphates) can also be of great interest to characterize the dynamics of an ecosystem.
In this sense, IH Cantabria is exploring the role played by different factors at different spatial scales in a river ecosystem's functioning. To carry out this task, researchers at IH Cantabria are using different methods to quantify fluvial metabolism (breakdown and primary production) habitat scale (incubations) or river section (probes). In the same fline of work we will find studies on the trophic structure of the ecosystem and how it may affect or vary the rates of ecosystem functioning, and what the mechanisms are that determine the resilience of the ecosystem to changes caused by natural or human disturbances.