Umwelt’s aquatic ecologists have scientific expertise in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. Their extensive skills enable Umwelt to undertake robust aquatic ecological studies, with a comprehensive understanding of relevant legislation and planning requirements. This includes environmental assessments of freshwater rivers, lakes, creeks, and associated riparian habitats, wetlands (both freshwater and saltwater), estuarine habitats (seagrass beds, mangroves, saltmarsh) and marine habitats such as rocky reefs, sandy shorelines and soft sediments. Umwelt capabilities cover the following fields:
- in-stream flora (macrophytes and macroalgae) surveys, monitoring and vegetation mapping;
- fauna and macro-invertebrate surveys and monitoring programs;
- threatened species assessments for aquatic flora and fauna;
- water quality analysis for rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters;
- AUSRIVAS (Australian River Assessment System) assessment of the condition of Australian rivers;
- assessments and planning for modification, rehabilitation and construction of wetlands;
- assessment of eutrophication processes in lakes, rivers and streams; and
- ecological character descriptions of Ramsar sites (internationally significant wetlands).
- assessment of estuarine habitats, including seagrass, mangrove, saltmarsh, and soft sediments;
- fish and macro-invertebrate studies, including boat and net sampling, underwater visual surveys, species identification and biodiversity assessments;
- estuarine habitat mapping including seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh;
- rehabilitation, monitoring and assessment of saltmarsh habitats and coastal soils, especially in regard to acid sulphate soil conditions;
- ecological impact assessment of aquaculture ventures, including pearl oysters and other bivalves;
- environmental assessments of marinas, jetty modifications and other built structures; and
- eutrophication of estuaries, including sediment analysis for increased nutrients and associated physico-chemical changes.
- assessment of fauna and flora of intertidal rocky shores, sandy beaches, rocky reefs and marine soft sediments (including underwater visual surveys);
- threatened species assessment for marine fauna including shorebirds, marine mammals, fish and macro-invertebrates;
- detection and identification of introduced and invasive marine pests (both flora and fauna);
- sampling and laboratory analysis of marine sediments for detection of pollution and benthic disturbance;
- assessment of sea level rise and climate change impacts on coastal ecological communities, including the use of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data and remote sensing technology; and
- assessment of sewage effluent and ocean outfalls impacts on marine environments.
Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
- statistical analysis of univariate (single species) and multivariate (entire communities) data;
- design of rigorous environmental assessment programs and monitoring regimes;
- Beyond BACI (before, after, control and impact) assessment for environmental impacts; and
- spatial analysis (including GIS and remote sensing assessments) of environmental impacts and changes.
Umwelt has a multidisciplinary approach to ecological assessments and environmental assessments; with over 100 staff it can draw upon to ensure the provision of sustainable outcomes for our clients. The skills and experience of our in-house staff enables Umwelt to integrate our aquatic ecological services with terrestrial ecology, hydrology services, geomorphology, natural resource management assessments, catchment, estuary and coastline management plans, as well as Aboriginal archaeology and cultural heritage management.