Graduate Research School Available Projects Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) in Great Barrier Reef catchments

Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) in Great Barrier Reef catchments

Title of Project

Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) in Great Barrier Reef catchments


Barbara Robson, Jon Brodie, Steve Lewis

College or Research Centre


Summary of Project

Dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) makes up a large proportion of the dissolved nitrogen load delivered to the Great Barrier Reef from catchments. Although DON in marine environments may be composed of thousands of different chemical forms, it is usually treated as if it were homogenous, measured only as the difference between total dissolved nitrogen and dissolved inorganic nitrogen. DON from different sources will have different chemical structures, varying bioavailability and hence varying impacts on marine ecosystems, but this variability is not well understood and we currently have very little information about the form and bioavailability of catchment-derived DON in the Great Barrier Reef. This project will draw upon recent advancements in analytical chemistry to address this knowledge gap. The student will first identify Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) constituents in river water, then link variability to land use practices within the catchments they were obtained. This information will then be used to improve representation of dissolved organic materials and their bioavailability

Key Words

great barrier reef; water quality; environmental chemistry; catchment processes

Would suit an applicant who

The successful applicant should have a background in environmental science, experience in water quality research, and appropriate laboratory skills.

Updated: 11 Apr 2020