A synthesis of dominant ecological processes in intensive shrimp ponds and adjacent coastal environments in NE Australia
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One of the key environmental concerns about shrimp farming is the discharge of waters with high levels of nutrients and suspended solids into adjacent waterways. In this paper we synthesize the results of our multidisciplinary research linking ecological processes in intensive shrimp ponds with their downstream impacts in tidal, mangrove-lined creeks. The incorporation of process measurements and bioindicators, in addition to water quality measurements, improved our understanding of the effect of shrimp farm discharges on the ecological health of the receiving water bodies. Changes in water quality parameters were an oversimplification of the ecological effects of water discharges, and use of key measures including primary production rates, phytoplankton responses to nutrients, community shifts in zooplankton and d15N ratios in marine plants have the potential to provide more integrated and robust measures. Ultimately, reduction in nutrient discharges is most likely to ensure the future sustainability of the industry.
Marine Pollution Bulletin
© 2003 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.