Run by Dr. Megan Murray (BSc, PhD), the Phyto Lab explores the intersection between surface contaminants and environmental remediation approaches in Australian environments, both terrestrial and aquatic.

Who We Are

Dr. Megan Murray (BSc, PhD)
Environmental Biologist and Lecturer at UTS.

Dr. Megan Murray is an Environmental Biologist and Lecturer at UTS, specialising in environmental contaminants and local-level remediation strategies. Her current research explores the phytoremediation potential of plants, using a targeted contaminant and region-specific approach. She is also investigating new and traditional oil spill remediation technologies within a comparative framework.

Her scientific approach encompasses desktop analysis, fieldwork, and manipulative experiments. She primarily works with heavy metal contaminants and petroleum-hydrocarbon mixes.

Megan is the Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning) in the UTS School of Life Sciences. This role supports students and staff engaged in postgraduate learning including coursework, micro-credentials and short courses. She also coordinates 91159 Environmental Remediation and is actively involved in several scientific and community working groups.

What We Do


Technical Innovation

We are interested in developing new methods and technologies to reduce terrestrial and aquatic land contamination in a safe, cost-effective and non-destructive way


Build Networks

We collaborate with community and educational groups, as well as industry and NGO partners


Local Site Remediation​

We work within urban areas of the Sydney catchment, but also have field sites in coastal and regional New South Wales. Our manipulative glasshouse projects are conducted in the rooftop facilities of the UTS Science building


Contaminant Removal

We investigate and develop solutions for terrestrial and aquatic surface contamination across Australia, with particular emphasis on heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbon mixes



Phytoremediation is a method which harnesses natural plant processes to assist in the immobilisation and clean-up of pollutants from surface landscapes. This method has been shown to be effective in cleaning up Petroleum Hydrocarbons, PCB, and heavy metals


Oil Spill Remediation

We investigate traditional and emerging approaches for remediating oil spills. This work is an ongoing and evolving series of projects, with the overarching goal to improve our current approaches for oil spill clean up

Environmental Remediation & Botanical Science Research


The Phyto Lab investigates and develops solutions for terrestrial and aquatic surface contamination across Australia, with particular emphasis on heavy metals and Petroleum Hydrocarbon mixes

Current Projects

In 2023 we are working on a range of projects including in-situ field work across contaminated sites in New South Wales, and manipulative lab experiments at the UTS City Campus

recent award

3 Minute Thesis

Our very talented Annaclaire McDonald won the UTS Science 3 Minute Thesis Competition with her entry ‘Munching on Mother Nature’s Vacuum Cleaners’! This is her award-winning entry.

More information on the event can be found here.

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Media Articles

Peer-Reviewed Publications

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Conference & Workshop Presentations

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Radio Interviews

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Get Involved

Are you interested in collaborative projects or research experience?