Eutrophication hotspots resulting from biogeochemical transformations and bioavailability of organic phosphorus in the fluvial suspended sediment of geologically contrasting agricultural catchments

Project Website

Laurence Gill 

Prof. Laurence Gill (Trinity College Dublin)

Projects  Partner and Institution:
Dr. Yongfeng Hu (Canadian Light Soure & University of Saskatchewan)

Prof. Kevin Bishop (Swedish University of Agriculture)

Key words: Fluvial sediments, eutrophication, phosphorus, Catchment science, nutrient biogeochemisty

Abstract: This project endeavours to address the current lack of understanding of which P fractions on fluvial and stream bed sediments are more bioavailable and degrade water quality, specifically relating to the effect of organic P and humic-metal P complex pools from fluvial sediments. Concurrently, a predictive understanding of biogeochemical transformations and fluxes of fluvial and streambed sediment bound P will be developed and feed into current predictive biogeochemical hydro-sedimentary models for catchment water quality. This lack of data currently represents a major obstacle to the design and implementation of integrated water resource management of agricultural river catchments. The proposal directly relates to challenge two and sub-topic 2.b of the ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2015 call anouncement by addressing the impact of fluvial and stream bed sediments in agricultural catchment streams on surface water quality as up to 90% of P from agricultural catchments may be in the form of particulate phosphorus on suspended sediments. In addition the proposal directly relates to sub-topic 2.c in challenge two relating to developing predictive models to simulate potential P loss or the impacts of climate change, land-use and land management practices on fluvial sediment P export. Predictive models appeal to policy makers and water managers as these models can provide solutions to problems under various scenarios quickly. The results from the local-scale biogeochemical field work and laboratory-based experiments in sub-topic 2.b on fluvial sediment bound P (focusing on organic P and humic-metal P complexes) in agricultural catchment streams alone will fill major knowledge gaps, hence making this part of the proposed research worthwhile in its own right. In addition, the new process molecular level understanding will be scaled up by developing more realistic representations of biogeochemical transformations in agricultural catchments, which can be included in catchment-scale hydrological models.

Project structure: The proposed OrgP-Sed project will be divided into three main work packages discussed belwo, each building upon the success of the other. Contingency plans will be inbuilt into each work packages to provide a safety net in case of anything going off course. . The administrative management of Eutro-Sed will be coordinated by the lead partner at TCD, with backup from Prof. Kevin Bishop and Prof. Yongfeng Hu, consortium partners at SLU and Canada. The person-months allocated to each task is appropriate in order for completion of the goals and objectives. Field sampling and analysis will be carried initially while concurrently isotope and predictive model development will overlap. This is necessary for amalgamation of field data to feed predictive model development and the time allowed is the minimum in developing ground-breaking predictive models.

Implementation: Work package 1. will focus on the biogeochemical processes and properties of fluvial sediment bound organic phosphorus. Specifically, the effects of redox oscillations on P exchanges and speciation will be examined in the field and in laboratory incubations.
Work package 2. will test the hypothesis that the strong biogeochemical gradients and fluctuations within suspended and streambed sediments of geologically contrasting agricultural catchment streams result in phosphorus bio-availability dynamics.
Work package 3. will address the regional scale impacts of biogeochemical transformations within suspended and streambed sediment bound phosphorus in geologically contrasting agricultural catchments.

Outcome/deliverables: Several academic papers will be generated from this project under the following subject areas and submitted to the following target high impact international journals (1) Hydrology & Biogeochemistry (2) Suspended sediment and advanced spectroscopy (3) Hydro-sedimentary biogeochemical modelling. A workshop will be organised to to discuss and raise awareness of the importance of suspended/stream bed sediment on surface water quality. The workshop will also stimulate brainstorming on the frontiers of this important area of research. Results from the project will be presented at international conferences such as Goldschmidt (Boston 2018), AGU (San Francisco, 2019), EGU (Vienna, 2019).

References coordinator and  leaders of  each WP:
Dr.David O'Connell,
Prof. Laurence Gill,
Dr. Yongfeng Hu,
Dr. Faruk Djodjic,
Prof. Kevin Bishop (WP-1)
Dr.David O'Connell,
Prof. Laurence Gill,
Dr. Yongfeng Hu,
Dr. Faruk Djodjic,
Prof. Kevin Bishop (WP-2)
Dr.David O'Connell,
Prof. Laurence Gill,
Dr. Yongfeng Hu,
Dr. Faruk Djodjic,
Prof. Kevin Bishop (WP-3)

Contact Point for  Communication/Dissemination activities: Dr. David O'Connell & Prof. Laurence Gill (Project manager and co-ordinator)

Contact Point for Open Data/Open Access activities: Dr. David O'Connell & Professor Laurence Gill (Project manager and co-ordinator)

Results of the project: Data and resources


Photo of the Research Team:

David OConnell

Dr David O'connel

Faruk Djodjic

Dr. Faruk Djodjic

Laurence Gill

Prof. Laurence Gill

Yonfeng Hu

Dr. Yofen Hu

Kevin Bishop

Prof. Kevin Bishop

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published on 2017/07/11 08:00:00 GMT+1 last modified 2019-07-31T13:40:20+01:00