Herbicide contamination and the potential impact to seagrass meadows in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences / Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Low concentrations of herbicides (up to 70 ng l−1), chiefly diuron (up to 50 ng l−1) were detected in surface waters associated with inter-tidal seagrass meadows of Zostera muelleri in Hervey Bay, south-east Queensland, Australia. Diuron and atrazine (up to 1.1 ng g−1 dry weight of sediment) were detected in the sediments of these seagrass meadows. Concentration of the herbicides diuron, simazine and atrazine increased in surface waters associated with seagrass meadows during moderate river flow events indicating herbicides were washed from the catchment to the marine environment. Maximum herbicide concentration (sum of eight herbicides) in the Mary River during a moderate river flow event was 4260 ng l−1. No photosynthetic stress was detected in seagrass in this study during low river flow. However, with moderate river flow events, nearshore seagrasses are at risk of being exposed to concentrations of herbicides that are known to inhibit photosynthesis.