Glennys O'Brien 160 200A/Prof Glennys O'Brien

Phone:    +61 2 4221 3072
Room:       B18.112

  • Associate Professor

Research Interests

Research interests combine analytical and environmental chemistry with respect to water quality, in particular the behaviour of trace metals, both essential and toxic.

Trace Metals in Sediment Systems

Because of the variable chemistry of complex formation / absorption / adsorption / redox / insolubility of metal species, the behaviour of metals in the aquatic environment is complex. Metals are most often associated with the solid phase either as suspended matter or deposited material. This behaviour is also dependent on chemical and physical conditions within the sediment system and in the overlying water. The bioavailability of toxic metals is a function of this chemical behaviour.

Particular interests:   

  • The influence of the chemistry of sediment pore water on sediment trace metals behaviour, - identifying metal species, transport, cycling.   
  • The chemical behaviour of metals in relation to the macrocomponents organic carbon, nitrogen and sulfur.   
  • The use of surface analysis - spectroscopic techniques to investigate the binding of metals to different mineral phases, especially the pyritic phases.

Water Quality Issues

The Illawarra Coast and Southern Highlands has been subjected to the normal run of historical development development of farming, urbanisation, mining, and at Port Kembla in particular, heavy industry. All these activities have had and continue to have major impacts on the quality of various parts of the local physical environment.

Particular interests:   

  • The investigation of surface water quality in various catchments.   
  • Stream sediment metals loadings within stream/ drainage catchments.   
  • Trace metal loadings and behaviour in the local streams and harbour systems.

Representative Publications
  • Jolley, D., O'Brien G. and Morrison J. 2003. Evolution of Chemical Contaminant and Toxicology Studies, Pt 1- An Overview. S. Pac. J. Nat. Sci., 21, 1-5.
  • O'Brien G., Jolley, D. and Morrison J. 2003. Evolution of Chemical Contaminant and Toxicology Studies, Pt 2 case studies of Selenium and Arsenic. S. Pac. J. Nat. Sci., 21, 6-14.
  • Muhammad D., O'Brien G., Price W. and Chenhall B. 2005. Fractionation of sedimentary arsenic from Port Kembla Harbour , NSW, Australia . J. Environ. Monit., 7, 621-630. 
Last reviewed: 9 December, 2015