Since temperature is a key factor affecting photosynthetic and respiration rates, the rates of gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) are expected to be lower for rivers at higher latitudes, while the net ecosystem production (NEP) rate likely decrease in rivers at lower latitude due to higher sensitivity of ER to temperature compared with GPP. To examine these possibilities, we estimated the ecosystem metabolism of 30 rivers located from 43.03°N to 32.38°N in Japan during summer using a Bayesian model with hourly changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations. In addition, we examined latitudinal trends of GPP, ER and NEP in a global scale by compiling and analyzing river metabolic data estimated in previous studies. Our analysis showed that both GPP and ER tended to increase with latitude, although these rates were positively related to water temperature in Japanese rivers. Global dataset of GPP and ER also showed increasing trend towards higher latitude. In addition, contrary to our initial expectations, NEP decreased with latitude and most rivers were net heterotrophic at both regional (Japanese rivers) and global scales. These results imply that the latitudinal temperature effect on river metabolism is masked by other factors not examined in this study, such as land use in the watershed, which play pivotal roles in explaining the latitudinal variation of river metabolism.
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