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Advances in the aquatic sciences

Marine and Freshwater Research

Marine and Freshwater Research

Marine and Freshwater Research is a multidisciplinary journal publishing original research and reviews on all aquatic environments and subject areas. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Max Finlayson

 

Current Issue

Marine and Freshwater Research

Volume 69 Number 5 2018

Chinese Wetlands

MFv69n5_EDPreface: wetland research in China

Shuqing An and C. Max Finlayson
pp. i-iii

This special issue on wetland research in China contains 22 manuscripts covering wetland processes and functions, wetland techniques and methods, and wetland restoration and creation. The special issue was compiled on the occasion of the 10th INTECOL International Wetland Conference held in Changshu, China, during 19–24 September 2016. The manuscripts provide an evidence-base to support the calls made through The Changshu Declaration on Wetlands for the ongoing management and restoration of wetlands globally.

MF17156Nitrogen removal during the cold season by constructed floating wetlands planted with Oenanthe javanica

Penghe Wang, Nasreen Jeelani, Jie Zuo, Hui Zhang, Dehua Zhao, Zhengjie Zhu, Xin Leng and Shuqing An
pp. 635-647

The present study shows that a constructed floating wetlands (CFWs) system planted with Chinese celery (Oenanthe javanica) is a viable option for nitrogen removal from waste water during the low-temperature season (mean water temperature <10°C) and that nitrogen removal is better from CFW systems with vesuvianite as a substrate than from those without a substrate.


This study systematically investigated the characteristics of P adsorption on the sediments of the intertidal zones in the Yellow River Delta. Salinity, pH and oxidation–reduction potential significantly affected the adsorption rate and amount of P adsorbed on the sediments in these zones. In addition, a predictive model for the P-adsorption capacity of sediments was developed. Together, the results could contribute to the restoration and management of intertidal zones.


Satellite image time series (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS) data collected in 2001 and 2013 were used to monitor the long-term environmental changes in 20 Ramsar sites in China. The tremendous efforts of the Chinese government contributed to effective protection for most reserves. However, unfavourable environmental conditions for some reserves still existed, primarily due to increasing water requirements outside the reserves. Therefore, a balance between economic development and ecological protection will be important in the future.

MF17177Interspecific correlation between exotic and native plants under artificial wetland forests on the Dianchi lakeside, south-west China

Yuan Lei, Zhao-lu Wu, Liang-zao Wu, Hui-ling Shi, Hao-tian Bai, Wei Fu and Yuan Ye
pp. 669-676

Interspecific relationships were analysed using the Chi-Square test, Spearman rank correlation coefficient and Ward’s method of hierarchical clustering on field data collected from 4 plots and 160 quadrats. The results imply that exotic species can coexist with native species and become a common species composition when they have existed for a sufficient period of time in artificial wetland forests.


Identification and understanding of human-induced wetland changes is critical for wise wetland use. This study investigated wetland changes in a rare wetland system in a popular tourist destination visited by >5 million people per year. The high number of tourists and their movement in buses have probably caused water-related changes. Determining the appropriate number of visitors is crucial for the wise use of wetlands that are tourist destinations.

MF17142Molecular distribution and toxicity assessment of yttrium in Elodea canadensis

Han Qiu, Miao Zhang, Dawei Zou, Siyuan Song, Yun Wan, Shuqing An and Xin Leng
pp. 690-699

Concentrations of rare earth elements (REEs) in freshwater environments are rising, but very little information is available regarding the accumulation and toxicity of REEs. Aquatic plants are known to accumulate and bioconcentrate metals. The aim of the present study was to explore the molecular distribution and assess the toxicity of yttrium in Elodea canadensis. The results indicate that Y accumulation occurred along a gradient, with the highest accumulation in cell walls, and that Y accumulation destroyed organelles and damaged the antioxidant system. This work suggests that metabolic parameters appear to be promising biomonitors of Y toxicity in aquatic plants.

MF17120Carbon sequestration and its controlling factors in the temperate wetland communities along the Bohai Sea, China

S. Ye, E. A. Laws, N. Yuknis, X. Y. Yu, X. Ding, H. Yuan, G. Zhao, J. Wang, S. Pei and H. Brix
pp. 700-713

Carbon sequestration rates (CSRs) and their controlling factors were determined in the Yellow River delta (YRD) and Liaohe delta (LHD) wetlands. Organic CSRs at sites above mean sea level were virtually identical in the two wetlands, but organic CSRs were much more sensitive to changes in sediment accumulation rates in the LHD wetlands than in the YRD wetlands.

MF17093Physiological response of Arundo donax L. to thallium accumulation in a simulated wetland

Gaozhong Pu, Denan Zhang, Danjuan Zeng, Guangping Xu and Yuqing Huang
pp. 714-720

Thallium (Tl) is a highly toxic heavy metal, although the mechanisms underlying its toxicity are not completely understood. In this study we investigated the physiological responses of giant reed Arundo donax to Tl accumulation in a simulated wetland. The giant reed had strong tolerance to Tl pollution, and this can probably be attributed to its root rejection and amelioration of oxidative stress, which are involved in the mechanism of Tl toxicity.

MF17159Effects of multiple dams on the metacommunity structure of stream macroinvertebrates

Y. Wan, J. Q. Yang, D. W. Zou, J. J. Li, Y. J. Qiao, S. Q. An and X. Leng
pp. 721-729

The excessive presence of dams in river ecosystems causes a series of ecological problems. The present study explored the combined effects of multiple dams on macroinvertebrate metacommunity structure and found that the direct effects of dam by limiting dispersal were greater than the indirect effects by changing environmental conditions. The results provide a theoretical basis for biodiversity conservation in river ecosystems.

MF17123Assessing the hazards of trace metals in different land use types around a coastal wetland nature reserve in China

Lingqian Xu, Nasreen Jeelani, Shubo Fang, Shuqing An and Aixin Hou
pp. 730-740

An understanding of trace metal pollution due to reclamation activities is important for coastal resource utilisation and management. In the present study, although the pollution status around Yancheng National Nature Reserve was not so serious, the potential hazards may pose big threat to coastal ecosystems. Robust monitoring and sustainable land reclamation practices should be considered in coastal areas.

MF17151Effects of tree thinning on carbon sequestration in mangroves

Chuan-Wen Ho, Jih-Sheng Huang and Hsing-Juh Lin
pp. 741-750

Mangrove overgrowth could decrease biodiversity and increase flooding risk. Mangrove thinning has been proposed as a managerial action to solve this problem. This study found that medium thinning is the optimal strategy to meet the demand of reducing the loss of carbon sequestration capacity for mangrove management.

MF17114Seasonal and diurnal methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the littoral area of the Miyun Reservoir in Beijing, China

Gang Li, Hongli Li, Meng Yang, Ting Lei, Mingxiang Zhang, Peter Bridgewater, Shuhong Wu and Guangchun Lei
pp. 751-763

This study assessed greenhouse gas flux (methane and carbon dioxide) in the littoral area of a temperate reservoir. The eulittoral zone had the highest methane flux and the supralittoral zone had the highest carbon dioxide flux. The results provide suggestions for monitoring and management activities to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from reservoirs where changes in littoral areas are occurring.

MF17146Combined effects of light reduction and ammonia nitrogen enrichment on the submerged macrophyte Vallisneria natans

Zhengjie Zhu, Siyuan Song, Yaner Yan, Pengshan Li, Nasreen Jeelani, Penghe Wang, Shuqing An and Xin Leng
pp. 764-770

We investigated the combined effects of low light and high ammonia-N stress on the submerged plant Vallisneria natans. The results suggest that the combination of ammonia-N enrichment and low light has a greater effect on submerged plants than emergent aquatic plants. We also document concentrations of ammonia-N that V. natans tolerates, with or without low light conditions, water ecological restoration.


This paper reveals the distribution features of carbon storage in Hainan Dongzhaigang mangrove wetlands in China. This study considered not only carbon storage in different communities, but also in different parts of the ecosystems. Over 80% of carbon was stored in wetland soil, and differences in carbon storage between most communities were significant.

MF17127Community structure and distribution patterns of stream macroinvertebrates in the Huai River Basin in China

Y. Wan, J. Q. Yang, J. J. Li, D. W. Zou, S. Y. Song, X. Leng and S. Q. An
pp. 780-789

The community structure and spatial distribution pattern of stream macroinvertebrates can reflect the health of river ecosystems. This study found that Oligochaete and Chironomidae, as representatives of pollution-tolerant species, were the dominant taxa in the study area, whereas species intolerant to polluted areas, such as Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera, were rarely found. These results show that the study region is seriously polluted.


The relative importance of elevation, climatic and soil variables for Spartina alterniflora distribution was investigated across global, national and local scales using MaxEnt. The relative importance of different variables, as well as their relationship with species presence, changed across different scales. The decreasing suitable area is controlled by elevation from the global to national scale and by soil variables from the national to regional scale.

MF17171Elevated salinity inhibits nitrogen removal by changing the microbial community composition in constructed wetlands during the cold season

Yajun Qiao, Penghe Wang, Wenjuan Zhang, Guangfang Sun, Dehua Zhao, Nasreen Jeelani, Xin Leng and Shuqing An
pp. 802-810

The present study reports that although constructed wetlands system planted or not with yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) can remove nitrogen from saline waste water, elevated salinity inhibits nitrogen removal by suppressing the growth and activity of wetland plants, and by changing the microbe community composition in the substrate during the low-temperature season when the average water temperature is <10°C.


Alternanthera philoxeroides is a widespread invasive alien species in China. This study constructed a greenhouse experiment to investigate the relationship between A. philoxeroides and experimental wetland plant communities. The results suggest that both sediment type and nitrogen deposition promote A. philoxeroides growth performance and exacerbate A. philoxeroides invasion into communities. However, A. philoxeroides can increase the evenness of the wetland plant communities at a small scale by suppressing dominant species.

MF17374How Spartina alterniflora adapts to a new environment created by embankment reclamation through C-N-P stoichiometry in the coastal wetlands of eastern China

Yajun Qiao, Wen Yang, Yuxuan Zhao, Nasreen Jeelani, Lingqian Xu, Hui Zhao, Yanan Zhang, Shuqing An and Xin Leng
pp. 823-832

This study found that embankment construction in the coastal wetlands depresses the growth of smooth cordgrass and decreases leaf phosphorus content, possibly due to changes in soil salinity, moisture and organic carbon and nitrogen content. The results indicate that the decreased dry weight of the plants in the embankment-reclaimed marsh is likely to be correlated with an increase in the leaf N : P ratio.

MF17203Performance of a large-scale wetland treatment system in treating tailwater from a sewage treatment plant

Siyuan Song, Benfa Liu, Wenjuan Zhang, Penghe Wang, Yajun Qiao, Dehua Zhao, Tangwu Yang, Shuqing An and Xin Leng
pp. 833-839

Wetland treatment systems (WTSs) are popular for the deep purification of tailwater from sewage treatment plants (STPs). Various studies have investigated pilot constructed wetland systems, but less is known about large-scale WTSs. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyse the seasonal performance and management costs of a large-scale WTSs over the course of 1 year. The results suggest that WTSs could be used with STPs to improve waste water quality in a cost-effective manner.


Identification of the main sources of heavy metal contamination and description of their spatial distribution are essential for the control of river water pollution. In this study we investigated the concentrations and main sources of heavy metals in river waters of the Huaihe River Basin, finding significant regional variation in concentrations. These findings will help in the development of appropriate strategies for water resource management.


Plants have tight connections with microbes, especially in aquatic systems. This study investigated plant growth attributed to carbon conversion in an underwater plant–microbe interaction process. A carbon and oxygen microcycle was found between Vallisneria natans and Pseudomonas putida that may increase carbon availability to promote growth in both plant and microbe. Furthermore, the CO2 produced by microbes may be an important source of carbon for plant underwater photosynthesis.

Online Early

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

Published online 18 April 2018

MF17274Trophic relationships among animals associated with drifting wrack

Ryan J. Baring, Rebecca E. Lester and Peter G. Fairweather
 

Wrack is common in surf zones of sandy beaches, yet few studies have investigated food webs in those environments. From samples of wrack and fauna in South Australian surf zones, we established baseline food webs based on stable isotopes and fish gut contents. Fish feed among wrack, but also forage elsewhere, and macroinvertebrates do use wrack as a food source.

Published online 18 April 2018

MF17241Deficiencies in our understanding of the hydro-ecology of several native Australian fish: a rapid evidence synthesis

Kimberly A. Miller, Roser Casas-Mulet, Siobhan C. de Little, Michael J. Stewardson, Wayne M. Koster and J. Angus Webb
 

Knowledge of how Australian native fish respond to changes in river flows is essential to inform the restoration of these flows. However, most recommendations are based on expert knowledge. We used systematic methods to review the literature on several Australian fish species, but found very little relevant evidence. This demonstrates the need for targeted monitoring and research to fill these important knowledge gaps.

Published online 16 April 2018

MF17237Making management decisions in the face of uncertainty: a case study using the Burdekin catchment in the Great Barrier Reef

P. M. Kuhnert, D. E. Pagendam, R. Bartley, D. W. Gladish, S. E. Lewis and Z. T. Bainbridge
 

In this study, we provide a methodology for quantifying and communicating uncertainty associated with water quality predictions. We show how exceedance probabilities can identify hot spots for future monitoring or remediation activities, and how these can be used to inform water quality target-setting activities. The approach is tested in the Upper Burdekin catchment, which drains to the Great Barrier Reef.

Published online 11 April 2018

MF17327Use of otolith shape to inform stock structure in Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) in the south-western Atlantic

Brendon Lee, Paul E. Brewin, Paul Brickle and Haseeb Randhawa
 

We showed how variability in otolith shape can be used to reflect isolation and connectivity within and among stocks of Patagonian toothfish across the Patagonian Shelf, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI). Differences in otolith shape indicated clear differentiation between, as well as within, these two regional groupings. The results suggest that despite some degree of connectivity, large-scale mixing of adult toothfish across the Patagonian Shelf and SGSSI is limited.


This study investigated relationships between hydrological regime and the germination and buoyancy of tangled lignum and nitre goosefoot seeds. Tangled lignum germinated best on soaked soil and soil inundated for 20 days. Nitre goosefoot germinated best on soil inundated for 5 days and soaked soil. Seeds of tangled lignum floated for longer than seeds of nitre goosefoot (≥7 v. ≤7 days respectively).

Published online 09 April 2018

MF17209How does marker choice affect your diet analysis: comparing genetic markers and digestion levels for diet metabarcoding of tropical-reef piscivores

Floriaan Devloo-Delva, Roger Huerlimann, Gladys Chua, Jordan K. Matley, Michelle R. Heupel, Colin A. Simpfendorfer and Gregory E. Maes
 

Tropical reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, and reliable biomonitoring, through genetic diet analysis (i.e. metabarcoding), is crucial to understand future interactions in the face of climate change. The metabarcoding success of different molecular marker genes has rarely been assessed in such ecosystems. This novel study showed that marker success for prey identification is highly dependent on the reference database, taxonomic scope, DNA quality, amplicon length and sequencing platform.

Published online 26 March 2018

MF17334Ichthyofaunal assemblages in shallow littoral habitats of permanently open estuaries and intermittently closed and open lakes or lagoons in Otago, New Zealand

Fasil Taddese, Marc Schallenberg, Pavel Mikheev, Matt G. Jarvis and Gerard P. Closs
 

This study compares fish assemblages of permanently open estuaries and intermittently closed and open lakes or lagoons (ICOLLs) in Otago, New Zealand. The results indicated that estuary–ocean connection and season play a key role in structuring fish assemblage structure of estuaries.

Published online 26 March 2018

MF17092Inter-population variability in growth and reproduction of invasive bleak Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) across the Iberian Peninsula

D. Latorre, G. Masó, A. Hinckley, D. Verdiell-Cubedo, A. S. Tarkan, A. Vila-Gispert, G. H. Copp, J. Cucherousset, E. da Silva, C. Fernández-Delgado, E. García-Berthou, R. Miranda, F. J. Oliva-Paterna, A. Ruiz-Navarro, J. M. Serrano and D. Almeida
 

An invasive, non-native fish in the Iberian Peninsula, the common bleak threatens Iberia’s valuable endemic freshwater fauna. Wide inter-population variability in growth and reproduction was found across the main Iberian rivers and a ‘reference’ native population from France. These results may aid to mitigate impacts exerted by this bio-invasion on the endangered fish communities of Mediterranean Europe.

Published online 26 March 2018

MF17256Defining the importance of ecological processes for monitoring aquatic habitats for conservation and rehabilitation objectives at the Ranger uranium mine, Kakadu Region, Australia

Renee E. Bartolo, Andrew J. Harford, Chris L. Humphrey, Amy K. George and Rick A. van Dam
 

Consideration of ecological processes is required to ensure the success of ecological restoration and conservation activities. An assessment was conducted to ensure that current and future environmental monitoring programs are in place to safeguard the protection of aquatic ecological processes, particularly in the context of rehabilitation of Ranger uranium mine.


In this study, we observed the seasonal recruitment patterns, analysed temporal variations in early growth rates using daily increments in the otolith and assessed the effects of environmental variables on the growth rate of juvenile mud carp (Cirrhinus molitorella), one of the most important commercial fish species in the Pearl River, in China.

Published online 26 March 2018

MF17330National research planning accelerates relevance and immediacy of climate-adaptation science

Scott D. Ling and Alistair J. Hobday
 

Recent years have seen considerable research effort devoted to understanding Australian marine climate-change impacts and adaptation. Literature analysis indicated that a structured, national-level program underpinned by strong stakeholder engagement is beneficial for rapidly addressing key climate-change questions and adaptation needs across fisheries, aquaculture, conservation and tourism sectors. Additional effort is still needed with regard to adaptation research.


Genetic diversity and structure of Pampus echinogaster were analysed using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers. High genetic homogeneity was found among Chinese populations of this species. The complex migratory ability and high dispersal of ichthyoplankton, as well as China’s offshore circulation, may play major roles in shaping the existing genetic structure of P. echinogaster.

Published online 16 March 2018

MF17145Nutritional vulnerability in zoeal stages of the yellowline arrow crab Stenorhynchus seticornis (Brachyura: Majoidea)

Samara P. Barros-Alves, Douglas F. R. Alves, Mariana Antunes, Laura S. López Greco and Maria Lucia Negreiros-Fransozo
 

This study investigated the nutritional vulnerability of the larval stages of yellowline arrow crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis) to evaluate the physiological state of the larvae in their natural environment. Larvae were assigned to two experiments: (1) with increasing days of starvation and subsequent days of feeding; and (2) with increasing days of feeding and subsequent days of starvation.

Published online 08 March 2018

MF17082Spatially dynamic maternal control of migratory fish recruitment pulses triggered by shifting seasonal cues

Daisuke Goto, Martin J. Hamel, Mark A. Pegg, Jeremy J. Hammen, Matthew L. Rugg and Valery E. Forbes
 

Environmental regimes set the timing and location of early life history events of migratory species with synchronised reproduction. This study assessed how the environment and spawners modulate recruitment variability and persistence of the Missouri River shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) under modified seasonal habitat conditions. Model simulations illustrate that environmentally amplified maternal control of early life histories can lower sturgeon population stability and resilience under perturbations.

Published online 06 March 2018

MF17262Interactive effects of hypoxia and dissolved nutrients on the physiology and biochemistry of the freshwater crayfish Paranephrops zealandicus

Rebecca J. Broughton, Islay D. Marsden, Jonathan V. Hill and Chris N. Glover
 

Low dissolved oxygen (hypoxia) in fresh waters is often a consequence of elevated dissolved nutrients, but only rarely are combined effects of nutrients and hypoxia on biota considered. In the at-risk freshwater crayfish Paranephrops zealandicus, hypoxia had several negative effects on respiratory and cardiac physiology and tissue biochemistry, but there was little additional effect of high ammonia or nitrite.

Published online 05 March 2018

MF17292Use of 'cageless' barriers to enclose small starfish in short-term field experiments

Aline S. Martinez and Ross A. Coleman
 

This study has shown a new technique to control asterinid grazers in field experiments. The efficiency of alternative methods (sticky barrier and antifouling paint) for field manipulations of the cushion star, Parvulastra exigua, was tested. The authors found that antifouling paint can retain starfish within plots delimited by the paint, whereas sticky barriers will be crossed by the starfish.

Published online 27 February 2018

MF17064Effects of herbivores, wave exposure and depth on benthic coral communities of the Easter Island ecoregion

Erin E. Easton, Carlos F. Gaymer, Alan M. Friedlander and James J. Herlan
 

Herbivorous fish biomass, sea urchin (Diadema savignyi) density, and algal and coral cover at 10 and 20 m was studied in the Easter Island ecoregion to identify patterns and relationships among these groups and the potential roles of herbivores, wave-energy exposure, and depth on these communities. Differences were found between islands and among levels of wave exposure. These patterns and the concordant patterns between herbivores and algae suggest herbivores and wave energy likely play important roles in structuring these benthic communities.


Environmental (e)DNA is increasingly being used for biological assessment of aquatic ecosystems and although it is often touted as being more powerful, yet cheaper, than classical approaches to biomonitoring, empirical evidence is scarce. Herein we use a case study to contrast and compare classical and eDNA methods in terms of information generated balanced with costs and expertise.


This paper explores coastal wetland response to sea-level rise. It reviews changing mangrove distribution over past millennia determined from cores in macrotidal estuaries of northern Australia. Mangroves retreated on the open coast, but were able to keep pace with gradual sea-level rise in adjacent estuaries. These insights imply that mangrove adjustment in future will vary as a function of local topography and sediment availability.

Published online 19 February 2018

MF17210Horseshoe crabs as potential sentinel species for coastal health: juvenile haemolymph quality and relationship to habitat conditions

Billy K. Y. Kwan, Virginia K. Y. Un, S. G. Cheung and Paul K. S. Shin
 

The present study investigated the use of non-lethal sampling of blood from horseshoe crabs to indicate the general status of coastal habitats. Changes in blood composition pattern of two Asian juvenile horseshoe crab species were found to be sensitive to reflect heavy metal and nutrient concentrations of intertidal sediments. Such a non-lethal sampling protocol can be useful for routine monitoring purposes.

Published online 19 February 2018

MF17125Biological aspects of the associations of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in two saline rivers of the Elton Lake Basin, Russia

Larisa V. Golovatyuk, Tatiana D. Zinchenko, Nadezhda N. Sushchik, Galina S. Kalachova and Michail I. Gladyshev
 

We studied species composition, density, biomass and production of biting midges in two saline rivers (Volgograd region, Russia). They are a substantial seasonal food source for birds in this arid region. Average monthly production of biting midges during the study period in the saline rivers was much higher than annual production in some fresh rivers and lakes of world. For the first time, feeding spectra of one of the species of biting midges was studied using fatty acid analyses.

Published online 15 February 2018

MF17192Embryos of eastern rainbowfish Melanotaenia splendida splendida (Peters, 1866) tolerate fluctuating hypoxia

N. Flint, R. G. Pearson and M. R. Crossland
 

Low dissolved oxygen concentrations (hypoxia) can profoundly affect larval development in fish, but the effects of hypoxia on freshwater fish from tropical Australia are not well understood. In this study, the effects of daily fluctuations in hypoxia were investigated for embryos of a species that is common in wetlands of tropical Queensland. Eastern rainbowfish embryos appear to be tolerant to fluctuating hypoxia, possibly because eggs are laid predominantly on submerged plants.

Published online 15 February 2018

MF17255Living with an engineer: fish metacommunities in dynamic patchy environments

Aneta Bylak and Krzysztof Kukuła
 

We examined the effects of beaver impoundments on spatial and temporal variation in fish species composition and size structure. We placed our results in the context of the metacommunity theory. Although local communities changed over time, the main metacommunity characteristics remained constant. Fish must follow environmental changes for their populations and communities to persist in streams inhabited by beavers.

Published online 13 February 2018

MF17247A sponge of the Cliona viridis complex invades and excavates corals of the Gulf of Mannar, south-eastern India

Arathy Mol Ashok, Christine Hanna Lydia Schönberg, Kasper Diraviya Raj, Mahalakshmi Bhoopathi, M. Selva Bharath and Edward J. K. Patterson
 

We observed a dominant brown clionaid bioeroding sponge on south-eastern Indian coral reefs in 5-m water depth. Of all corals present and despite recent coral mortality, the encrusting Cliona sp. infested only live foliose Turbinaria mesenterina, of which ~50% colonies were affected. This infestation frequency is regarded as high, and the sponge should be fully taxonomically identified and monitored in the future.

Published online 09 February 2018

MF17091Bird-like complex nesting behaviour by the Brazilian-endemic reef fish Gramma brasiliensis

Jonas R. Leite, Pedro H. C. Pereira, Eduardo G. Sanches, Rodrigo L. Moura and Mauricio Hostim-Silva
 

Nest-building by fishes and its ecological role in reef ecosystems are poorly documented. We described the nest and nest-building behaviour of the endangered Brazilian basslet (Gramma brasiliensis). Males build complex bird-like nests using macroalgae thalli that camouflage nest entrance and form a cushion bed for egg laying. Nesting seems to be a critical aspect of the reproductive strategy of this species.


Water quality conditions were measured in a semi-pristine catchment in the Far Northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Changes in water quality from upper catchment tributaries to GBR marine waters are assessed over three flood events. Data collected along the salinity gradient in this large northern catchment are compared to the more developed southern catchments.

Published online 05 December 2017

MF17065Historical perspectives on the mangroves of Kakadu National Park

Richard Lucas, C. Max Finlayson, Renee Bartolo, Kerrylee Rogers, Anthea Mitchell, Colin D. Woodroffe, Emma Asbridge and Emilie Ens
 

Mangroves in Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory have undergone significant changes, occupying much of the lowlands c. 6000 years ago, but are now confined to the river margins and islands. Recent observations from satellite and aircraft have indicated that fluctuations in sea level exert a significant effect on the distribution of mangroves, with a drop in the sea level from 2015 to 2016 contributing to unprecedented dieback on the landward margins. 

Published online 31 October 2017

MF17043An integrated risk-assessment framework for multiple threats to floodplain values in the Kakadu Region, Australia, under a changing climate

P. Bayliss, C. M. Finlayson, J. Innes, A. Norman-López, R. Bartolo, A. Harford, N. E. Pettit, C. L. Humphrey, R. van Dam, L. X. C. Dutra, E. Woodward, E. Ligtermoet, A. Steven, A. Chariton and D. K. Williams
 

The floodplains of the Kakadu Region, world-renowned for their natural and cultural values, are threatened by invasive species and future sea-level rise. A risk assessment that integrates both threats to multiple values out to 2100 was undertaken, and suggested that floodplains will likely transform to marine-dominated ecosystems that cannot be managed back to previous conditions. The study highlighted the importance of freshwater refugia because both their value and vulnerability will increase over time.

Published online 08 September 2017

MF16166Understanding climate-change adaptation on Kakadu National Park, using a combined diagnostic and modelling framework: a case study at Yellow Water wetland

Leo X. C. Dutra, Peter Bayliss, Sandra McGregor, Peter Christophersen, Kelly Scheepers, Emma Woodward, Emma Ligtermoet and Lizandra F. C. Melo
 

We have developed an approach to assess sea-level rise effects on socio-ecological systems, using Yellow Water wetland on Kakadu National Park as a case study. Sea-level rise will cause profound changes in the Park, but it may also provide an opportunity to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge towards a commonly perceived threat. Strategies that facilitate Indigenous people’s participation in research and monitoring programs are needed to improve understanding of impacts and enhance adaptive capacity.


The magpie goose is an iconic tropical species highly valued as a conservation asset and by Aboriginal people as a cultural resource. Their spatial and temporal dynamics in the Kakadu Region of Northern Australia are characterised at seasonal and decadal time scales using long-term aerial survey data. The customary harvesting practices of geese and their eggs in the region show that their cultural value extends beyond consumption of bush-food.

Published online 17 February 2017

MF16107Sediment fluxes and sinks for Magela Creek, Northern Territory, Australia

Wayne D. Erskine, M. J. Saynor, J. M. Boyden and K. G. Evans
 

Sediment fluxes and sinks based on total sediment load for Magela Creek in the Australian wet–dry tropics have been constructed from detailed measurements of turbidity, suspended sand and bedload for the 10-year period from 2001–2002 to 2010–2011. The present work showed that the sediment-trap efficiency of the vegetated wetlands on lower Magela is high at ~89.5%.


Key stream fauna in Kakadu National Park face severe threats in 100+ years associated with climate change, invasive species, and mine-site rehabilitation. Sea level rise will salt the coastal floodplains and the fauna must then rely on reduced upstream refuges vulnerable to strong swings between more intense El Niños and La Niñas. Rates and extremes of future climate change appear unprecedented, making predictions associated with past climate change unreliable.

Published online 30 November 2016

MF16148Dynamics of plant communities and the impact of saltwater intrusion on the floodplains of Kakadu National Park

N. E. Pettit, P. Bayliss and R. Bartolo
 

On the Kakadu floodplains, the distribution of different plant communities varies yearly, related to flooding duration and water depth. Because these floodplains are close to the coast, they are vulnerable to saltwater intrusion as the sea levels rise. The most obvious effect of this will be the transformation from freshwater vegetation to salt-tolerant plants in susceptible areas.

Published online 29 August 2016

MF16033Bacteria in tropical floodplain soils are sensitive to changes in saltwater

Tiffanie M. Nelson, Claire Streten, Karen S. Gibb and Anthony A. Chariton
 

Sea-level rise associated with global warming will increase across Kakadu causing widespread saltwater intrusion. We aimed to understand how soil bacteria might respond to these impacts, by sampling transects in different river zones. We found diverse bacterial communities that were sensitive to soil variables, suggesting that saltwater intrusion may affect bacterial contributions to the dynamic floodplain ecosystems of Kakadu.

Published online 20 July 2016

MF16049Assessing sea level-rise risks to coastal floodplains in the Kakadu Region, northern Australia, using a tidally driven hydrodynamic model

Peter Bayliss, Kate Saunders, Leo X. C. Dutra, Lizandra F. C. Melo, James Hilton, Mahesh Prakash and Fletcher Woolard
 

The coastal floodplains of the Kakadu Region of northern Australia are highly vulnerable to future sea level rise (SLR) and extreme weather events. A hydrodynamic model was developed to simulate the frequency and extent of saltwater inundation of future SLR scenarios from 2013 to 2100 (1.1 m above mean sea level), and was used to assess potential risk to freshwater floodplains.

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