A review of the ecology and management of temporarily open/closed estuaries in South Africa, with particular emphasis on river flow and mouth state as primary drivers of these systems

  • AK Whitfield
  • GC Bate
  • JB Adams
  • PD Cowley
  • PW Froneman
  • PT Gama
  • NA Strydom
  • S Taljaard
  • AK Theron
  • JK Turpie
  • L van Niekerk
  • TH Wooldridge

Abstract

Research in South African temporarily open/closed estuaries that includes studies on the hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics, macronutrients, microalgae, macrophytes, zoobenthos, hyperbenthos, zooplankton, ichthyoplankton, fishes and birds is used as a basis to review the ecology and management of this estuary type on the subcontinent. Particular attention is given to the responses of the different ecosystem components to the opening and closing of the estuary mouth and how this is driven by riverine and marine events, as well as anthropogenic influences. In addition, the wider implications of these research findings for the management of temporarily open/closed estuaries in terms of freshwater supply are explored, together with the role of government legislation in maintaining the ecological integrity of these important wetland systems.

Keywords: birds, estuarine ecology, fish, hyperbenthos, macrophytes, microalgae, sediments, zoobenthos, zooplankton

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(2): 163–180

Author Biographies

AK Whitfield
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
GC Bate
Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 7700, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
JB Adams
Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 7700, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
PD Cowley
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
PW Froneman
Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
PT Gama
Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 7700, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
NA Strydom
Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 7700, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
S Taljaard
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
AK Theron
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
JK Turpie
South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
L van Niekerk
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
TH Wooldridge
Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 7700, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X