Incorporating microbes into environmental monitoring and mine closure programs: River diversions as test beds
Proceedings of the IMWA 2019 Conference - “Mine water: Technological and Ecological Challenges”
School of Science
Microbes are rarely part of river assessment and mine closure programs because their ecology is complex and methods are not standardised. The aims of this paper are to 1) develop standardised collection and analysis protocols for riverine microbes, 2) determine if microbial communities correlate to environmental condition in mine-affected rivers, and 3) apply the ‘system variability’ closure approach to microbes. In two Australian rivers, the user-friendly collection protocol was tested on benthic and pelagic assemblages and pebble biofilms. Benthic and pelagic microbial assemblages varied spatially and temporally which correlated with environmental variables. However, more research is needed before microbes are incorporated into monitoring and closure.