The challenge and scale of pressures facing our environment requires interdisciplinary and innovative solutions to support sustainable development.

Our teaching and research focuses on developing advanced knowledge of how environmental systems respond to human impacts, including air, water, terrestrial and marine systems, and developing novel management technology to improve environmental quality.

Our graduates work within mining, agriculture and urbanisation impacted landscapes, and seek to integrate an understanding of physical, chemical, and biological processes within the environment through start-of-the-art sensing and measurement technology.

UWA staff in Environmental Science have strong links with industry and government organisations with a focus on developing and trialling solutions to issues of pollution and environmental degradation.

The discipline is focused in five key research themes:

Soil and land management

Our teaching and research spans from the molecular to the landscape scale to understand how terrestrial environments respond to land management activities and climate change.

The interaction of soil physical, biogeochemical and biological processes provides the basis of carbon and nutrient cycling in agricultural, grassland and natural systems.

Industrial activity, such as mining, is essential for economic development, however, restoring these impacted environments requires careful design of solutions to land and water management problems.

River and estuary health

Changes in land-use and climate have fundamentally changed the quantity and quality of water moving through river basins. This impacts upon dependent ecosystems with significant biodiversity, cultural and economic value.

Within this theme, we undertake teaching and research to understand how river and estuary health responds to altered flow regimes, and increased nutrient and contaminant loads.

Environmental biotechnology

Environmental biotechnology involves using the power of microorganisms to undertake bio-treatment of polluted soil or water. By understanding how microbes process natural and man-made materials, we are able to better design technology for treating waste and rehabilitating degraded landscapes.

Environmental dynamics and ecohydrology

Environmental systems are inherently complex with feedbacks between water, soil and vegetation.

Our teaching and research focuses on understanding the dynamic response of rivers, wetlands and forests to changes in water availability by measuring and modelling how land-surface interactions shape the function and stability of water-dependent ecosystems.

Environmental sensing and data analytics

The emergence of computer and sensor technology has created grand new opportunities to help understand how environmental systems work and respond to change, across a broad range of scales.

The use of advanced sensing infrastructure and sensor networks allows unprecedented ability to collect environmental data, but this also creates challenge to make sense of the 'data deluge'.

Our teaching and research in this theme seeks to improve the accuracy of capability of environmental measurements, and develop advanced analysis work flows to extract important signals, patterns and trends.

Key groups

Key staff contacts