Port water quality monitoring

Introduction

Ports are essential for economic trade, and prosperity, and vital for the day-to-day function of modern society. Australia is an island nation, its national anthem proudly stating ‘our home is girt by sea’. Not surprisingly, over 99% of the country’s trade occurs through its coastal port facilities. Continued operation, maintenance and growth of our nation’s port infrastructure is critical in Australia continuing to compete in the global goods and services market, and to sustain a growing population for generations to come.

Marine water quality is often one of the primary drivers that is observed with seascape change.It is a key vector to understanding disturbance to a range of receptors, including benthic communities, nekton (fishes), megafauna and is of particular interest to the GBRWHA coral reef communities. The ability to integrate a range of information collected to examine the key environmental drivers of habitat change is fundamental to understanding and informing management in this complex environment.

TropWATER researchers are undertaking ambient marine water quality monitoring programs in major coastal port locations.  Using a combination of water quality sampling, biological sampling and high frequency water quality loggers positioned on the sea floor, long term data sets are providing important insight into the natural range in water quality conditions, which is assisting port authorities with long term management and planning.

This world class program allows us to align water quality monitoring in ports with data from other habitats (seagrass and coral) to assess changes in water condition nearby and away from port facilities.

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Further Reading

Waltham, N., McKenna, S., York, P., Devlin, M., Campbell, S., Rasheed, M., Da Silva, E., Petus, Ridd, P., 2015, ‘Port of Mackay and Hay Point Ambient Marine Water Quality Monitoring Program (July 2014 to July 2015), Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) Publication 15/16, James Cook University, Townsville, 96 pp.

Waltham N, Whinney J, Petus C, Ridd P 2016, ‘Port of Mackay and Hay Point Ambient Marine Water Quality Monitoring Program July 2015 to July 2016’, Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) Publication 16/54, James Cook University, Townsville, 121 pp.

Waltham N, Whinney J, Macdonald R, Ridd P 2017, ‘Port of Mackay and Hay Point Ambient Marine Water Quality Monitoring Program July 2016 to July 2017’, Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) Publication 17/44, James Cook University, Townsville, 121 pp.

Contact

Nathan Waltham ProfileDr Nathan Waltham

Email:Nathan.waltham@jcu.edu.au

Phone:+61 7 4781 4191

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