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Macroalgal Bioindicators of Recovery from Eutrophication in a Tidal Lagoon Following Wastewater Diversion and Earthquake Disturbance
Estuaries and Coasts ( IF 2.686 ) Pub Date : 2019-12-20 , DOI: 10.1007/s12237-019-00654-7
Neill Barr, John Zeldis, Kristin Scheuer, David Schiel

Together, macroalgal tissue biochemical nitrogen indices (N-indices) and macroalgal abundance can be used as bioindicators of N-enrichment in estuaries. In this study, we examine the extent and rates of response of Ulva bioindicators during rapid N-enrichment perturbations in the eutrophic Avon-Heathcote Estuary (AHE) (Christchurch, New Zealand). With the diversion of the city’s wastewater discharge away from the estuary in March 2010, a ~ 90% reduction in the estuary’s N-concentration was expected. In turn, this was expected to reduce macroalgal biomass and improve the overall trophic condition of the estuary. We surveyed Ulva bioindicators over a five-year period spanning the diversion. There was a rapid (within one year) transition away from eutrophic condition reflected in N-indices (tissue-chlorophyll, -free amino acids, -N and -δ15N) following wastewater diversion, towards values corresponding with ‘cleaner’ water quality. This was accompanied by large reductions in Ulva percent cover, based on seasonal surveys conducted from 2001 to 2014. However, two large earthquakes in February and June 2011 caused a breakdown of the city’s wastewater infrastructure, resulting in overflows of untreated sewage into the estuary between February and November 2011. The re-enrichment of N and changes in N-sources (treated versus untreated sewage) were rapidly reflected in Ulva bioindicators, notably δ15N. Following repair of infrastructure, Ulva bioindicators again reverted towards a less eutrophic state. Overall, bioindicators were sensitive to changes in N-availability and N-source, and useful for identifying the position of algal populations on a eutrophic-to-oligotrophic gradient. These attributes demonstrated their utility as adjuncts to water quality monitoring and algal biomass surveys.
更新日期:2020-01-04

 

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