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The possible effects of peat mining on aquatic invertebrates in the Lake Muir Wetlands, Western Australia

DeHaan, Maureen (1986) The possible effects of peat mining on aquatic invertebrates in the Lake Muir Wetlands, Western Australia. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Small scale dry peat mining operations can have a significant environmental impact on peatland ecosystems. At present, peat mining operations are proposed for the Lake Muir Wetlands. These wetlands are part of a nature reserve which contains six new species of aquatic water mites. This study investigated the present aquatic invertebrate community structure in the Lake Muir Wetlands, and reviewed the relevant literature to determine the possible effects of peat mining on those invertebrates.

Three fen peatlands near Manjimup (Poorginup, Tordit-Gurrup and Byenup) were sampled in December 1985 and April 1986 to determine their water chemistry, and all three wetlands were found to be freshwater (0.1 - 7.0%0), circumneutral (pH 5-8) and meso-eutrophic. A total of 103 species of aquatic invertebrates were recorded with only eight species being common between the three wetlands. Indices of similarity demonstrated a definite dissimilarity between the three wetlands based on species richness. The class lnsecta dominate the invertebrate fauna, accounting for 72% of the total number of species recorded.

Species abundance/m3 showed a variation with season, and was lower in comparison to urban wetlands studied in Western Australia. Species diversity and evenness were also compared, with the Lake Muir Wetlands having a higher species diversity, but similar evenness.

Based on the literature reviewed there are numerous environmental impacts associated with the various stages of peat mining. The stages identified as most detrimental to aquatic invertebrates are the clearing and draining of the peatland. The potential effects of these two aspects of the mining operation on invertebrates are both direct and indirect. The potential adverse impacts of these disturbances on the Lake Muir aquatic invertebrates are proposed and possible causal mechanisms discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Murray, Frank and Davis, Jenny
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