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Aquatic macrophytes of the Macquarie and South Esk Rivers, Tasmania


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Chappell, KJ 2000 , 'Aquatic macrophytes of the Macquarie and South Esk Rivers, Tasmania', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Aquatic macrophytes are the flowering plants and larger algae growing submerged in or
emerging from water. Macrophytes are an essential component of riverine ecosystems: they
produce oxygen, filter out sediments and pollutants and provide habitat and food sources for
invertebrates, fish and mammals. The Macquarie and South Esk Rivers in Tasmania are the
largest rivers of the northern central plain, and are unique in Tasmania in having long stretches
of relatively stable and abundant macrophytic vegetation along their mid- to lower reaches.
The macrophyte communities of the mid- to lower reaches of the two rivers are described by
classification into groups with similar species composition. Significant environmental
variation between groups is determined. Depth, substrate type and distance upstream are the
environmental factors most strongly associated with variation between the distribution of
individual species/species assemblages. Distance upstream, percentage shading, river form,
stream width, substrate type and bank height are the factors most strongly associated with
variation between groups of sites.
Bank vegetation type, distance upstream, percentage shading, level of stock damage and stream
width are found to be the environmental factors most strongly associated with differences in
richness and diversity. Percentage shading and bank vegetation type are the factors most
strongly associated with differences in cover. The two rivers are found to differ significantly
in percentage cover and total species richness. The associated environmental factors that vary
significantly between the rivers are percentage shading, bank height, bank vegetation type,
level of stock damage and stream width. The species rich and abundant macrophyte communities in the mid-reaches of the Macquarie
River and in some parts of the South Esk are found to have high conservation value. A
vulnerable marginal species, Persicaria decipiens, is also of high conservation value. Willow
infestation and changes to flow regimes or water quality are seen as being the greatest threats
to these communities. The importance of management of stock access to river edges and the
potential value of buffer zones are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Chappell, KJ
Keywords: Aquatic plants, Aquatic plants, Freshwater algae, Freshwater algae
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2000 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Env.Mgt )--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

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