Connecting targets for catchment sediment loads to ecological outcomes for seagrass using multiple lines of evidence

Lambert, Victoria, Bainbridge, Zoe T., Collier, Catherine, Lewis, Stephen E., Adams, Matthew P., Carter, Alex, Saunders, Megan I., Brodie, Jon, Turner, Ryan D.R., Rasheed, Michael A., and O'Brien, Katherine R. (2021) Connecting targets for catchment sediment loads to ecological outcomes for seagrass using multiple lines of evidence. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 169. 112494.

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Catchment impacts on downstream ecosystems are difficult to quantify, but important for setting management targets. Here we compared 12 years of monitoring data of seagrass area and biomass in Cleveland Bay, northeast Australia, with discharge and associated sediment loads from nearby rivers. Seagrass biomass and area exhibited different trajectories in response to river inputs. River discharge was a slightly better predictor of seagrass indicators than total suspended solid (TSS) loads, indicating that catchment effects on seagrass are not restricted to sediment. Linear relationships between Burdekin River TSS loads delivered over 1–4 years and seagrass condition in Cleveland Bay generated Ecologically Relevant Targets (ERT) for catchment sediment inputs. Our predicted ERTs were comparable to those previously estimated using mechanistic models. This study highlights the challenges of linking catchment inputs to condition of downstream ecosystems, and the importance of integrating a variety of metrics and approaches to increase confidence in ERTs.

Item ID: 68487
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Ecologically relevant targets; Seagrass; Catchment sediment; Marine ecosystems
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Copyright Information: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Tropical Water Quality and Marine Biodiversity Hubs, Advance Queensland Research Fellowship, Australian Research Council (ARC), Port of Townsville Limited (PoTL), Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Ltd
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award DE200100683
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2021 23:23
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 100%
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