Supervisor: Associate Professor Tim Langtry (UTS), Dr Barbara Robson (CSIRO)
The Fitzroy River is one of the largest rivers feeding into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. A sophisticated three-dimensional model of hydrodynamics, sediment and nutrient dynamics has been developed for the Fitzroy Estuary and connected coastal waters to facilitate conceptual understanding of the system and predict impacts of catchment activities on receiving waters. Although sediment and nutrient concentrations are one concern, agricultural pesticides are another which has not yet been addressed. Herbicide concentrations have been measured at worrying levels in these waters, and we need to better understand and predict how they move through (and possibly are changed within) the estuary towards the reef.
Using the existing CSIRO model the aim of my project is to develop an understanding of how pesticides move through the Fitzroy Estuary system in order to mitigate impacts on the Great Barrier Reef in light of predictions about climate change. The model also aims to describe the impact of increased or decreased pesticide usage on this fragile environment.