Using macroinvertebrates to determine water quality in the Mulloon Creek catchment

Although many studies have examined macroinvertebrates in Australia (e.g. Thomson et al., 2012, Verkaik et al., 2014), few studies have considered the smaller catchments that may change as farming practices change.  The review by Lester and Boulton (2008) on placing timber into the waterways of agricultural streams was one of the rare papers to indicate ways of improving the water conditions following many years of agricultural activity.  However, no studies in Australia have reported how water quality changes over time with restoration of agricultural landscapes, although a large literature exists in North America regarding the same question.  In this project, the student would be following-up work from a study carried out in 2015-16 to determine how water quality has changed with various projects that the landholders have undertaken since then.  The work would combine physic-chemical characterisation of the water and compare those measurements with the macroinvertebrates that are present to develop an understanding of how the environmental conditions can affect an invertebrate community.  As macroinvertebrates respond to the water characteristics, the community structure can be translated into a better understanding of the water quality.


Luke Peel and Peter Hazell of The Mulloon Institute