Andrew Rate

Dr, MSc Cant., PhD Lincoln(NZ)

  • The University of Western Australia (M079), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 2.11, Myers St bldg

    6009 Perth


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile


I have worked at the University of Western Australia since 1995 as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. My research and teaching discipline is best described as Environmental Geochemistry. My most recent research interests and achievements are in: understanding the behavior of trace elements and rare-earth elements in soils, sediments, water, and regolith; sulfidic sediments and acid sulfate soils, and; urban soils and sediments. I teach mainly in Environmental Science, covering soil physics and chemistry, environmental assessment, and environmental statistics.

安德魯率, 博士

In the rest of my life I'm a husband, a dad to 2 great girls, science and geochemistry geek. Love (in no particular order): being outdoors, doing field work, doing multivariate statistical analysis, making sciencey maps, hanging out with my family, getting good data, my church, encouraging and teaching students, environmental and social justice, prog rock/metal, playing guitar, poetry, cycling to work, movies, coffee, . . .

My formal credentials include a M.Sc. in Chemistry from The University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and a Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry from Lincoln University, New Zealand. 


See '♦ Grants' and '♦ Research Output' tabs above, or

Teaching overview


MSc / Honours


  • UWA Student Guild’s Students’ Choice Award for teaching in ENVT3361, Semester 1, 2017
  • Member of teaching team awarded the 2006 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Award for Excellence in Coursework Teaching, for the unit EART1105 Earth and Environment: Dynamic Planet.


Teaching philosophy

I believe in “learning by doing”, especially in the context of Environmental Science, and learning in a community where the 'teacher' is also one of the learners, and where the teacher's authenticity and character help to maintain an effective community of learners.

More specifically, I have been influenced by these books (among others):

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and SlowFarrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY, USA.

Palmer, P.J. (1998). The Courage To Teach. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Siegel, D.J. (2013). Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain - An Inside-Out Guide to the Emerging Adolescent Mind, Ages 12-24. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, New York, NY, USA.

My best teaching practices are inspired (but imperfectly implemented!) by the Learning Community model of Parker Palmer (Palmer, 1998). The other books are not really about teaching, but I think they're extremely useful for informing my teaching practice. Kahneman (2011) discusses the main categories of thought processes in humans, and his ideas on inherent bias are highly relevant to teaching science. This is especially relevant given that human brains are not mature until the age of about 24 (Siegel, 2013); older than most of the students we teach!

Future research

  • microplastics in urban street dusts and stormwater drainage
  • trace elements in a coastal plain catena
  • review and recalculation of Gd anomalies to account for anthropogenic Gd
  • preservation of lithogenic immobile element ratios in soils and regolith

Current projects

**** Potential project areas for prospective students ****

Environmental Geochemistry groupUWA School of Agriculture & Environment 


  • Microplastics in urban soils and sediments

  • Geochemistry of trace elements and rare earth elements
    ¤ in estuarine sediments
    ¤ in urban soils and sediments
    ¤ in deeply weathered soil/regolith
    ¤ in nodular regolith ferricretes and/or carbonates
  • Acid sulfate soils:
    ¤ export of trace / rare earth elements (potential contaminants) to water & sediments;
    ¤ landscape and other controls on distribution of co-contaminants (arsenic, heavy metals);
    ¤ effects of groundwater-level seasonality on sulfide oxidation;
    ¤ use of electron microprobe and synchrotron X-ray techniques...

Selected Recent PhD students:

  • Dr NianNian 'Elaine' Xu (PhD completed in 2018) "Sources and sinks of rare-earth and associated trace elements in sulfidic estuarine sediments"
  • AndyDr Andy Lucas (PhD completed in 2014) "Evaluating a biogeochemical mechanism for soil anomaly formation using passive diffusion samplers in geochemical exploration"
  • XinDr Xin Du (PhD completed in 2012)
    "Occurrence and behaviour of rare earth and associated elements in lateritic regolith profiles, Western Australia"
  • BreeDr Bree Morgan (PhD completed in 2012) "Sulfur geochemistry as a driver of trace metal, rare earth element and nutrient cycles in eutrophic estuarine sediment"


Selected Recent Honours and MSc Coursework/Dissertation Students:

  • Natasha Lutz (Honours 2019 and Rhodes Scholar) "Accumulation and potential for transport of microplastics in stormwater drains, Perth region, Western Australia"
  • Stephanie Franceschini (Honours 2018) "Understanding rare earth element fractionation in estuarine sediment pore water at Banks Reserve, Western Australia"
  • Scott McCarthy (Honours 2017) "The use of an Iron Man Gypsum based amendment in drains to prevent phosphate contamination"
  • Eleanor Liddle (Honours 2016) "Acid sulfate impacts on an estuarine environment associated with dredge spoil disposed on land"
  • Korin Wyatt (MSc 2016-7) "Comparison of chemical techniques to measure amorphous mineral content in iron ores and associated materials"



External positions

Reviewer Board Member, Minerals (

1 Jul 2020 → …

Academic Editor, PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science

4 Sep 2018 → …

Editorial Board Member, Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, Geological Society of London

2005 → …

Industry keywords

  • Environmental

Research expertise keywords

  • Environmental geochemistry
  • Soil chemistry
  • Water chemistry
  • Sediment chemistry
  • Trace elements
  • Rare earth elements
  • Heavy metals
  • Acid sulphate soils
  • Exploration geochemistry
  • Regolith geochemistry
  • Soil contamination
  • Urban soils and sediments
  • Estuarine sediments


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