Ecogenomic approaches to monitor Kakadu estuaries

Current models predict that saltwater intrusion will increasingly impact the coastal regions of Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia. This project used molecular techniques termed ecogenomics to provide fundamental information on how saltwater exposure may alter the microbial ecology of the region’s floodplains and benthos of the estuaries.

The findings provide a comprehensive DNA-based inventory of the region’s unique biota. The research also presented strong evidence that increases to saltwater exposure will alter the composition of floodplain bacterial taxa associated with key biogeochemical processes. Furthermore, estuarine research emphasised how biodiversity is strongly shaped by seasonal changes in oceanic and freshwater inputs, hydrodynamics, such as tidal energy, and floodplain morphology.