Melany Ginders


Past M Sc student

Overseas studies have highlighted the significant role that hydraulic retention zones (HRZs) can play in large river ecosystems. HRZs occur where embayments, backwaters or side arms lower water velocities and reduce connectivity with the main channel. These reductions are sufficient to alter water retention times and consequently ecological processes such as plant growth and nutrient transformation. Not only can these retention zones provide an important source of food that boosts primary and secondary production in the main channel once reconnection occurs, they can also provide suitable habitat for aquatic organisms during different life stages. The aim of Melany’s research was to address the functional role of side arm HRZs along the lower Waikato River near Huntly, and investigate whether reconstructed and natural side arms function in a similar way. She looked at plankton and nutrients along with the hydrological connectivity and associated water residence time between the side arms and the main river channel.


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Ginders, M.A. 2011. The influence of connectivity on the functional role of a natural and re-constructed side-arm in the lower Waikato River. Unpubl. MSc thesis, The University of Waikato, 135 p.

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