Plant Ecotoxicology

As primary producers, algae and aquatic plants play a key role in the structure and function of ecosystems.

Plant Ecotoxicology

Understanding the impacts of pollutants on organisms, their populations and communities is critical to understanding how anthropogenic activities affect aquatic ecosystems. As primary producers, micro-algae, macro-algae and aquatic plants play a key role in the structure and function of ecosystems, so impacts on these organisms could indirectly affect other components of aquatic ecosystems. Our plant ecotoxicology research focusses on understanding the relationship between primary producers and pollutants in the environment.

As part of this research, we are developing new tools to assess and detect the effects of pollutants, reduced water quality and other environmental stressors on micro-algae, macro- algae and aquatic plants under laboratory and field conditions. With the ability to assess the effects of a wide range of pollutants, such as pesticides, metals, hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals and nutrients, we can understand the bioavailability, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of these to plants, as well as the physical, biological and chemical factors affecting these processes. We can also determine the relationship between responses to pollutants in the laboratory and those observed in contaminated aquatic ecosystems, and describe the overall risk to floral communities.

For more information, please contact Dr Jackie Myers jhmyers@unimelb.edu.au.

Seedlings of the mangrove Avicenna marina in Westernport.
Seedlings of the mangrove Avicenna marina in Western Port.