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. Illustration by Anna Blacka, UNSW Sydney, Water Research Laboratory