Alex has a BSc with chemistry and biochemistry majors, MSc in microbial enzymology and a PhD in the ecotoxicology of metals in estuarine plants. Over the past 40 years she has been involved in a range of research projects and research consultancies in estuarine plant ecology and plant ecotoxicology and has supervised and co-supervised numerous senior undergraduate and postgraduate and Honours research projects, Masters by research and PhD students.
Alex is currently an Honorary Associate of the Faculty of Science and the Project Coordinator and presenter of short courses for contaminated site professionals in Contaminated Site Assessment, Remediation and Management (CSARM) program offered by the School of Life Sciences with the support of NSW EPA. At various times in the past she has been Head of Department, Associate Head of Department, Course Director of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and First-Year Coordinator. She has taught widely in the environmental science area at UTS, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
She was a member of NSW Site Auditors Accreditation Panel and of the Environmental Hazards Subcommittee of NSW Environmental Trust for a number of years.
Associate Editor, Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology
Member, SETAC Asia Pacific;
Conservation and management of estuarine plant communities
Ecotoxicology of heavy metals in estuarine plants
Phytotoxicity studies of crop and native species to underpin the development of reliable EILs for metals in contaminated sites in Australia
Phytoremediation potential of Australian native plants
In addition to initiating, developing, and presenting the short course modules for contaminated site professionals, the most recent undergraduate teaching and coordination was in:
Environmental Protection and Management
Biological Hazards and Toxicology
Development and presentation of post graduate subject Advanced Communication Skills in Science
Sommerville, KD, Rossetto, M & Pulkownik, A 2013, 'Maximising adaptive potential in translocated populations of clonal saltmarsh plants: a case study on Wilsonia backhousei, Convolvulaceae', Wetlands Ecology and Management, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 339-351.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
We investigated the implications of clonality for translocation of Wilsonia backhousei, a threatened, outbreeding, saltmarsh plant with tidally-dispersed fruit. Eight microsatellite loci were used to characterise samples from three estuaries in New South
Sommerville, KD, Pulkownik, A & Burchett, M 2012, 'Reproductive Biology Of A Threatened Australian Saltmarsh Plant - Wilsonia Backhousei', Aquatic Botany, vol. 99, pp. 1-10.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The reproductive biology of a threatened saltmarsh plant, Wilsonia backhousei Hook.f., was investigated with a view to improving conservation and restoration outcomes for the species. Population phenology was studied every two weeks, over two consecutive
Melville, FR & Pulkownik, A 2007, 'Seasonal and spatial variation in the distribution of mangrove macroalgae in the Clyde River, Australia', Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science, vol. 71, no. 3-4, pp. 683-690.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The objective of this study was to determine whether there was significant spatial and temporal variation in macroalgae epiphytic on pneumatophores of the Grey Mangrove, Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vieth., in the Clyde River, located 280 km south of Sydney, Australia. Three estuarine sites in th Clyde River were surveyed seasonally on four occasions over a two-year period and algal distribution and abundance assessed in respect to temporal, inte-site, intertidal (from front to back of mangrove stand) and vertical (from bottom to top of pneumatophores) variation. Sediment and water characteristics, including nutrient levels, were also assessed in order to examine all variables of potential influence on algal distribution and abundance. The results indicated that intertidal position within sites, and vertical height along the length of the pneumatophore, were the greatest influecne on algal frequency and biomass. Individual species dominated in different intertidal and vertical zones. These observations together with the identification of threee species of macroalgae that fulfil the criteria for bioindicators/bioonitos of environmental impacts are discussed.
Melville, FR & Pulkownik, A 2007, 'Investigation Of Mangrove Macroalgae As Biomonitors Of Estuarine Metal Contamination', Science Of The Total Environment, vol. 387, no. 1-3, pp. 301-309.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This study examined the potential use of macroalgae epiphytic on mangrove aerial roots as biomonitors of estuarine contamination. The metal concentrations of macroalgae were investigated in four estuaries in the vicinity of Sydney, Australia, and compare
The speciation patterns of Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Pb and Zn in 24 sediment samples from West Lake, Vietnam were investigated using a sequential extraction scheme modified from Tessier et al. The results indicated that only a very small portion of the total metal was easily available (found in the exchangeable (<5%) and carbonate (<15%) fractions for all metals except Mn). Stably bound metals account for the major amounts (25-47%) of Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn. The sequential extraction is useful to indirectly assess the potential mobility and bioavailability of the heavy metals in the sediment. The mobility of these metals is related to their solubility and geochemical forms, and it decreases in the order: Mn > Cd > Zn > Pb > Cr > Cu. Significant correlations among all extracted fractions for all six metals were observed. The number of correlations between any two metal binding fractions suggests that they might be discharged from the same pollution source.
Pham, N, Pulkownik, A & Buckney, RT 2007, 'Assessment of heavy metals in sediments and aquatic organisms in West Lake (Ho Tay), Hanoi, Vietnam', Lakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 285-294.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
West Lake (Ho Tay) is the largest freshlake in Hanoi, Vietnam. It has a surface area of â 500 ha and a total volume of >107 m3, and is 1-3.5 m in depth. West Lake has been classified as needing protection because of its valuable freshwater genetic resources. Noting that it has been extensively affected by pollution, the objective of the present study was to examine the extent of heavy metal contamination of the sediments and commercially important biota in the lake. Heavy metal concentrations in the sediment from most of 24 samples in West Lake exceeded the Ontario Ministry of Environment Screening Level for chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) concentrations. Aquatic organisms from the lake also were found to be contaminated by heavy metals. The average Zn concentrations in snails and mussels tissues ranged between 174 and 415.Î¼g g-1, and the Pb concentrations between 3.5 and 5.2 Î¼g g-1. The Cu concentration in shrimp (52 Î¼g g-1) and snail (189 Î¼g g-1), and the Pb concentration in all fish species and shrimp from the lake (2.0-5.2 Î¼g g-1) exceeded the Food Standard Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ) health standards for human consumption. The Cd concentration in Cyprinus carpio also exceeded the FSANZ standard. The implications of these study findings for the effective management of the food and ecological resources of West Lake are discussed. Â© 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation Â© 2007 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.
Sommerville, KD, Rossetto, M & Pulkownik, A 2006, 'Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci from Wilsonia backhousei (Convolvulaceae)', Molecular Ecology Notes, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 419-421.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Wilsonia backhousei is a clonal saltmarsh plant restricted to the southern latitudes of Australasia and threatened in New South Wales. We have identified eight informative microsatellite loci in the species from (AG)(n)- and (AC)(n)-enriched libraries. I
Melville, FR & Pulkownik, A 2006, 'Investigation of mangrove macroalgae as bioindicators of estuarine contamination', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 52, no. 10, pp. 1260-1269.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This study examined the potential use of macroalgae epiphytic on mangrove aerial roots as indicators of estuarine contamination. The distribution and abundance of macroalgae was investigated in four estuaries in the vicinity of Sydney, Australia, and com
Melville, F & Pulkownik, A 2006, 'Mangrove macroalgae as potential estuarine test species in phytotoxicity tests using physiological endpoints', Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 21-28.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Melville, FR, Pulkownik, A & Burchett, M 2005, 'Zonal and seasonal variation in the distribution and abundance of mangrove macroalgae in the Parramatta River, Australia', Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science, vol. 64, no. 2-3, pp. 267-276.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The purpose of this study was to examine the spatial and temporal variation of macroalgae epiphytic on pneumatophores of the Grey mangrove, Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh., in the Parramatta River, the major estuarine system flowing into Sydney Harbour.
Melville, FR, Burchett, M & Pulkownik, A 2004, 'Genetic variation among age-classes of the mangrove Avicennia marina in clean and contaminated sediments', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 49, pp. 695-703.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Macfarlane, GR, Pulkownik, A & Burchett, M 2003, 'Accumulation and distribution of heavy metals in the grey mangrove, Avicennia marina (Forsk.)Vierh.: biological indication potential', Environmental Pollution, vol. 123, no. 1, pp. 139-151.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Burchett, MD, Allen, C, Pulkownik, A & MacFarlane, G 1998, 'Rehabilitation of saline wetland, Olympics 2000 site, Sydney (Australia) - II: Saltmarsh transplantation trials and application', MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, vol. 37, no. 8-12, pp. 526-534.
Burchett, MD, Pulkownik, A, Grant, C & MacFarlane, G 1998, 'Rehabilitation of saline wetlands, Olympics 2000 site, Sydney (Australia) - I: Management strategies based on ecological needs assessment', MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, vol. 37, no. 8-12, pp. 515-525.
Ralph, PJ, Burchett, M & Pulkownik, A 1992, 'Distribution Of Extractable Carbohydrate Reserves Within The Rhizome Of The Seagrass Posidonia-Australis Hook F', Aquatic Botany, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 385-392.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Rhizomes of Posidonia australis Hook. f., collected from Botany Bay on the eastern coast of Australia, were analysed for extractable carbohydrates. The concentration of extractable carbohydrate in the stelar tissue of the rhizome was significantly higher
BURCHETT, MD, CLARKE, CJ, FIELD, CD & PULKOWNIK, A 1989, 'GROWTH AND RESPIRATION IN 2 MANGROVE SPECIES AT A RANGE OF SALINITIES', PHYSIOLOGIA PLANTARUM, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 299-303.View/Download from: Publisher's site
MITCHELL, RL, BURCHETT, MD, PULKOWNIK, A & MCCLUSKEY, L 1988, 'EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTALLY HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS ON THE EMERGENCE AND EARLY GROWTH OF SELECTED AUSTRALIAN PLANTS', PLANT AND SOIL, vol. 112, no. 2, pp. 195-199.View/Download from: Publisher's site