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

  • Wed, 19/09/2012

    Charles Darwin University academics will join experts and opinion leaders in a debate this week about some of the hottest topics in conservation biology.

  • Conservation status of sharks revealed in new book by RIEL researcher
    Mon, 17/09/2012

    A new book by a conservation biologist provides groundbreaking information about the threats to sharks and other marine species.

  • Society for Conservation Biology
    Mon, 17/09/2012

    More than 200 conservation scientists from the Asia Pacific area will meet in Darwin this month to discuss conservation biology issues relevant to the region.

  • Sat, 01/09/2012

    RIEL Research Associates Dionisia Lambrinidis and Judy Manning are playing a key role in the Northern Territory Government’s Air Quality Program.

  • NAFI website
    Sat, 04/08/2012

    At the start of the dry season, fire managers in the north started to implement patchy burns to break up the landscape and reduce fuel - and they checked the progress of these burns on the North Australian Fire Information (NAFI) fire-tracking website, hosted by RIEL.

  • Sat, 04/08/2012

    RIEL researchers Rohan Fisher and Bronwyn Myers have been awarded two grants from AusAID’s (The Australian Agency for International Development) Public Sector Linkages Program (PSLP) totalling more than $300,000 for activities over 18 months.

  • Sat, 04/08/2012

    For the last month, FEAM PHD student Sarah Hobgen has been working at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Lucas Heights, Sydney. Sarah is preparing and analysing samples for Plutonium, using state-of-the-art equipment for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry.

  • Sat, 04/08/2012

    The Daly River community in the Northern Territory will be less reliant on diesel thanks to a new project targeted at increasing solar penetration in remote towns and communities.

  • Sat, 04/08/2012

    Congratulations to our RIEL researchers on the award of funding from the ARC Linkage Projects scheme. The Australian Research Council awards funding to a select few academics and researchers in Australian Universities each year and we are very pleased that all three RIEL applications were successful.

  • Sat, 04/08/2012

    Congratulations to Dr. Kean Yap for securing a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI).


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