233 pages, colour photos, illustrations, and maps; colour tables
The aquatic biodiversity of northern Australia is a very rich, highly distinctive and frequently economically important component of the Australian fauna and flora reflecting the distinctive nature of the landscape, soils and climate. More than one million gigalitres of rain falls over northern Australia every year in a dramatic seasonal cycle of short intense humid wet seasons followed by long extended dry seasons that may last for as long as nine months. This vast rainfall creates an equally vast tapestry of aquatic habitats across the landscape. However, the annual water budget of the region (rainfall minus evapotranspiration) is in deficit by more than 1000 mm per year and thus, the aquatic habitats seasonally vary in extent and quality. Vast floodplains dry out and most rivers cease to flow. The region's aquatic biodiversity must deal with this profound seasonal change. Water is a key element in all aspects of human development in northern Australia.
This book provides an entry into the research, both past and present, concerning the aquatic biodiversity of northern Australia and more importantly, will help inform the continuing debate about the future of the region and especially of the distinctive biodiversity of its freshwater ecosystems.
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