The Phyto Lab

Current Projects

phytoremediation zinc contaminated river

Zinc Reduction in Aquatic Systems through the use of Floating and Fixed Plants

Waterways continually experience heavy metal contamination due to human interference. This includes zinc, which can be toxic to plant and macroinvertebrate communities in highly-concentrated levels. This research investigates the phytoremediation potential of several widely-abundant Australian plant species using complimentary field and glasshouse contamination experiments.

Lead researcher: Nicholas Maricic (BSc) – Master of Science Candidate – 2017 to 2018

phytoremediation vitaceae grapevines heavy metal contaminated soil

Exploring the Phytoremediation Potential and Contaminant Exclusion Capacities of Vitaceae Species

This research project aims to identify the phytoremediation potential of Vitaceae (grapevines) grown in heavy metal contaminated soils. This will involve a series of controlled, ex-situ experiments where Vitaceae species will be grown in soils that mimic those found in former mine sites located within Australian wine regions.

Lead Researcher: Annaclaire McDonald (BSc) – Master of Science Candidate – 2018 to 2020

phytomanagement heavy metal contaminated soil coal mining

Australian Mines: Contaminant Dynamics and Surface Phytomanagement

This project explores the viability of Australian native plants for use in the field of phytomanagement, in particular, the management of heavy metal contaminated soil left behind after coal mining. Using a combination of in-situfield work and manipulative glasshouse experiments, he aims to identify Australian native trees/grasses with the ability to accumulate or tolerate soils with high levels of heavy metal contamination.

The overarching goal of this project is to develop a practical, cost effective, and environmentally sustainable solution to a large scale global problem.

Lead researcher: Kieran Young (BSc) – Master of Science Candidate – 2017 to 2019

bio-char plant health phytoremediation heavy metal contaminated soil

Investigating the Use of Biochar as a Phytoremediation Companion Treatment

This research project will assess the viability of bio-char as a potential technology to increase plant health and accelerate the rate of phytoremediation in heavy metal contaminated soils.

Focusing primarily on Australian natives, this project will utilise a controlled glasshouse experiment to quantify the capacity of species such as Acacia longifolia (Sydney Golden Wattle) and Callistemon linearis (Narrow-leaved Bottlebrush) to phytoremediate lead-contaminated soils. Having already seen promising results in Australia’s agricultural industry, will bio-char prove itself as the next big star in the land management field?

Lead researcher: Lincoln De Haas (BSc) – Master of Science Candidate – 2018 to 2020

terrestrial aquatic oil spill remediation

Investigating Novel Solutions to Aquatic and Terrestrial Oil Spills Within an Australian Context

Juliette is undertaking a research internship in the Phyto Lab as part of her UTS Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation program. She will be investigating novel solutions to critical environmental problems like oil spills with connectivity between scientific research and community needs.

Lead researcher: Juliette Kidston-Lattari – Research Internship – 2018

phytoremediation heavy metal contaminated site

Australian Native Plants in Contaminated Sites: Heavy Metal Uptake and Exclusion

As part of her UTS Research Internship, Gillian Teear is investigating the performance of various native plant species as heavy metal phytoremediators. By collecting samples from known contaminated sites we can see how these species perform in nature.

Lead researcher: Gillian Teear  Research Intern  2017 to 2018

eurasian water milfoil tasmania dam

Heavy Metal Accumulation in Eurasian Water Milfoil

Eurasian Water Milfoil is a globally-invasive weed and occurs in highly disturbed freshwater ecosystems, often in the absence of other species. This study explores the heavy metal accumulation dynamics in this aggressive species across three Tasmanian Dam sites.

Lead researcher: Summer Potvin  Research Intern  2017 to 2018

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