EGU21-3778, updated on 10 Jan 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Bushfire impacts on a threatened swamp ecosystem: responses of the soil microbial communities and restoration

Nathali Machado de Lima1, Alexandria Thomsen1, Mark Ooi1, and Miriam Muñoz-Rojas1,2,3
Nathali Machado de Lima et al.
  • 1Centre for Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 2School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
  • 3Kings Park Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Kings Park, WA, Australia

Australia faced the most extreme and prolonged fire season in 2019-2020, resulting in tragic habitat loss for many threatened species and the destruction of many ecological communities.  Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps are peatlands located in the upper Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. These ecosystems perform many important ecological functions while absorbing and filtering water and releasing it slowly back to the environment. Their functions are related to the control of peak flow events, water purification and the harboring of many threatened plant and animal species. Despite their ecological importance, the area has been intensively degraded through longwall mining processes, resulting in the lowering and loss of water tables in the area. In December 2019 these impacts were compounded by an intense prolonged drought period and extensive wildfire. While the effects of these combined factors on the vegetation have been analysed and revealed remarkable negative impacts in the swamps under mining pressures, the effects on the soil microbial communities and related soil functions have not yet been studied. To investigate both drivers (fire and mining activities), we selected three mined swamps and three unmined swamps to assess their soil microbial composition and diversity through Next Generation Sequencing, and to characterise the soil chemical composition. At each site, we collected samples considering three treatments, one in the swamp valley fill and two at two different heights of the swamp valley margin, focusing on the soil close to specific groups of plants (e.g. sedges and shrubs). For each site and treatment, three soil samples (~ 10 m from each other) of 10x10 cm and ~ 3 to 5 cm of depth were collected using a trowel. We aim to build 16S rRNA gene libraries and co-relate them with the soil chemical variables, to assess the impact on these microbial communities and their possible use as environmental indicators and basis for future applied initiatives in conservation and restoration.


How to cite: Machado de Lima, N., Thomsen, A., Ooi, M., and Muñoz-Rojas, M.: Bushfire impacts on a threatened swamp ecosystem: responses of the soil microbial communities and restoration, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3778,, 2021.


Display file

Comments on the display

to access the discussion