Herbicides: a new threat to the Great Barrier Reef

Lewis, Stephen E, Brodie, Jon E, Bainbridge, Zoë T, Rohde, Ken W, Davis, Aaron M, Masters, Bronwyn L, Maughan, Mirjam, Devlin, Michelle J ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2194-2534, Mueller, Jochen F and Schaffelke, Britta (2009) Herbicides: a new threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental Pollution, 157 (8-9). pp. 2470-2484. ISSN 0269-7491

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: great barrier reef,herbicides,diuron,atrazine,pesticides,sdg 13 - climate action,sdg 14 - life below water,sdg 15 - life on land ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2016 00:37
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2023 16:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/60140
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.03.006

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