Physical and ecological associations in dryland refugia: waterholes of the Cooper Creek, Australia

Martin Thoms, Christine Fellows, Stuart Bunn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Waterholes are a significant morphological feature of the Cooper
    Creek system in central Australia. Many of these waterholes contain water
    over extended no flow periods and are recognized as important réfugia for
    aquatic biota. This paper explores how morphological features may influence
    ecosystem processes within waterholes. Each waterhole was characterized via
    a suite of morphological variables and it was found that the maximum fetch
    length was an important variable that separated waterholes into two groups.
    Water turbidity of these two groups of waterholes was different, as were rates
    of benthic production and respiration. Benthic production and therefore energy
    available to support the food webs of these waterholes was greater in the
    group of waterholes with shorter fetch lengths and lower turbidity. The
    possible associations between morphology, turbidity, and primary production
    highlight the importance of understanding the physical template of these
    dryland river ecosystems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-84
    Number of pages8
    JournalIAHS Proceedings and Reports
    Issue number276
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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    refugium
    turbidity
    fetch
    food web
    biota
    respiration
    ecosystem
    river
    creek
    water

    Cite this

    Thoms, Martin ; Fellows, Christine ; Bunn, Stuart. / Physical and ecological associations in dryland refugia: waterholes of the Cooper Creek, Australia. In: IAHS Proceedings and Reports. 2002 ; No. 276. pp. 77-84.
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    Physical and ecological associations in dryland refugia: waterholes of the Cooper Creek, Australia. / Thoms, Martin; Fellows, Christine; Bunn, Stuart.

    In: IAHS Proceedings and Reports, No. 276, 2002, p. 77-84.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

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    AU - Thoms, Martin

    AU - Fellows, Christine

    AU - Bunn, Stuart

    PY - 2002

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    AB - Waterholes are a significant morphological feature of the CooperCreek system in central Australia. Many of these waterholes contain waterover extended no flow periods and are recognized as important réfugia foraquatic biota. This paper explores how morphological features may influenceecosystem processes within waterholes. Each waterhole was characterized viaa suite of morphological variables and it was found that the maximum fetchlength was an important variable that separated waterholes into two groups.Water turbidity of these two groups of waterholes was different, as were ratesof benthic production and respiration. Benthic production and therefore energyavailable to support the food webs of these waterholes was greater in thegroup of waterholes with shorter fetch lengths and lower turbidity. Thepossible associations between morphology, turbidity, and primary productionhighlight the importance of understanding the physical template of thesedryland river ecosystems.

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