TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

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

Major Solute Chemistry as an Indicator of Hydrology in Tropical Floodplains

TitleMajor Solute Chemistry as an Indicator of Hydrology in Tropical Floodplains
Publication TypeConference Participation
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHamilton, SK, Celi, JE, Jardine, TD, Ward, DP, Bunn, SE
Keywords5: Foodwebs and biodiversity

Understanding inundation hydrology is fundamental to the ecology and management of large tropical floodplains. Sources of flood waters in tropical floodplains include both local precipitation and riverine overflow, and river waters often arise from upland catchments of variable geology. Tropical floodplains usually lie on highly weathered soils that contribute little to the major solutes carried by flood waters, and they tend to have dilute concentrations of major solutes in flood waters, precluding secondary precipitation of minerals such as calcite. Under these conditions, major solute chemistry can be interpreted to indicate sources of flood waters, flow paths and mixtures, and evaporative losses. Care must be taken to select solutes with the most conservative behavior in terms of both mineral precipitation and biotic transformation and release, and this must be evaluated for each setting. In this talk we present examples from major floodplains in South America (Pantanal and Amazon) and northern Australia to demonstrate the utility of major solute chemistry to study inundation hydrology.