Project summaries - 2009 Environmental Research - major grants

2009 Environmental Research - major grants
OrganisationCategoryProject titleAmount $
CSIROHazardous substances and wasteEnvironmental risk assessment of selected human pharmaceuticals

  200,000

Department of Environment, Climate Change and WaterHazardous substances and wasteResolving the sources and fate of hydrocarbons in groundwater

199,970

Department of Environment, Climate Change and WaterEnvironmental noiseValidation of inversion strength estimation method

 50,000

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Waters and catchmentsRemote sensing, biogeochemistry and optics of coastal algal blooms

100,000

Murray-Darling Freshwater Research CentreWaters and catchments Impact of sulfidic sediments on the viability of dormant propagules

99,286

Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management AuthorityWaters and catchments
 
Evaluating urban stream remediation techniques: Cooks River, Sydney

 50,000

University of CanberraHazardous substances and waste Accumulation and sublethal effects of juvenile hormone mimics in bees

39,538

University of SydneyHazardous substances and wasteBioremediation for organochlorine-contaminated groundwater

199,671

8 projects  

TOTAL

$938,465

CSIRO
Environmental risk assessment of selected human pharmaceuticals
Grant: $200,000

The environmental fate and ecotoxicological effect of pharmaceutical products (PPs) in river ecosystems is poorly understood and has subsequently become an emerging community, scientific and regulatory concern. The main aim of the study is to employ a risk-based approach combining both biological and chemical assessment to evaluate the fate and impact of six PPs in NSW sub-catchments. This study will inform stakeholders which PPs pose the greater risk to river ecosystems and that require enhanced removal during sewage treatment. The study will provide a timely response to concerns about PPs in riverine environments where the proportion of treated sewage-effluent in flow is increasing.

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
Resolving the sources and fate of hydrocarbons in groundwater
Grant: $199,970

Leaking underground petroleum storage systems are one of the most frequent causes of groundwater contamination in NSW and are the subject of millions of dollars spent on investigation, remediation and litigation. This project will use a combination of advanced environmental forensic techniques to develop chemical and isotopic fingerprints of petroleum residues so that the pollutants can be matched to the source(s). We will investigate which petroleum components get into the groundwater and how they are degraded. Key marker compounds to determine the source and time of release will be identified. This research will provide information for risk assessment of the sites and will produce better evidence to determine liability for the pollution so that remedial action is put in place more rapidly.

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
Validation of inversion strength estimation method
Grant: $50,000

Temperature inversions may increase noise levels. This project will test the hypothesis that temperature inversion strengths over the lower 100m of the atmosphere can be estimated by extrapolation of temperatures measured closer to the ground. Air temperatures up to 100m above ground level will be measured at a location in the Hunter Valley using a tethersonde. The results will be compared against estimates obtained by extrapolating from measurements at 2 and 10m at two nearby weather stations. Results of similar measurements from the Collie Basin, WA, will also be analysed to assess the validity of current approaches for estimating inversion strengths.

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Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
Remote sensing, biogeochemistry and optics of coastal algal blooms
Grant: $100,000

Phytoplankton form the base of the food web in our coastal waters. Understanding the patterns of algal blooms is essential knowledge for monitoring the health of our coastal marine ecosystems. Using state of the art techniques, this project will research the bio-optical and biogeochemical properties of NSW continental shelf waters to provide insight into what drives algal blooms on the coast of NSW. This information will support ecosystem based management of our coastal resources. Findings will inform decisions on alerts for potentially harmful algal blooms and provide important data to better understand carbon cycling on the continental shelf. The new knowledge provides a foundation to develop algorithms that will ultimately deliver low cost daily observations across all NSW coastal waters (e.g. chlorophyll).

Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre
Impact of sulfidic sediments on the viability of dormant propagules
Grant: $99,286

The presence of sulfidic sediments that can potentially lead to acidification and poor water quality, is of major concern to wetland managers. Reversing the impacts of acidification and improving water quality may not automatically result in a restoration of viable aquatic communities. Aquatic plants and microfauna have dormant propagules that enable them to be resistant to adverse environmental events and confer resilience to wetlands. Knowledge of the ability of these propagules to persist in sulfidic sediments and at what concentrations thresholds are exceeded, will enable managers to prioritise restoration works towards wetlands that retain a viable seedbank from which viable biotic communities can re-establish.

Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority
Evaluating urban stream remediation techniques: Cooks River, Sydney
Grant: $50,000

Increasingly, urban populations are becoming more aware of the ecological value of their landscape and demanding environmental improvements. Although Water Sensitive Urban Design techniques and related restoration and remediation works are promoted as solutions to urban stream degradation and are implemented at high cost, they have received limited evaluation of their consequent ecological improvements. The Cooks River Urban Water Initiative is a major Grant: $2 million federally funded project coordinated by the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority to improve the quality of the Cooks River via a series of stormwater treatment and wetland restoration works. This project offers a significant opportunity to measure the efficacy of these works, which will improve urban waterway restoration decision-making.

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University of Canberra
Accumulation and sublethal effects of juvenile hormone mimics in bees
Grant: $39,538

Colony collapse disorder (CCD), is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive abruptly disappear. There is little understanding of why CCD is occurring around the world. Amongst many potential contributing factors, pesticides have been implicated. Juvenile hormones mimics (JHM) such as Pyriproxifen and Methoprene are considered safe for use with bees. However, a high level of juvenile hormone in bees is known to decrease immune response and change foraging behaviour. The aims of this project are to:

  • establish protocols for the measurement of juvenile growth regulators and metabolites in bees
  • establish if juvenile growth regulators can be accumulated within bees
  • evaluate the long term sub-lethal effect of JHM mimics on bee populations at immunological and behavioural level.

University of Sydney
Bioremediation for organochlorine-contaminated groundwater
Grant: $199,671

Organochlorine pollutants pose a serious threat to human and environmental health. We will investigate the ability of ethene-oxidizing and butane-oxidizing bacteria to biodegrade the priority pollutants vinyl chloride and dichloroethane and, determine if such bacteria can be used for the cleanup of organochlorine-impacted sites. Specifically, we will survey the abundance and distribution of ethene- and butane-oxidizers at contaminated sites, and test models of ex-situ and in-situ bioremediation based on bioaugmentation (addition of Mycobacterium strain NBB4) and biostimulation (addition of ethene or butane gas).

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Page last updated: 27 February 2011