Journal article

A multi-model approach to assessing the impacts of catchment characteristics on spatial water quality in the Great Barrier Reef catchments

Shuci Liu, Dongryeol Ryu, J Angus Webb, Anna Lintern, Danlu Guo, David Waters, Andrew W Western



Water quality monitoring programs often collect large amounts of data with limited attention given to the assessment of the dominant drivers of spatial and temporal water quality variations at the catchment scale. This study uses a multi-model approach: a) to identify the influential catchment characteristics affecting spatial variability in water quality; and b) to predict spatial variability in water quality more reliably and robustly. Tropical catchments in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) area, Australia, were used as a case study. We developed statistical models using 58 catchment characteristics to predict the spatial variability in water quality in 32 GBR catchments. An exhaustive search ..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Australian Research Council (LP140100495), the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Bureau of Meteorology and Queensland Department of Resources. The author would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science who provided the water quality monitoring data. The authors would also like to offer sincere gratitude to Ms. Jie Jian for her assistance in geospatial database compilation. Dr. Paul Leahy, Mr. Malcolm Watson, Dr. Ulrike Bende-Michl, Mr. Paul Wilson, and Ms. Belinda Thompson all provided valuable advice in the preparation of this manuscript. Water quality data (derived site-level averaged EMC) and catchment characteristics data used for the statistical analyses in this paper has been uploaded on the University of Melbourne research data repository ( with the following DOI: of these catchment characteristics are provided in Table S7 in Supplementary Material.