Aquatic Environmental Stress (AQUEST)

Aquatic Environmental Stress (AQUEST)

The Aquatic Environmental Stress research group assesses the health of aquatic ecosystems; inland waterways and estuaries, using a weight of evidence approach based on environmental outcomes.

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As a research group, historically the focus has been on aquatic pollution, identification, research and management, assessed using both chemical and biological methods. While this focus continues, our definition of pollution/ environmental stressors has broadened further to include considering other stressors, such as assessing the benefits of environmental flows to aquatic biota.

We have developed a broad range of tools to detect aquatic pollutants and locate their source, including through subterranean stormwater drains. We have also developed a tool kit of biomarkers in a broad range of aquatic species. These biomarkers are an early warning system to detect environmental stressors before there may be more widespread effects to the ecosystems.

We continue to develop and evaluate new biomarkers and evaluate new aquatic test species.  

There are many challenges to get more value out of environmental monitoring. Instead of just reporting whether an aquatic ecosystem or waterbody is in good or bad condition, we are able to identify whether this ecosystem is stressed, what is causing this stress and then develop a program to locate the source of this pollutant.

We also have a proven track record in then working with government agencies to improve policy. In recent years, our research has contributed to improvements in the EPA State Environment Protection Policy, the Yarra River Action Plan, the Port Phillip Bay Environmental Management Plan and the Victorian Water Sensitive Urban Design guidelines.

Contact for further information.

Featured projects


Aquatic Environmental Stress (AQUEST) has conducted many significant projects.
  • Enhancing our Dandenong Creek (Melbourne Water) 
  • Starvation Weir Desilting (Melbourne Water)
  • Environmental Flows LTIM Phase 2 Goulburn (Commonwealth Environmental Water Office) 
  • Environmental Offsets Campaspe River (Coliban Water)
  • Edithvale Seaford RAMSAR Wetlands (Melbourne Water)
  • Macroinvertebrate monitoring (Ecology Australia)
  • Sediment Quality Monitoring Program (Melbourne Water) 

Aquatic Pollution Prevention Partnership (A3P)

A collaborative research partnership delivering practical management solutions to reduce pollution in our waterways.

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Our people

Find out more about our researchers and the work that they are doing.

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Aquatic Environmental Stress (AQUEST)

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer