Environmental science

Understanding and protecting the natural world

Environmental science at UWA uses interdisciplinary research to find solutions to the challenges and pressures facing our environment, and to support sustainable development. Through teaching and research, we are developing advanced knowledge of how air, water, terrestrial and marine environmental systems respond to human impacts. Our researchers are improving environmental quality through innovative projects with practical application and are developing novel management technology.

Our work integrates an understanding of physical, chemical and biological processes within the environment, supported by state-of-the-art sensing and measurement technology. Strong links with industry and government organisations have enabled us to develop and trial solutions to issues of pollution and environmental degradation.

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1st in Australia and 22nd in the world for Agricultural Sciences (ARWU 2023)

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2nd in Australia and 38th in the world for Environmental Science and Engineering (ARWU 2023)

Key research areas

The discipline is focused in five key research areas:
Soil and land management
Our teaching and research spans from the molecular to the landscape scale to understand how terrestrial environments respond to land management activities and climate change.
River and estuary health
We undertake teaching and research to understand how river and estuary health responds to altered flow regimes, and increased nutrient and contaminant loads.
Environmental biotechnology
Environmental biotechnology involves using the power of micro-organisms to undertake bio-treatment of polluted soil or water. By understanding how microbes process natural and manufactured materials, we are able to better design technology for treating waste and rehabilitating degraded landscapes.
Environmental dynamics and ecohydrology
Our teaching and research focuses on understanding the dynamic response of rivers, wetlands and forests to changes in water availability by measuring and modelling how land-surface interactions shape the function and stability of water-dependent ecosystems.
Environmental sensing and data analytics
Our teaching and research seeks to improve the accuracy of capability of environmental measurements, and develop advanced analysis work flows to extract important signals, patterns and trends.

Study with us

Explore your options with a range of postgraduate and research opportunities available.


We have developed close working relationships with local and national business and industry partners dedicated to furthering our environmental knowledge and conservation. Our partnerships bring together a unique combination of expertise in physical, chemical and biological aspects of the environment.

Key Staff

For more information about our work and current projects, contact our key staff:
Head of School
Department Head Environmental Science
Academic Staff
Research Staff
Emeritus, Honorary and Adjunct

Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Networks and Observatories

Ecosystems provide us with essential services such as carbon sequestration, water, clean air and biodiversity. Crucially we need long-term ecosystem observatories to monitor the health and productivity of our key natural and managed systems. We provide intensive ecological observatories as part of a national network (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network and OzFlux) that improves understanding of how ecosystems (and the services they provide) respond to climate change and disturbance to provide a fundamental basis for their future management.

Our observatories are based throughout Western Australia, including:

  • Litchfield
  • Boyagin
  • Ridgefield
  • Howard
  • Sturt
  • Whroo
  • Yanco
  • Collie
  • Gingin
  • GWW
  • Leap
  • Wombat
  • Howard Springs
  • Riggs Creek

Contact the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment

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