Ecologically based targets for bioavailable (reactive) nitrogen discharge from the drainage basins of the Wet Tropics region, Great Barrier Reef

Wooldridge, Scott A., Brodie, Jon E., Kroon, Frederieke J., and Turner, Ryan D.R. (2015) Ecologically based targets for bioavailable (reactive) nitrogen discharge from the drainage basins of the Wet Tropics region, Great Barrier Reef. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 97 (1-2). pp. 262-272.

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Abstract

A modelling framework is developed for the Wet Tropics region of the Great Barrier Reef that links a quantitative river discharge parameter (viz. dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentration, DIN) with an eutrophication indicator within the marine environment (viz. chlorophyll-a concentration, chl-a). The model predicts catchment-specific levels of reduction (%) in end-of-river DIN concentrations (as a proxy for total potentially reactive nitrogen, PRN) needed to ensure compliance with chl-a 'trigger' guidelines for the ecologically distinct, but PRN-related issues of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks, reef biodiversity loss, and thermal bleaching sensitivity. The results indicate that even for river basins dominated by agricultural land uses, quite modest reductions in end-of-river PRN concentrations (~20–40%) may assist in mitigating the risk of primary COTS outbreaks from the mid-shelf reefs of the Wet Tropics. However, more significant reductions (~60–80%) are required to halt and reverse declines in reef biodiversity, and loss of thermal bleaching resistance.

Item ID: 40754
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: water quality; coral bleaching; crown-of-thorns starfish; coral health; nutrient enrichment; resilience
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 03:30
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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