Dr Susan Wilson

Associate Professor - School of Environmental and Rural Science

Susan Wilson

Phone: +61 2 6773 2789

Email: susan.wilson@une.edu.au


  • BSc Hons Chemistry (Bristol University, UK),
  • MSc Environmental Technology (Imperial College, London),
  • PhD Environmental Chemistry (Lancaster University, UK)

Teaching Areas

I teach a number of units with a focus on pollutants in the environment:

  • ECOL501 Applied Research Skills in Environmental and Rural Science
  • EM312/512 Environmental Impact Assessment
  • ERS381/481/581 Project Report in Engineering and Environmental and Rural Science
  • SOIL222/422 Soil Science (Pollution Module)
  • SOIL310/510 Soils, Pollution and the Environment
  • SOIL431/531 Soils for Sustainable Ecosystems
  • RSNR120 Sustaining our Rural Environment II (Pollution module)

Research Interests

I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Pollution and have established and lead the Pollution Science Research Group in the School of Environmental and Rural Science at UNE. I have over 20 years experience in research on pollutants working in the US, Europe, UK and Australia also supported by time in the consultancy industry and regulation. My research focuses on pollutants in soils: their processing and cycling, interactions, their effects, managing risks and remediation. I also manage the GCMS analytical research facility in the School. Current research areas include:

  • Fate, behaviour and availability of pollutants in soil systems
  • Soil-pollutant interactions
  • Food chain contaminant transfers
  • Ecotoxicity and impacts of contaminants
  • Chemistry and behaviour of arsenic and antimony in contaminated soil and waters
  • Exposure and risk assessment
  • Remediation and rehabilitation of polluted systems including phytoremediation and bioremediation
  • Environmental analysis and monitoring

Research Supervision Experience

I supervise a number of honours and higher degree research students in various areas of pollution science. Current and recent projects include:


  • Completed 2016. Sara Bayat. The application of mixed waste organic output (MWOO) to soils: Effects on metal and metalloid concentrations, distribution, bioavailability and mobility in NSW soils. Principal supervisor.
  • Completed 2016. Laura Williams.  Ecology and management of non-native Poa annua on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Co supervisor.
  • Commenced 2016 Atefah Esmaeili  Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAHs) Contaminated Soils: Quantifying Treatment Effects on Microbial Communities, Bioavailability and Ecotoxcity for Safe Soil Reuse
  • Commenced 2016 Sanajee Gunadasa. Cadmium and Arsenic in Sri Lankan Farm Soils: An analysis of Sources, Chemistry, Threats and Best Available Techniques for Remediation
  • Commenced 2014 Calvin Leech Optimising the bioremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminated soil using a composting approach with organic amendments. Principal supervisor.
  • Commenced 2014 Maxi Obiakor. Ecotoxicity Assessment for Antimony Pollution in Contaminated Australian Ecosystem. Principal supervisor.
  • Commenced 2014. Etido Umoren. Impact of environmental pollution on agricultural communities: Crude oil contamination of foodchains in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Co-supervisor
  • Commenced 2012. Sahar Al-Shamma. Mycorrhiza and biochar for remediation and plant production in soils polluted with arsenic. Co-supervisor


  • 2016 Georgia Rogan. Rapid determination of contamination legacies from Central Thailand bronze-age copper smelting. Co supervisor
  • 2015 Steven Doherty Reducing arsenic and antimony mobility in co contaminated soils with amendments. Principal supervisor
  • 2014 Stephanie Martin. Mixed Waste Organic Output (MWOO) application to NSW soils: Effects on metals, metalloids and chemical constituents in runoff and leachate. Principal supervisor
  • 2013 Millie Edwards. Development of a field quantification method for antimony and its speciation for application to a contaminated mine site, NSW, Australia, with some comparisons to arsenic. Principal supervisor

Coursework Masters Thesis

  • Kirsten Drew. Optimisation of antimony and arsenic bioaccumulation in Australian natives, Pteris umbrosa and Pteris tremula. Master of Environmental Science and Management
  • 2016 Simon Court. Combining Rehabilitation Goals: Decontamination and revegetation using Australian Native Plants. Master of Environmental Science and Management
  • 2016 Harry Dube. Municipal Solid Waste Compost Effects on availability and uptake of Heavy Metals. Master of Science in Agriculture
  • 2015 Stefan Hasenhor An assessment of the eco-toxicity of bio-remediated aged manufactured gas plant soil and the effectiveness of chemical assays at predicting PAH bioaccumulation by earthworms exposed to such soils. Master of Science in Agriculture


Recent Research Projects

  • 2015. Changes in the ecology and control of introduced non-native plants following pest herbivore eradication in the sub-Antarctic: Stellaria media. Australian Antarctic Division.
  • 2015. Research collaboration with Earth and Environmental Sciences for NSW TechVoucher Scheme to assess bioavailability of PAHs in bioremediated soil.
  • 2015 Research collaboration with GHD consultancy group to assess amendment effects for immobilisation of Sb and As in soils.
  • 2015 Quantifying threats to Australian ecosystems from antimony contamination. UNE Seed Grants, Round 1
  • 2010 - 2015 Research collaboration with Hillgrove Mine for antimony and arsenic bioavailability and speciation at Hillgrove Mine site.
  • 2013. WD-XRF laboratory UNE Major Equipment Grant.
  • 2013. Milestone ultrawave microwave digestion system. UNE School Equipment Grant.
  • 2013. Screening methods for antimony and its speciation in environmental samplesUNE Seed Grants, Round 1
  • 2013 Research collaboration with Armidale Dumaresq Council to understand contaminant concentrations in city to soil compost.
  • 2012. Ecology and control methods: Managing the invasive weed Poa annua in the Australian sub-Antarctic. Australian Antarctic Division
  • 2012 Quantifying exposure to arsenic (As) and antimony (Sb) from soils of the Macleay Floodplain – plant uptake and bioavailability assessments. NSW EPA and Kempsey Shire Council
  • 2012. Phospholipid Fatty Acid (PLFA) Analysis for Fingerprinting Microbial Communities in Composts and Soils. University Seed Grants, Round 1
  • 2012 Mixed Waste Organic Output Application to NSW Soils. NSW Environment Trust.
  • 2011 Organic Outputs derived from Mixed Waste: Contaminants, Land Application and Environmental Effects. A Research Framework. NSW OEH


Member Australian Society of Soil Science

Member Royal Australian Chemical Institute

Member Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Member Australasian Land and Groundwater Association

Further Information

  • Associate Professor in Environmental Pollution
  • Course Coordinator, Bachelor of Environmental Science
  • Honours Course Coordinator