Miss Maddison Carbery

Miss Maddison Carbery

Research student

Career Summary


Maddison completed her Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science and Management at The University of Newcastle in 2013. She then went on to complete Honours in 2014, supported by NSW DPI Fisheries. Her honours research focused on the effectiveness of no-take sanctuary zones in shallow water habitats using baited remote underwater video (BRUVs) as a passive tool to assess fish and crustacean assemblages in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. This was the first study to assess biodiversity within the marine park since it was established in 2007. 

In 2017, Maddison commenced her PhD with the Global Center for Environmental Remediation (GCER) at The University of Newcastle. During the earlier stages of her PhD, Maddison performed a number of aquatic based surveys to develop baseline information on the occurrence, distribution and characteristics of microplastics in Australia’s coastal environments, before developing an interest in the chemical fingerprint of environmental plastics. She is now working closely with citizen science organisations Tangaroa Blue and the Australian Microplastic Assessment project (AUSMAP), as well as the NSW DPI Fisheries Institute to understand the impacts of microplastics and contaminants on organisms belonging to valuable marine food webs and the potential implications on human health.

Since 2012, Maddison has also been active in a number of volunteer roles, including Vice President of NUSEC (Newcastle University Student Environment Club), Chair of Ocean and Coastal Care Initiatives (OCCI) and Community Representative on the Lake Macquarie Estuary Management Committee. 


  • Analytical chemistry
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Environmental science
  • Field sampling
  • Marine ecology
  • Microplastics
  • Science communication
  • Toxicology


  • English (Mother)

Professional Experience

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/2/2021 -  Algae Bioremediation (Research Assistant) The University of Newcastle

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/11/2019 - 1/3/2020 Environmental Scientist

Researching the ecotoxicity and potential human and environmental health risks of phthalates in Victorian.  

Environment Protection Authority Victoria
Applied Science Unit (Water)
4/2/2019 - 5/7/2019 Intern

Maddison was employed to synthesise global information on the occurrence of microplastics in aquatic environments and the currently available sampling and analytical techniques. She developed an options paper evaluating potential management approaches to effectively reduce microplastics in Victorian wastewater in order to assist EPA Victoria in the regulation and control of microplastics discharged to aquatic environments via wastewater treatment plants.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria
Applied Science Unit (Environmental Solutions)


Code Course Role Duration
ENVS1002 Physical and Chemical Environment
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, The university of Newcastle, Australia
Laboratory Demonstrator 3/8/2020 - 14/9/2020


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (7 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Senathirajah K, Attwood S, Bhagwat G, Carbery M, Wilson S, Palanisami T, 'Estimation of the mass of microplastics ingested A pivotal first step towards human health risk assessment', Journal of Hazardous Materials, 404 (2021) [C1]

The ubiquitous presence of microplastics in the food web has been established. However, the mass of microplastics exposure to humans is not defined, impeding the human health risk... [more]

The ubiquitous presence of microplastics in the food web has been established. However, the mass of microplastics exposure to humans is not defined, impeding the human health risk assessment. Our objectives were to extract the data from the available evidence on the number and mass of microplastics from various sources, to determine the uncertainties in the existing data, to set future research directions, and derive a global average rate of microplastic ingestion to assist in the development of human health risk assessments and effective management and policy options. To enable the comparison of microplastics exposure across a range of sources, data extraction and standardization was coupled with the adoption of conservative assumptions. Following the analysis of data from fifty-nine publications, an average mass for individual microplastics in the 0¿1 mm size range was calculated. Subsequently, we estimated that globally on average, humans may ingest 0.1¿5 g of microplastics weekly through various exposure pathways. This was the first attempt to transform microplastic counts into a mass value relevant to human toxicology. The determination of an ingestion rate is fundamental to assess the human health risks of microplastic ingestion. These findings will contribute to future human health risk assessment frameworks.

DOI 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124004
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Thava Palanisami, Geetika Bhagwat Uon
2020 Carbery M, MacFarlane GR, O'Connor W, Afrose S, Taylor H, Palanisami T, 'Baseline analysis of metal(loid)s on microplastics collected from the Australian shoreline using citizen science', Marine Pollution Bulletin, 152 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.110914
Citations Scopus - 8Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Thava Palanisami, Geoff Macfarlane
2020 Raju S, Carbery M, Kuttykattil A, Senthirajah K, Lundmark A, Rogers Z, et al., 'Improved methodology to determine the fate and transport of microplastics in a secondary wastewater treatment plant', WATER RESEARCH, 173 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2020.115549
Citations Scopus - 24Web of Science - 19
Co-authors Geoffrey Evans, Thava Palanisami, Nethajisubashchandrabose Raju Uon, Suresh Subashchandrabose
2020 Idowu O, Carbery M, O'Connor W, Thavamani P, 'Speciation and source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in sediments of the largest salt water lake of Australia', Chemosphere, 246 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125779
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6
Co-authors Thava Palanisami
2018 Lam CS, Ramanathan S, Carbery M, Gray K, Vanka KS, Maurin C, et al., 'A Comprehensive Analysis of Plastics and Microplastic Legislation Worldwide', Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 229 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s11270-018-4002-z
Citations Scopus - 24Web of Science - 20
Co-authors Cristelle Maurin, Thava Palanisami
2018 Raju S, Carbery M, Kuttykattil A, Senathirajah K, Subashchandrabose SR, Evans G, Thavamani P, 'Transport and fate of microplastics in wastewater treatment plants: implications to environmental health', Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, 17 637-653 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s11157-018-9480-3
Citations Scopus - 46Web of Science - 36
Co-authors Suresh Subashchandrabose, Thava Palanisami, Geoffrey Evans, Nethajisubashchandrabose Raju Uon
2018 Carbery M, O'Connor W, Thavamani P, 'Trophic transfer of microplastics and mixed contaminants in the marine food web and implications for human health', ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL, 115 400-409 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2018.03.007
Citations Scopus - 259Web of Science - 237
Co-authors Thava Palanisami
Show 4 more journal articles

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 4
Total funding $79,500

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20192 grants / $28,000

Microplastics in aquatic environments$20,500

Funding body: University of Melbourne

Funding body University of Melbourne
Project Team

Maddison Carbery, Dr. Thava Palanisami and Alison Kemp

Scheme Australian Postgraduate Research Internships
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220

Fingerprinting chemical contaminants in microplastics - Australian Microplastic Assessment Project (AUSMAP)$7,500

Funding body: Total Environment Centre

Funding body Total Environment Centre
Project Team

Dr. Scott Wilson, Dr. Thava Palanisami and Maddison Carbery

Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

20171 grants / $45,000

Occurrence, fate and behavior of microplastics in aquatic environments: Implications to ecological and human health$45,000

Funding body: Newcastle City Council

Funding body Newcastle City Council
Project Team

Dr. Thava Palanisami and Maddison Carbery

Scheme 50/50 Scholarship
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2020
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220

20151 grants / $6,500

Microplastics in Lake Macquarie: Occurrence, distribution and chemical characteristics $6,500

Funding body: Lake Macquarie City Council

Funding body Lake Macquarie City Council
Project Team

Dr. Thava Palanisami, Maddison Carbery

Scheme Lake Macquarie Environmental Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2018
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220

Miss Maddison Carbery

Contact Details

Email maddison.carbery@uon.edu.au