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Blackwater: Floods, carbon and prolonged hypoxia in a major river system

  Blackwater:  Floods, carbon and prolonged hypoxia in a major river system
 
Wakool River, December 2010

Blackwater is caused by a high concentration of dissolved organic carbon in the water column. Movement of organic carbon from floodplains to the river channel isĀ  vital for the sustenance of riverine food webs. However, microbial breakdown of this carbon consumes oxygen and if oxygen consumption exceeds re-aeration of the water, dissolved oxygen concentrations may fall to levels insufficient to support fish and other aquatic organisms. This is known as hypoxic blackwater.

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