Water-quality variability in dryland riverine waterholes: a challenge for ecosystem assessment

Preite, Carrie K., and Pearson, Richard G. (2017) Water-quality variability in dryland riverine waterholes: a challenge for ecosystem assessment. Annales de Limnologie - International Journal of Limnology, 53. pp. 221-232.

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Waterholes in intermittent dryland rivers are important biotic refugia, but detailed water-quality descriptions of these habitats are rare. Their possible variability in water quality, due to variable flow regimes, may impede development of appropriate water-quality guidelines. We investigated this issue by describing spatial and temporal variation in water quality in waterholes in a tropical Australian dryland system. Water quality varied considerably among three rivers, between sites within rivers and within sites, reflecting lithology, hydrology, bathymetry, local catchment influences, stratification and within-site patchiness. Seasonal variation was due to differences in insolation, temperature, flow and depth. Diel variation was high for pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) at some sites. Variation among locations within waterholes was low for DO, temperature and pH, but higher for chlorophyll and nutrients, due to shade-related patchy photosynthesis. Neither the rivers nor the waterholes within them could indicate water-quality reference conditions because of their different characteristics. Our results highlight the need for strategic timing and location of sampling to capture spatial and temporal variation in key water-quality variables and to identify critical ecological conditions in dryland riverine waterholes.

Item ID: 51398
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2100-000X
Keywords: river health, monitoring, dissolved oxygen, Australia, tropics
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2017 07:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961103 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments (excl. Urban and @ 100%
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