Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Unit (ECMU)

Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Unit (ECMU)

ECMU logo

Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Unit (ECMU) comprises an interlocking suite of expertise, services, and laboratory capabilities. We provide options for research and consultancy that are of unique benefit to agencies and industry operating in northern Australia.


ECMU Focus Chart The ECMU focus areas for research and consultancy include:

ECMU focus


Microbiol of tidal creeks (L-P)

  • Community structure
  • N & C-cycle processes
  • N & C istope chemistry
  • Water budget

Microbiology of WTPs

  • Community structure
  • N processes


  • In shore bacteria assessment
  • Microbial function in sediments
  • Biomarkers in frogs


Sponge holobiont

  • Community compositon
  • N-cycle function

Sponge-metal interactions

  • Mo in H. phakellioides


Healthy Marine Harvest

  • Bacterial indicators
  • Metals

Sediment survey

  • Metals
  • 15N in biota


Key Service contacts

Existing and prospective clients are welcome to contact us at any time to discuss research and consultancy matters.


Laboratory capabilities

We conduct projects across the full range of environments: marine, freshwater and terrestrial but specialise in metal and nutrient analyses.

The ECMU provides advanced analytical services some of which are not available elsewhere in the Northern Territory. Facilities include:

  • ICPMS with 213nm Laser Ablation and ICPAES for elemental analysis. DGT for metal speciation
  • Scanning Electron Microscope with X-ray EDS for imaging and microanalysis
  • FIA for nutrient analysis
  • Full range of field equipment for sampling and in-situ monitoring of pH, EC, Temp, DO and Turbidity.

ECMU lab equipment



Following is a selection of our clients and projects to illustrate the scope and nature of our work.

Client Project title Type of work
Xstrata McArthur River Mine Monthly Seawater analysis Samples collected by MRM, analysed and reported by EACU
Rio Tinto Alcan Gove/Pacific Aluminium Marine Health Monitoring Program  
NT Govt Dept of Health (Environmental Branch) Do Frogs Host Faecal Bacteria Typically Associated with Humans?