Conference Proceedings

Industrial past, urban future: using palaeo-studies to determine the industrial legacy of the Barwon Estuary, Victoria, Australia

JM Reeves, PA Gell, SM Reichman, AJ Trewarn, A Zawadzki



Around the globe, heavy industry has often been associated with estuaries, which provide water for operations, waste disposal and navigation. Many of these practices leave a legacy of contamination, which accumulate in the estuaries, which act as sediment sinks. Heavy metal contaminants may remain buried, even after the industrial practices are ceased. The Connewarre Complex is a series of wetlands, within the Port Philip and Bellarine Ramsar site. Through a unique combination of techniques, including diatom assemblages, biogeochemistry (δ13C, δ15N, C/N) and heavy metal content, the major anthropogenic influences over the last 170 years and the biotic response has been determined. Key featur..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by AINSE grant ALNGRA

Awarded by Directorate For Geosciences; Division Of Earth Sciences

Funding Acknowledgements

Diatom counting and C2 plotting was undertaken by Rosie Grundell, Federation University, and Will Sadler, 4th year student at RMIT, undertook the initial metals analysis. We are grateful to Ian McLachlan and Laurence McGain for assistance with fieldwork, and Stuart Willsher, Parks Victoria, for access to the site. Peter Dahlhaus participated in very fruitful discussions on the history of the region and groundwater implications. We are grateful to the researchers at the Environmental Analysis Laboratory, Southern Cross University and ANSTO for isotope, dating and metal analyses. We are grateful also for the comments of Melanie Riedinger-Whitmore and an anonymous reviewer, which substantially improved the manuscript. This research was supported by AINSE grant ALNGRA 10085. The support of PAGES is acknowledged in supporting the conference 'Ramsar Wetlands: Understanding Change in Ecological Character', at which this research was presented.