The Contaminant Dynamics Research Group investigates the processes affecting contaminant fluxes into shallow waterbodies, the subsequent distribution of the contaminants through the water column and sediments, and the impact of those contaminants on ecosystem health.
We aim to use our knowledge of the fate and transport of contaminants to develop remediation tools, both physical and chemical, for contaminated waterbodies. We also aim to use our knowledge of aquatic chemical processes and their interactions with physical and biological processes to collaboratively develop numerical tools for future planning and management of waterbodies.
The Contaminant Dynamics Research Group was established in 1994 on the appointment of Professor Carolyn Oldham as a lecturer at the Centre for Water Research (CWR). Professor Oldham has a strong interdisciplinary background covering chemical, physical and biological processes in aquatic systems. Since 1995, 18 honours students, two master's students, two PhD students and one postdoctoral fellow have contributed to contaminant research at CWR.
Field investigations undertaken by our group have revealed two key issues that appear to have a fundamental impact on contaminant dynamics at all sites: firstly, the added complexity caused by high concentrations of dissolved organic matter; secondly, the ambiguity of transport mechanisms across the sediment-water interface.
Our recognition of both issues has led to laboratory investigations of the relevant chemical and physical processes. We anticipate that such laboratory-based research will ultimately lead to improved numerical models of chemical cycling in waterbodies.
Over the next 10 years, specific research objectives include: