TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

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

Michele Burford

Michele Burford

Project Leader
Griffith University

Michele is an Associate Professor at the Australian Rivers Institute. Her research expertise includes algal ecology, food web dynamics and nutrient cycling in marine and freshwater systems.

During the first phase of TRaCK research, Michele led a project which aimed to assess the effect of urbanisation and catchment development on ecosystem health in estuaries.

Phase 1 Projects

Outcomes Through better understanding how the river flows and accompanying nutrients and sediments interact with estuary food webs, resource managers have been more informed and better able to make decisions when considering issues such as sewage treatment options to cope with expanding urban development or further development in catchments. Future investments to maintain or improve water quality, upgrade sewage treatment plants or change broader scale land management practices are able to be better targeted. This research has provided fisheries managers and commercial fishing operators with an improved understanding of how river flow, nutrient and sediment inputs can affect recruitment to the prawn fishery. The potential benefits and impacts of further agricultural and urban development can then be properly balanced against the interests of other economic enterprises, as well as social and environmental effects.