Dr Rick van Dam – BSc (Hons), PhD

Supervising Scientist research profiles

Background

Dr Rick van Dam leads the ERISS Ecotoxicology program. He has a background in aquatic toxicology and ecological risk assessment, with experience also in marine and freshwater ecology. He has coordinated and been involved in assessments of a variety of wetland threats, including the impacts of chemical contaminants, invasive species, and climate change and sea level rise. Rick's experience in aquatic toxicology encompasses assessments of both inorganic (mostly through mining activities) and organic (eg pesticides, hydrocarbons) contaminants to aquatic animals and plants. He has also been involved in developing a wetland risk assessment framework for the Ramsar Convention, and its application to both chemical and biological threats.

Areas of expertise and research interests

Aquatic ecotoxicology; ecological risk assessment; derivation of water quality guidelines; monitoring and assessment of contaminant impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

Current key projects

  • The toxicity of uranium to sediment biota of Magela Creek backflow billabong environments
  • Effect of dissolved organic matter on the bioavailability and toxicity of uranium and aluminium to tropical freshwater biota
  • Direct effects of suspended sediment on tropical freshwater biota
  • Toxicity of pulse-exposed magnesium to four tropical freshwater species
  • Toxicity of treated pond and process waters from Ranger Uranium Mine to five local freshwater species
  • Preliminary assessment of the toxicity of manganese to three tropical freshwater species

Key publications

Harford AJ, Jones D & van Dam RA 2013. Highly treated mine waters may require major ion addition before environmental release. Science of the Total Environment. 443, 143–151

van Dam RA, Trenfield MA, Markich SJ, Harford AJ, Humphrey AC & Stauber JL. 2012. Re-analysis of uranium toxicity data for freshwater organisms and the influence of dissolved organic carbon. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 31(11), 2606-2614.

van Dam RA, Harford AJ & Warne MStJ 2012. Time to get off the fence: The need for definitive international guidance on statistical analysis of ecotoxicity data. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 8(2), 242-245.

Trenfield MA, Ng JC, Noller BN, Markich SJ & van Dam RA 2012. Dissolved organic carbon reduces uranium toxicity to the unicellular eukaryote Euglena gracilis. Ecotoxicology 21, 1013-1023.

Trenfield MA, Ng JC, Noller BN, Markich SJ & van Dam RA 2012. Dissolved organic carbon reduces the toxicity of aluminium to three tropical freshwater organisms. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 31(2), 427-436.

Bartolo R, van Dam R & Bayliss R 2012. Regional ecological risk assessment for Australia's tropical rivers: Application of the relative risk model. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 18, 16-46.

Bayliss P, van Dam R & Bartolo R 2012. Quantitative ecological risk assessment of Magela Creek floodplain on Kakadu National Park: comparing point source risks from Ranger uranium mine to diffuse landscape-scale risks. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 18, 115-151.

Trenfield MA, McDonald S; Kovacs K, Lesher E, Pringle JM, Markich SJ; Ng JC, Noller B, Brown PL & van Dam RA 2011. Dissolved organic carbon reduces uranium bioavailability and toxicity. 1: Characterisation of aquatic fulvic acid and its complexation with uranium[VI]. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 3075-3081.

Trenfield MA, Ng JC, Noller BN, Markich SJ & van Dam RA 2011. Dissolved organic carbon reduces uranium bioavailability and toxicity. 2. Uranium[VI] speciation and toxicity to three tropical freshwater organisms. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 3082-3089.

Negri AP, Harford AJ, Parry DL, & van Dam RA 2011. Effects of an alumina refinery discharge and its key metal constituents at the upper thermal tolerance of: 2. The early life stages of the coral Acropora tenuis. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62, 474–482.

Harford AJ, Hogan AC, Tsang JJ, Parry DL, Negri AP, Adams MS, Stauber JL & van Dam RA 2011. Effects of an alumina refinery discharge and its key metal constituents at the upper thermal tolerance of: 1. The tropical diatom Nitzschia closterium. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62, 466-473.

Harford AJ, Hogan AC, Jones DR & van Dam RA 2011. Ecotoxicological assessment of a polyelectrolyte flocculant. Water Research 45(19), 6393–6402.

Cheng KL, Parry DL, Hogan AC, Markich SJ, Harford AJ & van Dam RA 2010. Uranium toxicity and speciation following chronic exposure to the tropical freshwater fish, Mogurnda mogurnda . Chemosphere 79, 547-554.

Hogan AC, van Dam RA, Harford AJ, Houston MA & Nou S 2010. Uranium exposure to the tropical duckweed, Lemna aequinoctialis, and pulmonate snail, Amerianna cumingi: fate and toxicity. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 59, 204-215.

van Dam RA, Hogan A, McCullough C, Houston M, Humphrey C & Harford A 2010. Aquatic toxicity of magnesium sulfate, and the influence of calcium, in very low ionic concentration water. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29(2), 410-421.

van Dam RA, Harford AJ, Houston MA, Hogan AC & Negri A 2008. Tropical marine toxicity testing in Australia: A review and recommendations . Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology 14(2/3), 55-88.

van Dam RA, Hogan AC, Harford AJ & Markich SJ 2008. Toxicity and metal speciation characterisation of waste water from an abandoned gold mine in tropical northern Australia . Chemosphere 73, 305-313.

Warne M & van Dam R 2008. NOEC and LOEC data should no longer be generated or used. Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology 14(1), 1-5.

Hogan A, van Dam RA, Markich SJ & Camilleri C 2005. Chronic toxicity of uranium to a tropical green alga (Chlorella sp.) in natural waters and the influence of dissolved organic carbon . Aquatic Toxicology 75, 343-353.

van Dam RA, Camilleri C, Bayliss P & Markich SJ 2004. Ecological risk assessment of tebuthiuron following application on tropical Australian wetlands . Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 10, 1069-1097.

van Dam RA, Humphrey CL & Martin P 2002. Mining in the Alligator Rivers Region, northern Australia: Assessing potential and actual impacts on ecosystem and human health . Toxicology 181/182, 505-515.

Riethmuller N, Markich SJ, van Dam RA & Parry D 2001. Effects of water hardness and alkalinity on the toxicity of uranium to a tropical freshwater hydra  (Hydra viridissima). Biomarkers 6(1), 45-51.

van Dam RA & Chapman JC 2001. Direct toxicity assessment (DTA) for water quality guidelines in Australia and New Zealand. Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology 7(2), 157-180.

SSD publications

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