Associate Professor Bryce Kelly

Associate Professor Bryce Kelly

Associate Professor
Field of Research
Air, Water, Isotopes, Greenhouse Gases



I lead research on evaluating the impact of coal seam gas (CSG) and coal mining on groundwater and air. At present I am coordinating research on assessing the impact of CSG developments in the Surat Basin and Condamine Catchments, and quantifying the extent of connectivity between the Great Artesian Basin and the lower Namoi alluvium adjacent to the Pilliga CSG development.

My major research activities include:

- measuring the greenhouse footprint of coal seam gas, coal mining, natural landscapes, agriculture and urban environments

- mapping connectivity between coal measures and fresh water aquifers using isotopes

- quantifying aquifer depressurisation impacts on sustainable water use and ecosystems.

Recently, we have made extensive measurements of the major greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) throughout NSW and Qld. This has been achieved using a combination of continuous measurements using a car mounted greenhouse gas analyser and by collecting ambient air samples for later analysis in our isotope laboratory.

In the Connected Waters Initiative isotope laboratory we can analyse the isotopic composition of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide gases. Isotope analyses help attribute the sources of greenhouse gases measured in ambient air samples and gases stripped from groundwater.

Summaries on our CSG related research are presented in our EGU2015 abstracts:

Kelly et al. (2015) Fugitive methane emissions from natural, urban, agricultural, and energy-production landscapes of eastern Australia

Iverach et al. (2015) Assessing the hydraulic connection between fresh water aquifers and unconventional gas production using methane and stable isotopes

I also undertake research on the effectiveness of water sharing plans, improving water use efficiency in agriculture, regional groundwater management, the evolution of alluvial sedimentary systems, and on karst landscape processes.


Public Outreach and Community Impact

I have written educational pieces on the need for research on CSG in The Conversation and Australian Geographic, and I contributed to the recent NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer background reports and reviews on CSG.



School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Connected Water Initiative Research Centre

Centre for Ecosystems Science


Research Grants

  • 2015/16/17/18 Cotton Research and Development Corporation grant: Baselining groundwater conditions in the lower Namoi and evaluating Pilliga CSG development impacts
  • 2014 Major Research Equipment and Infrastructure Initiative (MREII): LGR dissolved gas extraction system and the ultraportable greenhouse gas analyser
  • 2013/14/15 - Cotton Research and Development Corporation grant: quantifying the uncertainty associated with predicting CSG production impacts in the Condamine Ctachment, Qld
  • 2009/10/11/12/13/14 – ARC Special Research Initiatives Shared Grant, ARC/NWC co-funded national centre for groundwater research and training (NCGRT).


Current Student Projects (PhD and Honours)

PhD Candidates:

- Impulse response modelling of aquifer recharge and Analytic Element modelling of CSG production impacts , Mark Hocking (supervisor)

- Mapping recharge pathways and aquifer connectivity using stable isotopes, Charlotte Iverach (joint supervisor with Dr Dioni Cendon ANSTO)

- Dane Burkett (co-supervisor)

- Scott Cook (co-supervisor)

- Mohammadreza Keshavarzi (co-supervisor)

- Calvin Li (co-supervisor)

- Jie Yan (Jack) (co-supervisor)

Honours Candidates

- Greenhouse gas emissions from open cut coal mines, CSG, irrigated agriculture and native vegetation, Elisa Ginty

- Backburning greenhouse gas emissions in Sydney, Marija Simic

- Wombeyan Caves: sources and sinks of methane and carbon dioxide , Natalie Tan


Supervision Opportunities/Areas

The Connected Water Initiative Research Centre, UNSW Australia, is seeking high-quality international and domestic applicants to apply for PhD positions. Applicants must have a 1st class honours degree (or equivalent), or a higher degree (MSc or MRes) and evidence of research experience. The international scholarships are highly competitive. Ideally the candidate will have an outstanding undergraduate degree from a top 100 University on the QS, Times, or Shanghai Jao Tong rankings. The candidate will have one or more first author journal papers in a leading journal. All applicants must develop a short research proposal with their potential supervisor. International applicants must also meet English language qualifications.

Details on International scholarships are located here:

Details on Domestic scholarships are located here

For studies in the biogeosciences with particular reference to: the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands, estuaries, urban settings, coal mining and gas production; measuring and modelling terrestrial biosphere-atmosphere fluxes of water, CO2, CH4 and N20; using stable isotopes as tracers, please send your resume to


Advice for prospective students

Over the next century there will be unprecedented pressures on the environment (particularly on water, soil and air) due to global warming and increasing population. There is a critical need to measure greenhouse gas emissions, so that their generation can be managed. Australia is large and we need many people involved to improve our understanding of water and gas movement throughout the landscape. Being involved in measuring water movement and sources and sinks of greenhouse gases is one way you can make a positive contribution to managing the impacts of global warming. UNSW is at the forefront of measuring gases and their isotopic compositions. Within our gas lab we have:

- Picarro G2132-i Analyser for δ13C for methane

- Picarro G1101-i Analyser for δ13C for carbon dioxide

- Los Gatos Research Isotopic N2O Analyser (site-specific δ15N, δ18O and N2O)

- Los Gatos Research Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyser (CH4, CO2, H2O)

- Los Gatos Research dissolved gas extraction unit

We also have access to facilities within the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre:

And we work closely with the Institute for Environmental Research at ANSTO:

The Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre has a wide variety of near-surface geophysical and hydrological measurement systems:


Courses I Teach

GEOS1111 Fundamentals of Geology

GEOS2291 Earth's Interconnections: Hydrology, Biogeochemical Cycles and Ecosystems

GEOS6733 Environmental Geophysics


Professional Affiliations

Member - American Geophysical Union

Member – European Geosciences Union

Member – International Association of Hydrogeology



Finalist, 2011 Eureka Prize in the category “National Water Commission Professor Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation”.

Cotton Catchment Communities CRC – Achiever of the month award for “The development of a new approach for constructing 3D conceptual hydrogeological models of catchments”. September 2010.

Cotton Catchment Communities CRC - Science and Innovation award for “The Development of Electrical Imaging Techniques for Soil Water Monitoring”, 2007

+61 2 9385 1853

Room 5115, Level 5, Biological Sciences South (E26), UNSW, Kensington 2052