Conservation ecology of Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes, southeast Australia - a review
Prahalad, V and Kirkpatrick, JB and Aalders, J and Carver, S and Ellison, J and Harrison-Day, V and McQuillan, P and Morrison, B and Richardson, A and Woehler, E, Conservation ecology of Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes, southeast Australia - a review, Pacific Conservation Biology, 26, (2) pp. 105-129. ISSN 1038-2097 (2020) [Refereed Article]
Temperate Australian saltmarshes, including those in the southern island state of Tasmania, are considered as a threatened ecological community under Australian federal legislation. There is a need to improve our understanding of the ecological components, functional relationships and the key threatening processes of Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes and distil research priorities that could assist recovery actions. A semi-systematic review of the literature on Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes supported by expert local knowledge identified 75 studies from 1947 to 2019. Existing understanding pertains to saltmarsh plants, soils, invertebrates and human impacts with on-going studies currently adding to this knowledge base. Several knowledge gaps remain, and the present review recommends six key priority areas for research: (1) citizen science organised inventory of (initially) saltmarsh birds, plants and human impacts with the potential for expansion of data sets; (2) use of saltmarsh by marine transient species including fish and decapods; (3) use of saltmarsh and interactions with native and introduced mammals; (4) invertebrates and their interactions with predators (e.g. birds, fish) and prey (e.g. insects, plants, detritus); (5) historic saltmarsh loss and priority areas for conservation; (6) monitoring changes to saltmarsh due to both localised human impacts (e.g. grazing, eutrophication, destruction) and global change factors (e.g. climate change, sea-level rise). Addressing these research priorities will help in developing a better understanding of the ecological character of Tasmanian coastal saltmarshes and improve their conservation management.