Coral core records of discharge, land use change and pollutant loads in the Great Barrier Reef


Coring in a massive Porites coral

Members of the Catchment to Reef Research group (CRRG) use coral core records to investigate long-term changes in river discharge throughout the Holocene using luminescence as well as to examine changes in terrestrial runoff using trace metal records. A CRRG staff member was recently involved in studies which reconstructed annual Burdekin River discharge back to 1648 AD and examined Burdekin discharge variability 6000 years ago. The group take an active role in investigating the utility of using trace metal and isotopes in massive coral skeletons to reconstruct sediment loads.

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Further Reading

Lewis, S.E. Brodie, J.E. McCulloch, M.T. Malella, J. Jupiter, S.D. Stuart-Williams, H. Lough, J.M. Matson, E.G. 2012. An assessment of an environmental gradient using coral geochemical records, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 65, 306-319.

Lewis, S.E. Shields, G.A. Kamber, B.S. Lough, J.M. 2007. A multi-trace element coral record of land-use changes in the Burdekin River catchment, NE Australia. Palaeogeograpahy, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 246: 471-487.

Lough, J.M. Lewis, S.E. Cantin, N.E. 2015. Freshwater impacts in the central Great Barrier Reef: 1648-2011. Coral Reefs 34, 739-751.

Lough, J.M. Llewellyn, L. E. Lewis, S.E. Turney, C.S.M. Palmer, J.G. Cook, C.G. Hogg, A.G. 2014. Evidence for suppressed mid-Holocene northeastern Australian monsoon variability from coral luminescence. Paleoceanography, 29, doi:10.1002/2014PA002630

Mallela, J. Lewis, S.E. Croke, B. 2013. Coral skeletons provide historical evidence of phosphorus runoff on the Great Barrier Reef. PlosOne 8, e75663.

Reeves, J.M. Bostock, H.C. Ayliffe, L.K. Barrows, T.T. De Deckker, P. Devriendt, L.S. Dunbar, G.B. Drysdale, R.N. Fitzsimmons, K.E. Gagan, M.K. Griffiths, M.L. Haberle, S.G. Jansen, J.D. Krause, C.E. Lewis, S. McGregor, H.V. Mooney, S.D. Moss, P. Nanson, G. Purcell, A. van der Kaars, S. 2013. Palaeoenvironmental change in tropical Australasia over the last 30 000 years- A synthesis by the OZ-INTIMATE group. Quaternary Science Reviews 74, 97-114.


Dr Stephen Lewis

Phone: +61 7 4781 6629


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