A benthic light index of water quality in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Canto, Marites M., Fabricius, Katharina E., Logan, Murray, Lewis, Stephen, McKinna, Lachlan I.W., and Robson, Barbara J. (2021) A benthic light index of water quality in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 169. 112539.

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Abstract

Good water quality is essential to the health of marine ecosystems, yet current metrics used to track water quality in the Great Barrier Reef are not strongly tied to ecological outcomes. There is a need for a better water quality index (WQI). Benthic irradiance, the amount of light reaching the seafloor, is critical for coral and seagrass health and is strongly affected by water quality. It therefore represents a strong candidate for use as a water quality indicator. Here, we introduce a new index based on remote sensing benthic light (bPAR) from ocean color. Resulting bPAR index timeseries, based on the extent to which the observed bPAR fell short of the locally- and seasonally-specific optimum, showed strong spatial and temporal variability, which was consistent with the dynamics that govern changes in water clarity in the Great Barrier Reef. Our new index is ecologically relevant, responsive to changes in light availability and provides a robust metric that may complement current Great Barrier Reef water quality metrics.

Item ID: 72561
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Benthic irradiance, Benthic photosynthetically available radiation, Benthic light stress, Water quality, Water quality index Great Barrier Reef
Copyright Information: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2022 01:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 45%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 35%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370899 Oceanography not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180505 Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition @ 60%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180205 Measurement and assessment of estuarine water quality @ 40%
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