Herbicides: A new threat to the Great Barrier Reef

Lewis, Stephen E., Brodie, Jon E., Bainbridge, Zoe T., Rohde, Ken W., Davis, Aaron M., Masters, Bronwyn L., Maughan, Mirjam, Devlin, Michelle J., Mueller, Jochen F. and Schaffelke, Britta (2009) Herbicides: A new threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental Pollution, 157 8-9: 2470-2484. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2009.03.006

Author Lewis, Stephen E.
Brodie, Jon E.
Bainbridge, Zoe T.
Rohde, Ken W.
Davis, Aaron M.
Masters, Bronwyn L.
Maughan, Mirjam
Devlin, Michelle J.
Mueller, Jochen F.
Schaffelke, Britta
Title Herbicides: A new threat to the Great Barrier Reef
Journal name Environmental Pollution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0269-7491
Publication date 2009-03-07
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.03.006
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 157
Issue 8-9
Start page 2470
End page 2484
Total pages 15
Editor W. Manning
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject C1
030199 Analytical Chemistry not elsewhere classified
050206 Environmental Monitoring
050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
Abstract The runoff of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) from agricultural lands is a key concern for the health of the iconic Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Relatively low levels of herbicide residues can reduce the productivity of marine plants and corals. However, the risk of these residues to Great Barrier Reef ecosystems has been poorly quantified due to a lack of large-scale datasets. Here we present results of a study tracing pesticide residues from rivers and creeks in three catchment regions to the adjacent marine environment. Several pesticides (mainly herbicides) were detected in both freshwater and coastal marine waters and were attributed to specific land uses in the catchment. Elevated herbicide concentrations were particularly associated with sugar cane cultivation in the adjacent catchment. We demonstrate that herbicides reach the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and may disturb sensitive marine ecosystems already affected by other pressures such as climate change. Herbicide residues have been detected in Great Barrier Reef catchment waterways and river water plumes which may affect marine ecosystems.
Keyword Great Barrier Reef
Pesticides - Environmental aspects
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Fri, 19 Jun 2009, 22:40:40 EST by Professor Jochen Mueller on behalf of National Res Centre For Environmental Toxicology