Turbidity is an expression of the cloudiness of water, caused by suspended and dissolved materials. A reduction in the transparency of water caused by high turbidity will limit light penetration, affecting the distribution and production of aquatic plants.
The figure at right is a diagram of the estuarine turbidity maximum in the estuary (courtesy of Blake Feist, see CRETM website).
Stressors that affect turbidity:
- Extreme climatic events
- Flow regulation
- Marinas and overwater structures
- Shoreline armoring
- Volcanic activity
- Wastewater discharges
- Water diversion
Ecosystem structures that are affected by turbidity:
- Emergent marsh
- Mud / sand flats
- Submerged aquatic vegetation
Interactions and equations: