Measuring sediment grain size across the catchment to reef continuum: improved methods and environmental insights

Bainbridge, Zoe, Lewis, Stephen, Stevens, Thomas, Petus, Caroline, Lazarus, Emily, Gorman, Jessica, and Smithers, Scott (2021) Measuring sediment grain size across the catchment to reef continuum: improved methods and environmental insights. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 168. 112339.

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Abstract

Sediments collected within freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats were used to trial various chemical and physical pre-treatments to develop a systematic protocol for grain-size analysis using laser diffraction. Application of this protocol mitigates the influence of bio-physical processes that may transform grain-size distributions, enabling the characterisation and quantification of 'primary' mineral sediments across the complex freshwater-marine continuum to be more reliably assessed. Application of the protocol to two Great Barrier Reef (Australia) river catchments and their estuaries reveals the ecologically relevant <20 μm fraction comprises a larger component of exported sediment than existing methods indicate. These findings are highly relevant when comparing measured data to grain-size-specific modelled sediment loads and water-quality targets. Finally, adoption of the protocol also improves the environmental interpretation of the influence of 'terrigenous sediment' in marine settings, including quantification of newly-delivered flood plume sediment.

Item ID: 67993
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Copyright Information: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funders: Queensland Government (QG), National Environmental Science Program (NESP)
Projects and Grants: QG Advance Queensland Research Fellowship, NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub Project 2.1.5, NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub Project 5.8
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2021 06:51
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180505 Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition @ 20%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 40%
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