Messing With Reality: Testing Heavy Metal Management Scenarios For The Derwent Using Mesocosms

Supervisor team may include:

Catriona Macleod

The aim of this project would be to test the ability of artificial habitats or constructed wetlands to remediate a broad suite of contaminants relevant to the Derwent. Depending on student interests and experience the project could i) target a particular contaminant, such as mercury, and evaluate and test alternate strategies for remediation in mesocosm trials OR ii) target a particular location (eg. MONA) and test alternate strategies for general remediation of the broad suite of contaminants in the local ecosystem.

Strategies that could be tested using mesocosm technology include but are not limited to hierarchical wetland construction with each stage designed to address a particular contamination issue and specific culture media targeting particular contaminants (these might include plant based cultures and/ or sediment based manipulations).

A key component to this project in the latter stages would be integration with landscape architects/ designers with a view to identifying ways to implement any proposed technology in real scales.


  1. Evaluate alternate currently available strategies for environmental remediation of either mercury OR zinc in mesocosm trials
  2. Test the efficacy of broadscale remediation techniques (constructed wetlands) to reduce the load of particular contaminants (i.e. mercury/ zinc) in Derwent hotspots.

From this project you may gain skills in: experimental design (field and laboratory), field sampling, conducting laboratory based experiments, statistical analysis, stakeholder interactions and publication of results.

Suitable for February or July start date.

Contact Catriona Macleod ( for more details.

Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
October 7, 2019