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Samphire marshes of the Peel-Harvey estuarine system Western Australia

McComb, A.J., Kobryn, H.T.ORCID: 0000-0003-1004-7593 and Latchford, J.A. (eds) (1995) Samphire marshes of the Peel-Harvey estuarine system Western Australia. Peel Preservation Group and Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

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The Peel-Harvey saltmarshes are important locally and regionally, because they support extensive food web and act as a biological filter for the receiving waters. This study was undertaken to examine the ecology and extent of saltmarshes of the Peel-Harvey. The extent and composition of the samphire saltmarshes was investigated over the period of 37 years (from 1957 to 1994), using aerial photography over the whole estuary, and detailed field surveys at ten sites. Saltmarshes within the Peel-Harvey estuary are declining both in quality and quantity. The greatest areal loss has occurred outside reserve areas. The loss of samphire from the Creery wetlands presents an urgent case for management consideration due to the proximity to urban development and development pressures in general and also because this area represents one of the largest remaining contiguous areas of samphire.

Within the saltmarshes of the Peel-Harvey there was a distinct zonation of plant complexes, and trends in the distribution of saltmarsh communities along transects, thought to be related to tidal inundation.

The complexes found in the Peel-Harvey display a clear relationship with the percentage of annual tidal inundation received. It is believed that not only are there likely to be changes in the extent of vegetation complexes with changing water regimes resulting from the Dawesville Channel, there is expected to be different changes affecting most species, and thus communities, within the saltmarsh.

The study of invertebrates of the saltmarshes of the Peel-Harvey revealed a broad range of animals. The impact of the Dawesville Channel upon the saltmarshes and invertebrate assemblages of the Peel-Harvey Estuary is difficult to predict and remains to be determined.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Peel Preservation Group and Murdoch University
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