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Short-term response of nutrients, carbon and planktonic microbial communities to floodplain wetland inundation
Kobayashi, T.; Ryder, D.S.; Gordon, G.; Shannon, I.; Ingleton, T.; Carpenter, M.; Jacobs, S.J. (2009). Short-term response of nutrients, carbon and planktonic microbial communities to floodplain wetland inundation. Aquat. Ecol. 43(4): 843-858. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10452-008-9219-2
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Macquarie Marshes; Environmental flows; Floodplain inundation; Nitrogen;Phosphorus; Dissolved organic matter

Authors  Top 
  • Kobayashi, T.
  • Ryder, D.S.
  • Gordon, G.
  • Shannon, I.
  • Ingleton, T.
  • Carpenter, M.
  • Jacobs, S.J.

Abstract
    Environmental flows were released to the Macquarie Marshes (similar to 210,000 ha) in north-west NSW of Australia between October and December 2005, inundating an estimated 24,600 ha of floodplain area. According to the flood pulse concept, the marsh floodplains would have stored large amounts of nutrients and carbon during dry antecedent conditions, which would be released into the overlaying flood water. Field studies were conducted in mid-December 2005 at two sites, one on open floodplain woodland with a sparse canopy of River Red Gum and ground cover dominated by saltbushes and the other on open floodplain with black roly-poly. At each site, nutrients, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), planktonic bacteria and phytoplankton were monitored daily for a 6-day period from the overlaying water of a floodplain inundated by the environmental water release. Those in mesocosms deployed in situ, containing marsh floodplain sediments that had been inundated artificially, were also monitored. The mesocosm results from both the sites showed that release of nitrogen was rapid, attaining mean concentrations of total nitrogen of 3.7-14.8 mg l(-1), followed by more gradual increases in total phosphorus (mean concentrations 0.6-0.8 mg l(-1)) and DOC (26.1-50.2 mg l(-1)) within the 6-day experiment; planktonic microbial communities developed concomitantly with the increasing concentrations of nutrients and DOC, attaining mean densities of (6.0-6.9) x 10(6) cells ml(-1) of planktonic bacteria and (80.7-81.4) x 10(3) cells ml(-1) of phytoplankton; and for each site the overall measured condition of the mesocosm tended to approach that of the Marshes, over the course of the 6-day experiment. The present study (both observational and experimental) demonstrates that the floodplain sediments in the Marshes, which have been exposed to dry antecedent conditions, release nutrients and carbon to the overlaying flood water following inundation. These resources are thought to have been stored during the dry antecedent phase in accord with the flood pulse concept. Based on the mesocosm experiment, the released nutrients and carbon are in turn most likely to be used by microbial components, such as bacteria and algae, which develop within days of inundation of the floodplain sediments. Thus, environmental flow release provides potential for floodplains to attain a series of ecological responses including initial release of inorganic nutrients and dissolved organic matter and increase in planktonic bacteria and phytoplankton.

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