Assessing the impacts of climate change to estuary ecosystems

Click here to view or download Module-4. 

In a climate change risk assessment, an estimate of likely changes in the physical and chemical estuarine environment is typically followed by an assessment of estuarine ecohealth.   Module-4 provides an overview of the ecological significance of estuaries and their most abundant ecological communities.  The Module summarizes likely ecological responses of ecological communities to climate change stressors and provides a qualitative rating of climate change risks for each type of estuary found in NSW.

Module-4 addresses the following questions:

  • What is the ecological significance of estuarine habitats in NSW?
  • Which ecological estuarine communities are found in NSW estuaries?
  • How might estuarine organisms respond to environmental stressors due to climate change?
  • How does the type of estuary influence the level of exposure to climate change stressors and which communities are most sensitive?
  • What is the likely climate change impact on NSW estuarine species?
Ecological responses in estuaries to increases in temperature and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Image courtesy: Water Research Laboratory, UNSW