Environment

We undertake fundamental studies on aquatic biota and quantitative assessments of the impacts of water use on aquatic ecosystems. We also work on environmental assessment, ecology and environmental remediation.

Environment assessment

We undertake fundamental studies on aquatic biota in south-eastern Australia as well as undertaking quantitative assessments of the impacts of water use on aquatic ecosystems. Research and development projects focus on plants, microbes and landscape-scale biogeochemical processes, using a wide range of approaches.

These include water-quality studies, molecular and genetic techniques, autoecological population and synecological community studies and spatial analysis.

What we can do for you

We can help you to:

  • understand fundamental ecology of key aquatic organisms and major aquatic ecosystems, by focusing on life-history traits of aquatic species, inter-species interactions and the role of environmental filters
  • develop robust techniques to quantitatively assess the impacts of human activities on aquatic systems in south-eastern Australia
  • develop and trail approaches for ameliorating impacts and improving the ecological condition of degraded aquatic system

Current and recent projects

This area of activity includes the following work:

  • Genetic identification of salt-tolerant strains of Phragmites australis (Common Reed) for use in revegetation projects around the Gippsland Lakes. Funding: East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.
  • Fringing vegetation and its geomorphological importance for the Gippsland Lakes shoreline. Funding: Gippsland Lakes
  • Control of tall wheat grass in Western Port Coastal Wetlands. Funding; Melbourne Water.

Contact:

Randall Robinson
Email: randall.robinson@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 2885

Selected papers/publications

Ecology

Artificial water bodies created by humans for recreational activities and waste treatment have become increasingly important to native wildlife, as natural wetlands have dried due to drought or been drained for agriculture. Therefore proper management of water bodies (both natural and man-made) needs to take into account the native waterbirds that use them.

What we can do for you

Patrck Guay

Black Swans

We can help you to:

  • evaluate habitat use of specific wetlands by native waterbirds
  • estimate the impacts of human recreational activities on waterbirds
  • provide recommendations for the establishment of buffer zones to protect native waterbirds from human disturbance
  • determine and minimise the risk of hybridization between released domestic ducks and native ducks on urban and rural wetlands
  • predict potential impacts of changes in wastewater treatment on waterbird communities

Recent and current projects

This area of activity includes the following work:

  • DRD4 Dopamine receptor genetics and micro satellite assays in the Indian Myna. Funding: University of Newcastle
  • Investigating mate preferences of hybridising Pacific Black Ducks (Anassuperciliosa) and domestic Mallards. Funding: Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • Investigate extent of hybridisation between Mallard and Pacific Black Duck. Funding: Australian Bird Study Association.
  • Hybridisation between Mallards and Black Ducks. Funding: Victoria University in Wellington, Birds Australia, The Field Naturalist Club of Victoria and the M.A. Ingram Trust
  • Satellite Tracking of Grey Teals dispersing from the Western Treatment Plant, Werribee. Funding: Melbourne Water Corporation
  • Ecology of waterfowl on wastewater treatment lagoons. Funding: Melbourne Water Corporation
  • Impacts of human disturbance on waterbirds. Funding: Melbourne Water Corporation

Contact:

Patrick Guay
Email: patrick.guay@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 2993

  • Spiny rice flower propagation and conservation research projects. Funding: Dennis Family Corporation
  • Promoting coexistence between people and birds in Victoria. Funding: Helen Machperson Smith Trust

Contact:

Randall Robinson
Email: randall.robinson@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 2885

  • Evaluation of the status of Striped Legless Lizard populations in remnant grasslands in the "Western Melbourne, Keilor, Werribee Plains" management cluster. Funding: Public Transport Victoria

Contact:

Megan O'Shea
Email: megan.oshea@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 2129

Selected papers/publications

Environmental remediation

We undertake research using magnetic particle technology and analyses of pesticides and trace metals in contaminated soil and water.

  • The development of magnetic particle technology for the cleansing of oiled wildlife.

Contact:

John Orbell
Email: john.orbell@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 8066

Lawrence Ngeh
Email: lawrence.ngeh@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 8102