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Gold Coast, Australia

Waltham N.J.,Gold Coast Mail Center | Waltham N.J.,Griffith University | Connolly R.M.,Griffith University
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

The construction of artificial, residential waterways to increase the opportunities for coastal properties with waterfrontage is a common and widespread practice. We describe the fish community from the world's largest aggregation of artificial, estuarine lakes, the Burleigh Lake system that covers 280. ha on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Fish were collected from 30 sites in winter and spring of one year, and water salinity was measured 3-monthly for a 10 year period. Fish are not present in deep, bottom waters and the intensive sampling focussed on the shallow waters around lake margins. The fish fauna consisted of 33 species. All but three species are marine species that can tolerate some brackishness. The other three are freshwater species, normally found in rivers but also occurring in the upper reaches of estuaries. Fish communities differed among the lakes, reflecting a weak gradient in salinity in lakes at different distances from the single connection to the natural estuary and thus marine waters. Overall, the deeper (to 28. m), wider (700. m) characteristics of lake estates, and their incorporation of partial barriers to tidal exchange with natural reaches of estuaries, remove some of the hydrological concerns with very extensive canal estates. The shallow lake margins are habitat for a subset of fish species inhabiting adjacent natural wetlands. Where the lakes occupy space that was formerly land, this is novel habitat for fish. In place, however, where lakes have replaced natural wetlands, further comparisons of fish in lake and adjacent natural wetlands will be useful. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Cuttriss A.K.,Griffith University | Prince J.B.,Gold Coast Mail Center | Castley J.G.,Griffith University
Aquatic Botany | Year: 2013

Recent (2005) detailed assessments of seagrass meadow extent and pattern in Moreton Bay were compared with earlier assessments (1987 and 1995). Ground-truthing (2008/09) of the images confirmed an extent of 1208. ha, of mixed beds comprising six seagrass species (Zostera muelleri, Cymodocea serrulata, Halophila ovalis, Halophila spinulosa, Syringodium isoetifolium and Halodule uninervis). Repeated surveys revealed an increasing trend in seagrass coverage since 1987 but also that these habitats were becoming more fragmented. Mapping inconsistencies over time precluded the assessment of finer scale fragment expansion or contraction. Dredging, boating activities and ongoing coastal development are anticipated to be the primary drivers behind the fragmentation processes. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Waltham N.J.,Gold Coast Mail Center | Waltham N.J.,Griffith University | Teasdale P.R.,Griffith University | Connolly R.M.,Griffith University
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

There has been a widespread world-wide use of flathead mullet, Mugilcephalus, in fish biomonitor studies within the coastal zone. This review summarises this research field, focusing on heavy metals, and considers the implications of the accumulated data. Differences in sampling methodology, tissues analysed and units of reported data provide challenges in assessing and benchmarking these biomonitor studies. The benthic feeding strategy of M. cephalus invariably increases exposure risk relative to middle or upper water column feeders, nevertheless contaminant accumulation via direct and indirect pathways was regulated sufficiently such that toxicants were below food guidelines in most coastal regions (32 of the 49 examined). Human health issues can arise if fish are consumed from heavily industrialised regions. Recommendations are provided for future biomonitoring studies, based on the results for M. cephalus but relevant for fish species more broadly, to provide more comparable data so that managers can benchmark against local conditions. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Waltham N.J.,Gold Coast Mail Center | Waltham N.J.,Griffith University | Waltham N.J.,Koskela Group | Teasdale P.R.,Griffith University | Connolly R.M.,Griffith University
Journal of Environmental Monitoring | Year: 2011

Metal and pesticide contaminants were measured in water, sediment and fish species in various Gold Coast waterways, Queensland. With the exception of Cu, metal concentrations in water, measured using the diffuse gradients in a thin film (DGT) technique, complied with relevant Australian guidelines. Cu concentrations in these waterways have been related to recreational vessel activities previously. All sediment metal concentrations measured were below the national guidelines, although Cu, Zn and Pb were found to vary significantly between habitat types. Evidence of spikes in sediment pesticide concentrations (some banned over 50 years ago) was observed in some artificial residential waterways. Heavy metals and pesticides were measured in the tissue (muscle, gills and liver) of three economically important species of fish, with different feeding strategies (partly herbivore Arrhamphus sclerolepis, carnivore Acanthopagrus australis, detritivore Mugil cephalus). We tested the hypothesis that fish accumulate different amounts of contaminants from wetland habitats affected by different intensities of anthropogenic activities (i.e., marinas, artificial residential canals, artificial residential lakes, estuaries and natural, vegetated waterways). Significantly higher concentrations of Cu were found in the gills of each fish species from marinas compared to fish caught in other waterways. Furthermore, fish caught in canals had the second highest Cu and natural waterways the lowest. These results support the stated hypothesis for Cu and furthermore indicate that these fish species are suitable as biomonitors in estuarine waterways. Metal and pesticide concentrations in the edible muscle tissue of all fish complied with the Australian Food Standard Code recommended limits for human consumption, apart from As which is likely to be due to bioconcentration of lower toxicity organo-As species. These results indicate a low health risk for humans consuming fish, in terms of contaminant levels. The accumulated body of evidence on contaminants within Gold Coast waterways generally suggests that there are no major threats of metal or pesticide contamination, except for marina facilities which are a major source of Cu which also accumulates in fish. Water quality threats are also highlighted in residential canals, presumably as a consequence of their hydrological design. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Jordan M.A.,Griffith University | Welsh D.T.,Griffith University | John R.,Griffith University | Catterall K.,Gold Coast Mail Center | Teasdale P.R.,Griffith University
Water Research | Year: 2013

Representative and fast monitoring of wastewater influent and effluent biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is an elusive goal for the wastewater industry and regulatory bodies alike. The present study describes a suitable assay, which incorporates activated sludge as the biocatalyst and ferricyanide as the terminal electron acceptor for respiration. A number of different sludges and sludge treatments were investigated, primarily to improve the sensitivity of the assay. A limit of detection (LOD) (2.1 mg BOD5 L-1) very similar to that of the standard 5-day BOD5 method was achieved in 4 h using raw influent sludge that had been cultured overnight as the biocatalyst. Reducing the microbial concentration was the most effective means to improve sensitivity and reduce the contribution of the sludge's endogenous respiration to total ferricyanide-mediated (FM) respiration. A strong and highly significant relationship was found (n = 33; R = 0.96; p < 0.001; slope = 0.94) between BOD5 and FM-BOD equivalent values for a diverse range of samples including wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) influent and treated effluent, as well as several grey water samples. The activated sludge FM-BOD assay presented here is an exceptional surrogate method to the standard BOD5 assay, providing representative, same-day BOD analysis of WWTP samples with a comparable detection limit, a 4-fold greater analytical range and much faster analysis time. The industry appeal of such an assay is tremendous given that ∼90% of all BOD5 analysis is dedicated to measurement of WWTP samples, for which this assay is specifically designed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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