Fine sediment and nutrient dynamics related to particle size and floc formation in a Burdekin River flood plume, Australia

Bainbridge, Zoe T., Wolanski, Eric, Alvarez Romero, Jorge, Lewis, Stephen E., and Brodie, Jon E. (2012) Fine sediment and nutrient dynamics related to particle size and floc formation in a Burdekin River flood plume, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 65 (4-9). pp. 236-248.

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Abstract

The extreme 2010-2011 wet season resulted in highly elevated Burdekin River discharge into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon for a period of 200 days, resulting in a large flood plume extending >50 km offshore and >100 km north during peak conditions. Export of suspended sediment was dominated by clay and fine silt fractions and most sediment initially settled within 10 km of the river mouth. Biologically-mediated flocculation of these particles enhanced deposition in the initial low salinity zone. Fine silt and clay particles and nutrients remaining in suspension, were carried as far as 100 km northward from the mouth, binding with planktonic and transparent exopolymer particulate matter to form large floc aggregates (muddy marine snow). These aggregates, due to their sticky nature, likely pose a risk to benthic organisms e.g. coral and seagrass through smothering, and also by contributing to increased turbidity during wind-induced resuspension events.

Item ID: 25476
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef, muddy marine snow, grain size, catchment runoff, sediment export, nitrogen, flocculation
ISSN: 1879-3363
Funders: Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2013 05:26
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060408 Genomics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960913 Water Allocation and Quantification @ 100%
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