Restoring dissolved organic carbon subsidies from floodplains to lowland river food webs: A role for environmental flows?

Darren S. Baldwin, Matthew J. Colloff, Simon M. Mitrovic, Nick R. Bond, Ben Wolfenden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Environmental flows are managed events in river systems designed to enhance the ecological condition of aquatic ecosystems. Although not traditionally seen as important in lowland rivers, there is mounting evidence that terrestrial subsidies can be an important energy source in aquatic metazoan food webs. We argue that the apparent lack of importance of terrestrial subsidies to many lowland river food webs may reflect an artefact resulting from historical anthropogenic changes to lowland river-floodplain ecosystems, including the loss of lateral connectivity between rivers and their floodplains, changes in floodplain land use and carbon stores, and loss of sites of transformation within the main channel. The loss of floodplain subsidies to the main river channel can be partially redressed using environmental flows; however, this will require mimicking important aspects of natural high-flow events that have hitherto been overlooked when targeting environmental flows to a limited suite of biota. We suggest that key biotic targets for environmental flow releases may not be achievable unless river-floodplain subsidies are sufficiently restored. Environmental flows can go some way to addressing this shortfall, but only if floodplain subsidies to river channels are explicitly included in the design and management of environmental flows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1399
Number of pages13
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Volume67
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Food Chain
subsidies
dissolved organic carbon
Rivers
floodplains
food webs
food web
floodplain
lowlands
Carbon
rivers
river
river channel
Ecosystem
design for environment
aquatic food webs
metazoan
Biota
subsidy
environmental management

Cite this

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title = "Restoring dissolved organic carbon subsidies from floodplains to lowland river food webs: A role for environmental flows?",
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Restoring dissolved organic carbon subsidies from floodplains to lowland river food webs : A role for environmental flows? / Baldwin, Darren S.; Colloff, Matthew J.; Mitrovic, Simon M.; Bond, Nick R.; Wolfenden, Ben.

In: Marine and Freshwater Research, Vol. 67, No. 9, 2016, p. 1387-1399.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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