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Type: Journal article
Title: A history of aquatic plants in the Coorong, a Ramsar-listed coastal wetland, South Australia
Author: Dick, J.
Haynes, D.
Tibby, J.
Garcia, A.
Gell, P.
Citation: Journal of Paleolimnology, 2011; 46(4 Sp Iss):623-635
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0921-2728
Statement of
J. Dick, D. Haynes, J. Tibby, A. Garcia and P. Gell
Abstract: The Coorong in South Australia is an internationally recognised ecologically significant coastal lagoon that extends 140 km south-east from the mouth of the River Murray. The Coorong has increasingly been impacted by a variety of human activities. Declining migratory bird abundance has been linked to the loss of Ruppia tuberosa, an aquatic plant that is the main feedstock for a wide variety of water birds. Analysis of Ruppia remains from a radiometrically dated core in the southern lagoon of The Coorong shows that the salt-tolerant annual Ruppia tuberosa has only been present at this site in recent times. By contrast, the perennial Ruppia megacarpa, which has limited tolerance to elevated salinity, appears to have been present at the site for several millennia, although it had never been observed in ecological surveys of this part of The Coorong. Diatom analysis from the same core reveals a shift from estuarine/marine assemblages to an assemblage reflective of elevated salinity levels. Charophyte, ostracod and foraminifera remains also indicate that the change in the aquatic plant community is associated with increased salinity at the study site since European settlement. Elevated salinity is the result of catchment modifications which have reduced freshwater inflows at the northern and southern extremities of The Coorong, and marine input via the Murray Mouth. This study demonstrates the utility of multiproxy palaeoecological data in addressing complex management questions. In the absence of such information, managers must ultimately rely on data sourced only from the historical record which, more often than not, is already skewed by the impact of European settlement.
Keywords: Macrofossil; Ruppia; Human impact; Foraminfera; Diatom; Holocene
Rights: Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
RMID: 0020115169
DOI: 10.1007/s10933-011-9510-4
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Geography, Environment and Population publications
Environment Institute publications

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