The School of the Environment participates in 5 major research projects.
How does the physical environment impact on our health as human beings?
We interact with the environment continuously - through the food we eat and the water we drink and swim in; the soil in our gardens; the houses we live in and even the air we breathe. But to what extent do these things impact on our health and how can we manage them to minimise any potential risks and to improve our quality of life?
Our school offers a unique opportunity in Australia to study the impacts of the environment on our health.
Constellations of satellites orbit Earth, collecting data on our atmosphere, oceans, forests, farmland and cities - some call it remote sensing, others environmental surveillance.
We combine this satellite information with data collected by our aircraft from Airborne Research Australia, with census data, and from ground observations to give us an enormous repository of spatial environmental information at scales from global to local.
Spatial information scientists analyse this using geographical information systems (GIS) to monitor the state of the planet in areas like ecosystem health and land-use change; and model futures, for example urban expansion and ecosystem services.
All life requires access to water that is fit for purpose and in sufficient quantities. These two key components of water supply, namely quality and quantity, are studied by researchers in our School across all aspects of the water cycle: from groundwater to surface water; from catchments to tap; through recycling processes and out to oceans.
Our expertise is augmented by our partnerships with a Centre of Excellence, the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training , and the Water and Environment Research Hub of Flinders University.
Environment & Society
The relationships between people and their environment are as old as civilisation itself. Yet in the 21st Century understanding these relationships is as fundamental to improving and managing the environment as it has ever been.
We can only achieve this understanding by valuing science and social science equally. Why? Scientific understanding of environmental problems underpins technical solutions, but these fail unless the political, social and economic are given value. Geographers and environmental social scientists our School, provide this perspective on environmental management, planning and policy.
Understanding our Earth and its environments holds the key to sustaining life, as we know it, on planet Earth.
How do landscapes and catchment systems function and evolve over time? What are the critical interactions between soil, water, and vegetation that govern the quality and amount of the water in our streams? These basic questions about the function of our biosphere are still unanswered or incompletely answered.
Through environmental isotope tracers and other state-of-the-art field and laboratory techniques, researchers in our School are making basic discoveries on how landscapes function.