TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

River research in full flow in northern Australia

River research in full flow in northern Australia


In a first for Australian river research, scientists have classified all rivers in Australia by characteristics of river flows which are important to plants and animals and their habitats.

Water managers and people responsible for allocating water can see how flows compare between rivers and regions and whether insights and lessons learnt in one river or region can be applied to another that follows the same pattern.
“They can identify rivers that require special consideration or aspects of flow regime [pattern] that typify the rivers they manage,” says Griffith University's Dr Brad Pusey, who, with colleague Dr Mark Kennard, developed the classification.
The classification is available from Land & Water Australia at
The classification features in issue 2 of On TRaCK (page 6), the flagship publication of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge research hub, published this week.

In other On TRaCK stories:

  •  the sooty grunter whose growth is stunted when river flows are too great or too low; the freshwater sole species which was so small and well camouflaged that local Aboriginal people didn’t know it existed
  • when can you apply the findings of one catchment to another? – a radical new way of comparing river landscapes
  • the Gulf of Carpentaria – how much water can we take from a river before it affects the estuary?
  • how researchers can tell from a fish’s ear bone how often it migrated between salt and freshwater
  • who eats what? the importance of waterholes and floodplains to the food web
  • finding out where groundwater and surface water meet

View On TRaCK at

TRaCK was established in 2007 as a research hub under the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Program to provide the science and knowledge that governments, communities and industries need for the sustainable use and management of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries.
TRaCK receives major funding for its research through the Australian Government's Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities initiative; the Australian Government's Raising National Water Standards Program; Land & Water Australia and the Queensland Government's Smart State Innovation Fund.
For interview:
Dr Brad Pusey, Griffith University, 08 9756 8612,
For more information about TRaCK:
Ruth O'Connor, 07 3735 5094,
For media assistance:
Mary O'Callaghan, 07 3846 7111 and 0419 678 179,