Adapting to climate change: A risk assessment and decision making framework for managing groundwater dependent ecosystems with declining water levels. Supporting document 5: The impact of declining groundwater levels on stygofauna communities in the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge Cave systems

Title Adapting to climate change: A risk assessment and decision making framework for managing groundwater dependent ecosystems with declining water levels. Supporting document 5: The impact of declining groundwater levels on stygofauna communities in the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge Cave systems
Publication TypeReport
Notes

Project Page   Final Report

Year of Publication2013
AuthorsChilcott, S
Pagination75
InstitutionNational Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
CityGold Coast
ISBN Number978-1-925039-39-9
Abstract

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDE’s) are intrinsically connected to rainfall and groundwater for survival. Many ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened due to the accelerating pressures of climate change and disturbances to connecting ecosystems. This thesis examined the structural changes of the Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC’s) living within the GDE of Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge (LNR) and Yanchep, Western Australia, as well as water quality of each of these cave systems. Multidimensional scaling, Simper analysis and BIOENV techniques were used to characterize and compare water quality, quantity and community structure. It was found that each cave contained a distinct faunal community contribution and that three caves of LNR were distinct in their ionic compositions. Factors that may have contributed to the biological and physical differentiation of these caves include the extensive evolutionary and hydrogeological development of each cave. Threats to cave systems were also identified, including climate change induced rainfall decline and anthropogenic stressors. Finally, management strategies for future conservation were suggested. Overall, reduced groundwater levels induced by rainfall decline seemed to have an important effect on cave TEC.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
X