Effects of dredging on critical ecological processes for marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, and the potential for management with environmental windows using Western Australia as a case study

Matthew W. Fraser, Jessie Short, Gary Kendrick, Dianne McLean, John Keesing, Maria Byrne, M. Julian Caley, Doug Clarke, Andrew R. Davis, Paul L A Erftemeijer, Stuart Field, Sam Gustin-Craig, John Huisman, Mick Keough, Paul S. Lavery, Ray Masini, Kathryn McMahon, Kerrie Mengersen, Michael Rasheed, John Statton & 2 others Jim Stoddart, Paul Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dredging can have significant impacts on benthic marine organisms through mechanisms such as sedimentation and reduction in light availability as a result of increased suspension of sediments. Phototrophic marine organisms and those with limited mobility are particularly at risk from the effects of dredging. The potential impacts of dredging on benthic species depend on biological processes including feeding mechanism, mobility, life history characteristics (LHCs), stage of development and environmental conditions. Environmental windows (EWs) are a management technique in which dredging activities are permitted during specific periods throughout the year; avoiding periods of increased vulnerability for particular organisms in specific locations. In this review we identify these critical ecological processes for temperate and tropical marine benthic organisms; and examine if EWs could be used to mitigate dredging impacts using Western Australia (WA) as a case study. We examined LHCs for a range of marine taxa and identified, where possible, their vulnerability to dredging. Large gaps in knowledge exist for the timing of LHCs for major species of marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, increasing uncertainty around their vulnerability to an increase in suspended sediments or light attenuation. We conclude that there is currently insufficient scientific basis to justify the adoption of generic EWs for dredging operations in WA for any group of organisms other than corals and possibly for temperate seagrasses. This is due to; 1) the temporal and spatial variation in the timing of known critical life history stages of different species; and 2) our current level of knowledge and understanding of the critical life history stages and characteristics for most taxa and for most areas being largely inadequate to justify any meaningful EW selection. As such, we suggest that EWs are only considered on a case-by-case basis to protect ecologically or economically important species for which sufficient location-specific information is available, with consideration of probable exposures associated with a given mode of dredging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume78
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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dredging
Western Australia
macroalgae
invertebrate
invertebrates
case studies
life history
vulnerability
organisms
feeding mechanism
light attenuation
seagrasses
effect
Life history
Organism
light availability
benthic organisms
biological processes
suspended sediment
temporal variation

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Fraser, Matthew W. ; Short, Jessie ; Kendrick, Gary ; McLean, Dianne ; Keesing, John ; Byrne, Maria ; Caley, M. Julian ; Clarke, Doug ; Davis, Andrew R. ; Erftemeijer, Paul L A ; Field, Stuart ; Gustin-Craig, Sam ; Huisman, John ; Keough, Mick ; Lavery, Paul S. ; Masini, Ray ; McMahon, Kathryn ; Mengersen, Kerrie ; Rasheed, Michael ; Statton, John ; Stoddart, Jim ; Wu, Paul. / Effects of dredging on critical ecological processes for marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, and the potential for management with environmental windows using Western Australia as a case study. In: Ecological Indicators. 2017 ; Vol. 78. pp. 229-242.
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abstract = "Dredging can have significant impacts on benthic marine organisms through mechanisms such as sedimentation and reduction in light availability as a result of increased suspension of sediments. Phototrophic marine organisms and those with limited mobility are particularly at risk from the effects of dredging. The potential impacts of dredging on benthic species depend on biological processes including feeding mechanism, mobility, life history characteristics (LHCs), stage of development and environmental conditions. Environmental windows (EWs) are a management technique in which dredging activities are permitted during specific periods throughout the year; avoiding periods of increased vulnerability for particular organisms in specific locations. In this review we identify these critical ecological processes for temperate and tropical marine benthic organisms; and examine if EWs could be used to mitigate dredging impacts using Western Australia (WA) as a case study. We examined LHCs for a range of marine taxa and identified, where possible, their vulnerability to dredging. Large gaps in knowledge exist for the timing of LHCs for major species of marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, increasing uncertainty around their vulnerability to an increase in suspended sediments or light attenuation. We conclude that there is currently insufficient scientific basis to justify the adoption of generic EWs for dredging operations in WA for any group of organisms other than corals and possibly for temperate seagrasses. This is due to; 1) the temporal and spatial variation in the timing of known critical life history stages of different species; and 2) our current level of knowledge and understanding of the critical life history stages and characteristics for most taxa and for most areas being largely inadequate to justify any meaningful EW selection. As such, we suggest that EWs are only considered on a case-by-case basis to protect ecologically or economically important species for which sufficient location-specific information is available, with consideration of probable exposures associated with a given mode of dredging.",
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Effects of dredging on critical ecological processes for marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, and the potential for management with environmental windows using Western Australia as a case study. / Fraser, Matthew W.; Short, Jessie; Kendrick, Gary; McLean, Dianne; Keesing, John; Byrne, Maria; Caley, M. Julian; Clarke, Doug; Davis, Andrew R.; Erftemeijer, Paul L A; Field, Stuart; Gustin-Craig, Sam; Huisman, John; Keough, Mick; Lavery, Paul S.; Masini, Ray; McMahon, Kathryn; Mengersen, Kerrie; Rasheed, Michael; Statton, John; Stoddart, Jim; Wu, Paul.

In: Ecological Indicators, Vol. 78, 01.07.2017, p. 229-242.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AU - Fraser, Matthew W.

AU - Short, Jessie

AU - Kendrick, Gary

AU - McLean, Dianne

AU - Keesing, John

AU - Byrne, Maria

AU - Caley, M. Julian

AU - Clarke, Doug

AU - Davis, Andrew R.

AU - Erftemeijer, Paul L A

AU - Field, Stuart

AU - Gustin-Craig, Sam

AU - Huisman, John

AU - Keough, Mick

AU - Lavery, Paul S.

AU - Masini, Ray

AU - McMahon, Kathryn

AU - Mengersen, Kerrie

AU - Rasheed, Michael

AU - Statton, John

AU - Stoddart, Jim

AU - Wu, Paul

PY - 2017/7/1

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N2 - Dredging can have significant impacts on benthic marine organisms through mechanisms such as sedimentation and reduction in light availability as a result of increased suspension of sediments. Phototrophic marine organisms and those with limited mobility are particularly at risk from the effects of dredging. The potential impacts of dredging on benthic species depend on biological processes including feeding mechanism, mobility, life history characteristics (LHCs), stage of development and environmental conditions. Environmental windows (EWs) are a management technique in which dredging activities are permitted during specific periods throughout the year; avoiding periods of increased vulnerability for particular organisms in specific locations. In this review we identify these critical ecological processes for temperate and tropical marine benthic organisms; and examine if EWs could be used to mitigate dredging impacts using Western Australia (WA) as a case study. We examined LHCs for a range of marine taxa and identified, where possible, their vulnerability to dredging. Large gaps in knowledge exist for the timing of LHCs for major species of marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, increasing uncertainty around their vulnerability to an increase in suspended sediments or light attenuation. We conclude that there is currently insufficient scientific basis to justify the adoption of generic EWs for dredging operations in WA for any group of organisms other than corals and possibly for temperate seagrasses. This is due to; 1) the temporal and spatial variation in the timing of known critical life history stages of different species; and 2) our current level of knowledge and understanding of the critical life history stages and characteristics for most taxa and for most areas being largely inadequate to justify any meaningful EW selection. As such, we suggest that EWs are only considered on a case-by-case basis to protect ecologically or economically important species for which sufficient location-specific information is available, with consideration of probable exposures associated with a given mode of dredging.

AB - Dredging can have significant impacts on benthic marine organisms through mechanisms such as sedimentation and reduction in light availability as a result of increased suspension of sediments. Phototrophic marine organisms and those with limited mobility are particularly at risk from the effects of dredging. The potential impacts of dredging on benthic species depend on biological processes including feeding mechanism, mobility, life history characteristics (LHCs), stage of development and environmental conditions. Environmental windows (EWs) are a management technique in which dredging activities are permitted during specific periods throughout the year; avoiding periods of increased vulnerability for particular organisms in specific locations. In this review we identify these critical ecological processes for temperate and tropical marine benthic organisms; and examine if EWs could be used to mitigate dredging impacts using Western Australia (WA) as a case study. We examined LHCs for a range of marine taxa and identified, where possible, their vulnerability to dredging. Large gaps in knowledge exist for the timing of LHCs for major species of marine invertebrates, seagrasses and macroalgae, increasing uncertainty around their vulnerability to an increase in suspended sediments or light attenuation. We conclude that there is currently insufficient scientific basis to justify the adoption of generic EWs for dredging operations in WA for any group of organisms other than corals and possibly for temperate seagrasses. This is due to; 1) the temporal and spatial variation in the timing of known critical life history stages of different species; and 2) our current level of knowledge and understanding of the critical life history stages and characteristics for most taxa and for most areas being largely inadequate to justify any meaningful EW selection. As such, we suggest that EWs are only considered on a case-by-case basis to protect ecologically or economically important species for which sufficient location-specific information is available, with consideration of probable exposures associated with a given mode of dredging.

KW - Dredging

KW - Environmental windows

KW - Invertebrates

KW - Macroalgae

KW - Marine biota

KW - Seagrass

KW - Sedimentation

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U2 - 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.03.026

DO - 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.03.026

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