Login | Create Account (DAF staff only)

The 'wet-dry' in the wet-dry tropics drives river ecosystem structure and processes in northern Australia

Warfe, D. M., Pettit, N. E., Davies, P. M., Pusey, B. J., Hamilton, S. K., Kennard, M. J., Townsend, S. A., Bayliss, P., Ward, D. P., Douglas, M. M., Burford, M. A., Finn, M., Bunn, S. E. and Halliday, I. A. (2011) The 'wet-dry' in the wet-dry tropics drives river ecosystem structure and processes in northern Australia. Freshwater Biology, 56 (11). pp. 2169-2195. ISSN 00465070 (ISSN)

Full text not currently attached. Access may be available via the Publisher's website or OpenAccess link.

Article Link(s): http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02660.x

Publisher URL:

Abstract

1.Northern Australia is characterised by a tropical wet-dry climate that regulates the distinctive character of river flow regimes across the region. There is marked hydrological seasonality, with most flow occurring over only a few months of the year during the wet season. Flow is also characterised by high variability between years, and in the degree of flow cessation, or intermittency, over the dry season. 2.At present, the relatively low human population density and demand for water in the region means that most rivers have largely unmodified flow regimes. These rivers therefore provide a good opportunity to understand the role of natural flow variability in river ecosystem structure and processes. 3.This review describes the major flow regime classes characterising northern Australian rivers, from perennial to seasonally intermittent to extremely intermittent, and how these regimes give rise to marked differences in the ecological character of these tropical rivers, particularly their floodplains. 4.We describe the key features of these flow regimes, namely the wet and dry seasons and the transitions between these seasons, and how they regulate the biophysical heterogeneity, primary productivity and movement of biota in Australia's wet-dry tropical rivers. 5.We develop a conceptual model that predicts the likely hydrological and ecological consequences of future increases in water abstraction (e.g. for agriculture), and suggest how such impacts can be managed so that the distinctive ecological character of these rivers is maintained. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Environmental flows Estuaries Flow regime Hydrological connectivity Tropical floodplains
Deposited On:04 Apr 2019 03:54
Last Modified:04 Apr 2019 03:54

Repository Staff Only: item control page