Freshwater Program

Research Leader: Dr Vin Pettigrove(CEO)
Contact Details: Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne Parkville Vic 3010

My research has evolved around understanding what are the major factors impacting the health of freshwater ecosystems.  I developed a field-based microcosm technique that has been able to isolate the effects of polluted waters and/or sediments on indigenous aquatic macroinvertebrates.  With the support of the many students and staff, this technique has been refined over the past 10 years and provides unique information on the sensitivity of our native macroinvertebrates to pollution.  I have published in a broad range of areas including ecology of platypus, fish and macroinvertebrates, the use of chironomid deformities as an indicator of pollution stress, the toxicity of stream and wetland sediments, identifying sources of pollution in streams, stormwater treatment technology, endocrine disruption, bacterial indicators of sediment pollution, the development of novel technologies to detect pollution in stormwater drains, and approaches to assess stream health.  I have over 25 years experience in the water industry and have a strong interest in transferring scientific findings to environmental management practitioners to help address priority issues that impact ecosystem health

Freshwater Research Objective: To identify the impact of pollution on inland aquatic ecosystems, identify the chemicals of concern and identify management options for their treatment using available technologies and new technologies being developed by CAPIM

  • Initially 60 freshwater sites will be established for monitoring in potential regional hotspots.
  • Tools for separating sediment pollution from other effects will be trialled and causal links established.
  • Detailed assessment of several sites will be completed to isolate pollution sources.
  • New chemical monitoring techniques will be incorporated into trial sites as they emerge.