Trophic Status

The trophic status of a coastal waterway refers to the rate at which organic matter is supplied [1]. Trophic status should not be confused with eutrophication which is an increase in the RATE of supply of organic matter. A preliminary trophic scheme has been proposed for Australian coastal waters based on relationships between carbon loading (i.e. measured by the carbon dioxide flux), denitrification efficiencies and benthic production/respiration ratios [2]:

  • oligotrophic (<48 mmol C m-2 d-1)
  • mesotrophic (48 – 96 mmol C m-2 d-1)
  • eutrophic (>96 – 144 mmol C m-2 d-1)
  • hypereutrophic (>144 mmol C m-2 d-1)
  1. Nixon, S.W. 1995. Coastal marine eutrophication: A definition, social causes, and future concerns. Ophelia 41, 199-219.
  2. Eyre, B. and A.J.P. Ferguson 2002. Sediment biogeochemical indicators for defining sustainable nutrient loads to coastal ecosystems, Proceedings of Coast to Coast 2002 – ‘Source to Sea’, Tweed Heads, pp. 101-104.
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