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Type: Journal article
Title: The palaeolimnological record from lake Cullulleraine, lower Murray River (south-east Australia): implications for understanding riverine histories
Author: Fluin, J.
Tibby, J.
Gell, P.
Citation: Journal of Paleolimnology, 2010; 43(2):309-322
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0921-2728
Statement of
Jennie Fluin, John Tibby and Peter Gell
Abstract: Australia’s largest river system, the Murray-Darling Basin, is the focus of scientific and political attention, due mainly to the competing issues of economic productivity versus environmental flows. Central to this dialogue is the need to know about the Basin’s natural condition and the degree to which the system has deviated from this pre-disturbance, baseline status. This study examines the patterns of ecological change in Lake Cullulleraine, a permanently connected artificial wetland adjacent to Lock Nine on the Murray River, south-east Australia. A 43-cm sediment core was collected in January 1998 and diatoms were analysed at 1-cm intervals for use as aquatic ecological indicators. The sediment core was dated using ²¹⁰Pb. Changes in the diatom community have occurred since the time of lake formation in 1926, particularly shifts between Aulacoseira subborealis, Staurosira construens var. venter, Aulacoseira granulata, Staurosirella pinnata and Pseudostaurosira brevistriata. An electrical conductivity (EC) transfer function was applied to the fossil diatom assemblages and inferred EC values were compared to long-term, historical EC data from the River. Despite the presence of good analogues between fossil and modern diatom assemblages, inferred EC did not reflect measured EC accurately. In recent decades, patterns in the two data sets were reversed. Despite clear changes in the fossil record, quantitative palaeo-environmental interpretation was limited because the dominant taxa occupy broad ecological niches. Despite these limitations, changes in the Lake Cullulleraine record, particularly in the planktonic taxa, can be interpreted in terms of landscape change. Furthermore, because of the good chronology from the site, the record may be useful for dating changes observed in sites with poor chronological control.
Keywords: Palaeoecology; Diatoms; Murray river; Autecology
RMID: 0020091421
DOI: 10.1007/s10933-009-9333-8
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute publications

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