Benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in remediated wetlands around Sydney, Australia
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To investigate potential high organisational level impacts of persistent organic pollution in the wetlands in the Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) remediated site, the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages of seven wetlands within SOP and two off-site reference wetlands were examined. Sediment cores were collected, stained and preserved from each study site and the macroinvertebrates identified to the appropriate taxonomic level (Class, Order, Family, Subfamily). Data were analysed for taxon richness and macroinvertebrate abundance and multivariate techniques were used to identify chemical/physical characteristics of the sediment, which were important influences on the differences in the assemblage between study sites. Macroinvertebrate abundance was highly variable between study sites and taxon richness was low across all sites. Oligochaetes, nematodes, ostracods and chironomids were the most common taxa found and were the most important in influencing differences between the macroinvertebrate assemblages among the study sites.Sediment grain size and chemical characteristics of the sediments (ΣPAH, ΣPCB, TCDDeq and heavy metal concentrations) were important in separating the study sites based on taxon richness and abundance. Canonical correspondence analysis separated the macroinvertebrate assemblages at newly two created wetlands from those at other study sites including the urban reference sites. Increased sediment POP contamination (particularly as measured TCDDeq and ΣDDT concentrations) is a likely contributor in excluding pollution sensitive taxa and, therefore, alterations to benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Further, the influence of TOC suggests the significance of catchment inputs in contributing to changes in macroinvertebrate assemblage. The SOP remediation led to the establishment of wetlands with benthic communities representative of those expected in urban wetlands.
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