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Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Poole Harbour water quality and the implications for estuary management

Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Poole Harbour water quality and the implications for estuary management
Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Poole Harbour water quality and the implications for estuary management
Eutrophication and sedimentation affect estuaries globally as catchments are developed by humans and sea levels rise. Estuaries are complex open systems with lag times between environmental cause and effect that may be longer than is identifiable using available instrumental data series which span fewer than 50 years. Managers are often faced with short term datasets and modelling studies to develop strategies to govern these systems which potentially do not capture the long term complex processes of the system. Longer term datasets which monitor environmental change may improve understanding of estuary biogeochemistry and ecosystem responses.

This thesis uses palaeoenvironmental techniques to reconstruct the last ca. 150 years of nutrient and ecological development of Poole Harbour, southern England. There is established concern regarding eutrophication due to a range of human activities. Managers are challenged with setting limits to macronutrient supply that will not adversely affect the estuarine ecosystem, though unambiguous data supporting the process of eutrophication has yet to be presented.

Results showed that agricultural practices post WWII increased sediment and nutrient delivery to the estuary, consequently increasing sediment accumulation rates and promoting algal growth. Pigment and geochemical evidence indicates eutrophication of the estuary post ca. 2000 AD. A water quality indicator proxy was developed which demonstrated a lag time of ca. 20-30 years between catchment drivers and water quality decline. The importance of lag times and step-change behaviour within the Poole Harbour system are stressed as being critical in the formulation of future management interventions.
University of Southampton
Crossley, Laura Helen
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Crossley, Laura Helen
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Langdon, Peter
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Sear, David
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Dearing, John
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Crossley, Laura Helen (2019) Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Poole Harbour water quality and the implications for estuary management. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 331pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Eutrophication and sedimentation affect estuaries globally as catchments are developed by humans and sea levels rise. Estuaries are complex open systems with lag times between environmental cause and effect that may be longer than is identifiable using available instrumental data series which span fewer than 50 years. Managers are often faced with short term datasets and modelling studies to develop strategies to govern these systems which potentially do not capture the long term complex processes of the system. Longer term datasets which monitor environmental change may improve understanding of estuary biogeochemistry and ecosystem responses.

This thesis uses palaeoenvironmental techniques to reconstruct the last ca. 150 years of nutrient and ecological development of Poole Harbour, southern England. There is established concern regarding eutrophication due to a range of human activities. Managers are challenged with setting limits to macronutrient supply that will not adversely affect the estuarine ecosystem, though unambiguous data supporting the process of eutrophication has yet to be presented.

Results showed that agricultural practices post WWII increased sediment and nutrient delivery to the estuary, consequently increasing sediment accumulation rates and promoting algal growth. Pigment and geochemical evidence indicates eutrophication of the estuary post ca. 2000 AD. A water quality indicator proxy was developed which demonstrated a lag time of ca. 20-30 years between catchment drivers and water quality decline. The importance of lag times and step-change behaviour within the Poole Harbour system are stressed as being critical in the formulation of future management interventions.

Text
Laura Crossley PhD thesis final copy - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 March 2020.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.

More information

Published date: July 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 429023
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429023
PURE UUID: e44a0d53-0dcb-49ed-a79e-bb7fc0bbcab3
ORCID for Peter Langdon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2643
ORCID for David Sear: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0191-6179
ORCID for John Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 20 Mar 2019 01:37

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Contributors

Thesis advisor: Peter Langdon ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: David Sear ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: John Dearing ORCID iD

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