Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 191–202 | Cite as

Relative effects of local and landscape factors on wetland algal biomass over a salinity gradient

  • Belinda Cant
  • Ralph Mac Nally
  • James R. Thomson
  • John Beardall
Research Article


Wetlands in south-eastern Australia and other arid regions of the world are experiencing increases in salinity due to dryland salinization and climate change. We investigated changes in wetland ecological function, measured as phytoplankton and benthic algal Chl a, over a large salinity gradient (0.047–226 mS cm−1) and in relation to several local water chemistry variables that may be important predictors of algal biomass. We investigated the relative importance of landscape variables that may affect input pollution and hydrology of wetlands at four spatial scales (100, 500, 1,000 and 5000 m). We explored the strength and form of the relationships between algal biomass and local and landscape predictors with emphasis on the effects of local and landscape salinity. We found local variables were more important than landscape variables in influencing algal biomass. We also found salinity of wetlands was not a good predictor of phytoplankton biomass but it did predict benthic algal biomass.


Wetlands Landscape Salinity Algae Bayesian model selection 



This research was supported by multi-regional National Action Plan funding (Project number 202167). BLC held a Monash “Ten off the Top” Postgraduate Scholarship for areas of research priority. The research was made possible by the support and cooperation of Greening Australia and private landowners: David and Jillie Deane, John Anderson, Toni Mahoney and the Mahoney family. Thanks to Sheila Hamilton-Brown, Eve West, Bronwyn Burger, Alister Cant, Margaret Cooper and Hamish McKindlay for field assistance. This is publication #189 from the Australian Centre for Biodiversity, Monash University.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belinda Cant
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ralph Mac Nally
    • 1
  • James R. Thomson
    • 1
  • John Beardall
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian Centre for Biodiversity, School of Biological SciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Sustainability and EnvironmentArthur Rylah Institute for Environmental ResearchHeidelbergAustralia

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