TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

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

Conceptualising the natural flux regime in wet dry tropical rivers, Coast 2 Coast Conference, Darwin 2008

TitleConceptualising the natural flux regime in wet dry tropical rivers, Coast 2 Coast Conference, Darwin 2008
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHamilton, S
Keywords5: Foodwebs and biodiversity

The rivers of north Australia’s wet-dry tropics are recognised for their high environmental, social cultural and economic values and these values are highly dependent on healthy ecosystems. In contrast to most river systems elsewhere in Australia, these tropical systems are still characterised by a high degree of connectivity along the length of the river channel to the estuary, and between the river and its floodplain and riparian zone. This connectivity allows the movement of materials (e.g. sediments, nutrients, carbon) across these ecosystem boundaries and this flux of materials is likely to be an important factor in maintaining the ecological function of these rivers. For example, some of these movements likely represent important subsidies form one food web to another. Understanding the magnitude, direction and spatial and temporal variation in these fluxes is critical for managing these systems, but our current knowledge of these processes is limited. We discuss the development of conceptual models that focus on seasonal (wet and dry season) and spatial (upper, middle and lower reaches) differences in the natural regime of material fluxes. These models provide a framework for integrating past and current research and generate testable hypothesis that can be the focus for future research.
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