The Ecosystem Response theme aims to characterise and understand the ecological responses to contaminant stressors, for example algal growth from resulting from elevated nutrient discharge. The main stressors to be considered are elevated sediment, faecal and nutrients concentrations and loads to each type of receiving environments.
By characterising the system a better understanding of how the system functions and which stressors are likely to dominate the system can be achieved, which will lead to better decision-making for those ecosystems.
The Ecosystem Response theme has been divided into sub-themes that correspond with the different receiving environments:
- Southland’s estuaries - This theme will identify loads to meet a gradient of environmental conditions, and provide a timeline relating estuary condition and loads at specific time periods.
- Human health - Determining the origin of microbial contamination of surface waters, drinking waters and shellfish.
- Freshwater ecosystem health - The proposed monitoring system, an expansion of an existing network, aims to facilitate the separation and characterisation of anthropogenic and natural stressors and pressures, on waterway health and provide an assessment of regional progress toward objectives and targets.
- Mountain and lowland lakes - Characterisation and GIS-based risk assessment of lakes and followed by catchment modelling to link land management to the lake’s ecosystem response.