Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Julia Howitt

Dr Julia Howitt

Bsc(Sci Scholar) BSc(Hons) PhD (Monash), Grad Cert Higher Ed (Deakin)

Julia studied the electrochemical properties of ruthenium dyes for novel solar cells for her Honours degree and continued the interest in light/matter interactions through to her PhD research, which focused on the photochemical degradation of dissolved organic matter from freshwater systems and considered interactions with iron oxides and the impacts of these reactions on carbon cycling and bioavailability. The work was undertaken jointly with the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) and Monash University, with the support of the CRC for Freshwater Ecology.

Julia worked as an aquatic chemist with the MDFRC on projects including modelling low oxygen blackwater events associated with flooding in the Barmah-Millewa Forests, and water quality reviews for Lake Hume and Lake Mulwala before moving to Deakin University in Warrnambool as a lecturer in marine and freshwater chemistry. She collaborated on a number of projects considering nutrients, heavy metals and organic pollutants in riverine, wetland, estuarine and marine environments.

Since joining CSU in 2008 Julia has combined research on a diverse range of topics with supervision of research students and undergraduate teaching. She has worked on environmental water use in the mid-Murrumbidgee and research on environmental water use and carbon cycling in the Edward-Wakool system has been ongoing since 2010. A range of other work on trace contaminants, wetland and soil biogeochemistry and food chemistry is being undertaken. Julia is also a member of the CSU chemical safety committee.

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Teaching Interests

Julia has been involved with a number of the chemistry subjects since 2008.  Her current subjects include:

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Research Interests

Julia's research interests include aspects of environmental and analytical chemistry:

  • Water quality and nutrient cycling- including the effect of river management and environmental flows
  • Carbon chemistry in aquatic ecosystems – carbon transformation and characterisations in rivers and wetlands and blackwater events in the Murray Darling Basin.
  • Pollutants in a range of environments (including the workplace).
  • Cycling of trace metals in aquatic environments
  • Analytical chemistry including UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy and chromatographic techniques.

Current Research Projects

  • 2014-2019 Commonwealth Environmental Water - Long term intervention monitoring.  Funded by Department of Environment $3.5 million.  Collaborating scientists:  R Watts, L Baumgartner, P Bowen, A Conallin, M Grace, S Healey, K Kopf, N McCasker, I Wooden.
  • 2014-2016 Environmental contamination - Assessing the occupational exposure of NSW Police to illicit drugs in the workplace.  $95,000.
  • 2012-2016 Signature biomarkers for containment exposure associated with sewage and refuse legacy waste disposal sites in Antarctic fish and bivalves.  Funded by the Australian Antarctic Division $109,000 plus $885,000 in logistical support.  Collaborating scientists:  J Mondon, C King, P Corbett.

Research Students

PhD Current
  • Janey Adams "Impacts of Ungulate Trampling on Peatland Vegetation Communities"
  • Xiaoying Liu "Interactions between the Vegetation and Sediment and Phosphorus Dynamics in Ephemeral Freshwater Systems"
  • Clare Flakelar "Canola quality - the influence of processing parameters on valuable minor components"

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View Dr Howitt's publications in CRO.

View Dr Howitt's other publications.

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