risk assessment

Dr. Kookana is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO and has had more than twenty year’s experience as a research chemist, focusing on the environmental fate of organic contaminants including pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals. His studies have included: the fate of micro-pollutants during aquifer storage and recovery of reclaimed water; the role of soil organic matter chemistry on pesticide sorption (i.e. attachment to another substance), mobility and bioavailability, and risk based approaches for minimising off-site impacts of pesticides.

To guide monitoring, management and mitigation decisions, researchers from CSIRO, JCU and AIMS propose to conduct a Phase 1 study to develop a robust approach that will allow them in Phase 2 to carry out an ecological risk assessment (ERA) of nutrients, fine suspended sediments, and pesticides used in agriculture in the Great Barrier Reef region, including ranking the relative risk of individual contaminants originating from priority catchments to the GBR ecosystems using a systematic, objective and transparent approach.

Phase 1 of the project aims to:

A key policy to minimising the effects of climate change on tropical marine organisms (e.g. coral bleaching and loss of seagrass cover) is to improve water quality, thereby reducing the potential for pollution to exacerbate the effects of thermal stress (Reef Plan, 2009).  While pesticides are thought to contribute to stress on nearshore habitats, little is known of their chronic effects on tropical species or their persistence in tropical waters.

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