Anthropogenic influences on the source, transformation and fate of carbon and nitrogen in Derwent Estuary, Tasmania
Funding: ARC Linkage 2009 to 2012 (partners: Department of Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Norske Skog Paper Mills)
Investigators: Jeff Ross (UniTas), Michael Keough (UniMelb), Bradley Eyre (SCU), Joanne Oakes (SCU), Jo Banks (UniTas)
Hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to be spent over the next decade on the management of nutrients, and protection of biodiversity, in Australian coastal waters. As such, an improved understanding of the processes that control the transformation of nutrients, including the role of organisms from bacteria to macrofauna and their response to changing inputs is critical for the efficient allocation of management resources. Funded under the Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage scheme with $250k in support over 4 years from the Derwent Estuary Program and Norske Skog Boyer we commenced a project investigating the anthropogenic influences on the source, transformation and fate of carbon and nitrogen in the Derwent Estuary in SE Tasmania. The project is using three techniques, benthic process measurements, compound-specific stable isotope analysis and specific stable isotope tracers which, when used in combination provide a powerful new approach to unravelling carbon and nitrogen cycling pathways in coastal sediments. To date, the study has already provided a number of key findings, particularly in relation to the response of key nutrient cycling processes and faunal communities (from microbes to macrofauna) to the secondary treatment upgrade at the Norske Skog Boyer paper mill in the upper estuary, and the consequences of reduced bottom water dissolved oxygen concentrations, often observed following reduced environmental flows, for nutrient cycling processes and the availability of heavy metals.
Oakes, J. M., Eyre, B. D., and Ross, D. J. Short-term enhancement, and long-term suppression, of denitrification in estuarine sediments receiving primary- and secondary-treated paper and pulp mill discharge. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 3400-3406. JIF = 4.363. (ERA Rank *A).
Oakes, J. M., Eyre, B. D., Ross, D. J. and Turner, S. D. Stable isotopes trace estuarinetransformations of carbon and nitrogen from primary- and secondary-treated paper and pulp mill effluent. Environmental Science and Technology (accepted August 2010)
Ross, J., Eyre B. D., Keane, J. and Keough, M. (2010) Estuarine responses to the commissioning of a secondary effluent treatment plant at the Norske Skog paper mill. Report to Norske Skog (Boyer). Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI). 27p.
Updated: 03 May 2011