Fertilizer research

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 105–114 | Cite as

Eutrophic waters of southwestern Australia

  • A. J. McComb
  • J. A. Davis


Water bodies in coastal areas of southwestern Australia are predisposed to eutrophication. The sandy soils of the catchments retain nutrients poorly, streamflow is highly seasonal, most freshwater wetlands are small and shallow, and the estuaries are poorly flushed. Nearshore waters lack the conventional upwelling of other coastal regions in these latitudes. Consequences include increased macroalgal growth and phytoplankton blooms, especially of cyanobacteria, and loss of seagrasses. Changes to fish and invertebrate populations result both from increased algal production and low oxygen concentrations. Algal toxins and outbreaks of botulism have caused waterbird casualties. Phosphorus is especially important in controlling plant biomass in freshwater wetlands and estuaries, and N in some wetlands and coastal embayments. In the examples reviewed here nutrients are derived mainly from fertilizer applications in catchments and rural industries, and from sewage and individual discharges to coastal waters.

Key words

eutrophication phosphorus algae cyanobacteria seagrasses plankton benthic fauna 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. McComb
    • 1
  • J. A. Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological and Environmental SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia

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