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The benthic macrofauna of sludge-affected sediments in the Derwent Estuary, southern Tasmania

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Horwitz, P and Blake, G (1992) The benthic macrofauna of sludge-affected sediments in the Derwent Estuary, southern Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 126. pp. 67-72. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

The paper reports the findings ofan extensive survey of benthic invertebrates from the Derwent estuary in southern Tasmania, sampled during an investigation into the distribution and character of sludge emanating from a pulp and paper factory. In total, 45 invertebrate species were collected, but none was found in the sediment in the river channel berween the pulpmill (its effluent outfall) and a site 5 km downstream. Similarly, other sediments with wood fibre present (measured by loss on ignition) and with very negative redox values were faunistically depauperate and possessed much lower species richness than that anticipated from other studies in Australia. The sediments in shallow areas in the middle part of the estuary had very high densities of invertebrates and had less mechanical wood fibre than sediments in deeper water nearby or other sediments further downstream. These results suggest that smothering by wood fibre, with concomitant toxicological effects of chemical reactions in the sediment, results in the low invertebrate diversities observed. These findings must be tempered by the methodological limitations involved with the selection of sample sites and lack of seasonal data, which have prevented definitive statements from being made about the level of environmental stress being experienced in the lower parts of the estuary.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 67-72
ISSN: 0080-4703
Additional Information: Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 23 May 2012 02:14
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:34
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13729
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