The Landscape Context of Flooding in the Murray-Darling Basin

Advances in Ecological Research

Andrea Ballinger, R. Mac Nally

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    This chapter explores the development of ideas for understanding the ecological processes associated with flooding in the Murray–Darling Basin at landscape scales. It reviews strategies employed by the biota to exploit floods and how this relates to ecological theory, and considers how aquatic production from inundated landscapes may subsidize food webs in surrounding land. Taking a landscape perspective reveals the vast spatial and temporal variability in flooding. The chapter uses iconic taxa of the Murray–Darling Basin—river red gum, waterbirds, and fish—to illustrate three strategies for exploiting variable flooding for breeding: reproduce whenever floods occur, regardless of flood characteristics; reproduce only during floods that provide suitable conditions; and ignore floods and associated resources because these are too unreliable. The chapter describes how river regulation alters ecological processes associated with flooding. It focuses on the overbank floods characteristic of large, lowland river–floodplain systems because these systems most clearly illustrate the landscape-scale implications of flood regimes.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherAcademic Press
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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