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Seasonal changes in water quality and macrophytes and the impact of cattle on tropical floodplain waterholes

Pettit, Neil E., Jardine, Tim, Hamilton, Stephen K., Sinnamon, Vivian, Valdez, D., Davies, Peter M., Douglas, Michael M. and Bunn, Stuart E. (2012). Seasonal changes in water quality and macrophytes and the impact of cattle on tropical floodplain waterholes. Marine and Freshwater Research,63(9):788-800.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 82057923xPUB389
Title Seasonal changes in water quality and macrophytes and the impact of cattle on tropical floodplain waterholes
Author Pettit, Neil E.
Jardine, Tim
Hamilton, Stephen K.
Sinnamon, Vivian
Valdez, D.
Davies, Peter M.
Douglas, Michael M.
Bunn, Stuart E.
Journal Name Marine and Freshwater Research
Publication Date 2012
Volume Number 63
Issue Number 9
ISSN 1323-1650   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84867355804
Start Page 788
End Page 800
Total Pages 12
Place of Publication Collingwood
Publisher Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Publishing (CSIRO Publishing)
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract The present study indicates the critical role of hydrologic connectivity in floodplain waterholes in the wet–dry tropics of northern Australia. These waterbodies provide dry-season refugia for plants and animals, are a hotspot of productivity, and are a critical part in the subsistence economy of many remote Aboriginal communities. We examined seasonal changes in water quality and aquatic plant cover of floodplain waterholes, and related changes to variation of waterhole depth and visitation by livestock. The waterholes showed declining water quality through the dry season, which was exacerbated by more frequent cattle usage as conditions became progressively drier, which also increased turbidity and nutrient concentrations. Aquatic macrophyte biomass was highest in the early dry season, and declined as the dry season progressed. Remaining macrophytes were flushed out by the first wet-season flows, although they quickly re-establish later during the wet season. Waterholes of greater depth were more resistant to the effects of cattle disturbance, and seasonal flushing of the waterholes with wet-season flooding homogenised the water quality and increased plant cover of previously disparate waterholes. Therefore, maintaining high levels of connectivity between the river and its floodplain is vital for the persistence of these waterholes.
Keywords aquatic plants
connectivity
flooding
lacustrine
resilience
riparian
riverine
seasonal waterbodies
water quality
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF12114   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Fri, 17 Jan 2014, 01:17:08 CST