Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Unit (ECMU)

Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Unit (ECMU) comprises an interlocking suite of expertise, services, and laboratory capabilities. We provide options for research and consultancy that are of unique benefit to agencies and industry operating in northern Australia.

[Focus]  [Capabilities]  [Contacts]  [References]


ECMU Focus ChartThe ECMU focus areas for research and consultancy include:


Microbiol of tidal creeks (L-P)

  • Community structure
  • N & C-cycle processes
  • N & C istope chemistry
  • Water budget


Microbiology of WTPs

  • Community structure
  • N processes


Sponge holobiont

  • Community compositon
  • N-cycle function

Sponge-metal interactions

  • Mo in H. phakellioides

Water Quality

  • In shore bacteria assessment
  • Microbial function in sediments
  • Biomarkers in frogs


Healthy Marine Harvest

  • Bacterial indicators
  • Metals

Sediment survey

  • Metals
  • 15N in biota

Key Service contacts

Existing and prospective clients are welcome to contact us at any time to discuss research and consultancy matters.

New consultancy:


Laboratory capabilities

We conduct projects across the full range of environments: marine, freshwater and terrestrial but specialise in metal and nutrient analyses.

The ECMU provides advanced analytical services some of which are not available elsewhere in the Northern Territory. Facilities include:

  • ICPMS with 213nm Laser Ablation and ICPAES for elemental analysis. DGT for metal speciation
  • Scanning Electron Microscope with X-ray EDS for imaging and microanalysis
  • FIA for nutrient analysis
  • Full range of field equipment for sampling and in-situ monitoring of pH, EC, Temp, DO and Turbidity.

ECMU capabilities


Following is a selection of our clients and projects to illustrate the scope and nature of our work.

Client Project title Type of work
ECMU references
Xstrata McArthur River Mine Monthly Seawater analysis Samples collected by MRM, analysed and reported by EACU
Rio Tinto Alcan Gove/Pacific Aluminium Marine Health Monitoring Program  
NT Govt Dept of Health (Environmental Branch) Do Frogs Host Faecal Bacteria Typically Associated with Humans?  


Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Unit (ECMU)


RIEL Headlines

  • Thu, 14/11/2013

    A book detailing the devastating impact of one of Australia’s most successful invasive species and the lessons that can be learned from the “unintended consequences” of species’ introduction will be launched this week (Friday, 15 November).

  • Fri, 01/11/2013

    The great grandson of naturalist Charles Darwin will introduce “Charles Darwin, Evolution and Tropical Australia”, the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) created by Charles Darwin University and commencing on November 11.

  • Tue, 08/10/2013

    Representatives from across the Arafura and Timor seas have come together this week to share ideas about sustainable activities for the conservation and management of marine and coastal resources.

  • Thu, 12/09/2013

    A conservation biologist who has spent most of the past 35 years in tropical Australia will suggest that improvements in the listing processes and modifications to legislation could improve the targeting of threatened species investment.

  • Fri, 06/09/2013

    A research project investigating how fire affects the food source of one of northern Australia’s most iconic bird species could provide clues to its future conservation.

  • Cassie Scoble
    Fri, 16/08/2013

    New research funded through the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) will determine the feasibility of carbon farming through reforestation.

  • Thu, 15/08/2013

    As the debate continues to rage about prescribed burning, leading bushfire researchers from Charles Darwin University and around the world have contributed their perspectives in a series of papers published today.

  • Sat, 03/08/2013

    DEEP in the tropical savanna of Australia's far north lies an Aboriginal sacred place that could hold the clues to a mystery scientists have puzzled over for more than a century.

  • Thu, 01/08/2013

    A Charles Darwin University researcher has peered into the murky depths of the behaviour of Northern Australia’s most voracious predator finding their innate survival instinct begins from day one.

  • Tue, 02/07/2013

    New research has revealed that cane toads have wiped out some populations of dwarf crocodiles in northern Australia.


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