Monitoring and Assessment

Sampling sediment in the Yarra River at Warrandyte.
Cameron Amos kayak sampling the Yarra River Spadonis Reserve.

Monitoring and Assessment

Monitoring is critical to determine the nature and impacts of pollutants present in aquatic ecosystems. We employ a range of traditional and emerging technologies to monitor pollutants in aquatic environments including:

  • Water and sediment sampling for pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides, endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals and personal care products;
  • Passive sampling, with new passive samplers being developed for a growing number of chemical pollutants;
  • Photobacteria and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, which can identify different classes of biologically active pollutants in a sample.

We also use a number of methods to determine what impacts these are having on aquatic ecosystems, such as:

  • Macroinvertebrate monitoring, including rapid bioassessment and measurements of community structure, population health and stress to individual animals;
  • DNA-based technologies to improve taxonomic resolution and increase the sensitivity of monitoring programs;
  • Fish condition assessments in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments;
  • Measuring important ecosystem processes and functioning, such as denitrification in Port Phillip Bay;
  • Real-time monitoring of pollution events using behavioural responses in invertebrates.