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RD 1.2.1 Water and its ecosystem functions

IMage of lochan

RD 1.2.1: Water and its ecosystem functions will address the questions:

  1. to what degree do nature based solutions (NBS reduce flood peaks, improve morphology, improve water quality and deliver ecological benefits locally and at the catchment scale?, and
  2. can we detect change in our catchments using novel multiscale experiments? We propose two research Objectives to address these research questions.

Contact Mark Wilkinson for more information about this work.

The work comprises two objectives; O1: Evidence base for catchment processes: understanding the impact of Nature Based Solutions and O2: Contaminants of Concern: Sediment, pathogens & emerging contaminants. There are five ongoing core work areas associated with each objective with a number of research activities.

Objective 1a: Establishing an evidence base for NFM and rural SuDs (including Green Infrastructure)

This work will monitor and analyze water quantity and quality data relating to natural flood management and rural SuDs measures installed at contrasting scales (assessing the multiple benefits). For example, we will perform field experiments to demonstrate the utility of designer riparian buffer strips and gather evidence around the functioning of catchment based measures in the Dee and Lunan catchments.

Contacts: Helen Watson and Mark Wilkinson

Objective 1b: Effects of altered and restored river morphology on aquatic physical habitat and ecology

This research will support the Scottish Government/SEPA-led Pilot Catchments initiative (2015-27) by providing a detailed assessment of the ecological effects of morphological restoration, a key goal of WFD-led River Basin Management Plans. We will use existing long-term monitoring data (O1a) combined with targeted ecological studies to investigate the influence of catchment scale factors on the success of morphological restoration projects in achieving ecological improvements.

Contacts: Steve Addy and Susan Cooksley

Image showing flooded arable field

Objective 2a: Fine sediments: sources, impacts and management

The fine sediment research aims to deliver evidence to SEPA on the potential sources of fine sediments and associated contaminants. The work has three work activities:

  1. Sediment sources,
  2. Impacts, and
  3. Management

Contacts: Nikki Baggaley, Andy Vinten and Susan Cooksley

Objective 2b: Detection of the pathogen sources, mitigation and KE demonstration

Risk analysis and classifications, including link to future risk: The overarching aim of this activity is to develop our understanding of how sources of faecal pollution, methods for source tracking and pathogen behaviour relate to each other and the regulatory context of FIO measurements. Methods will be developed to enable the recovery and concentration of protozoan parasites from water samples and faecal samples derived from livestock and wildlife.

Contacts: Lisa Avery and Frank Katzer

Objective 2c: Understanding of environmental behaviour and effect of emerging contaminants by use of passive sampling and bioassay techniques:

This project aims to develop, optimise and apply novel monitoring techniques (passive sampling methods such as Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS)) providing time weighted average (TWA) concentrations, to understand the occurrence, transport and behaviour of emerging contaminants (e.g. pesticides, PPCPs and EDCs) from catchments (e.g. pesticides land application and WWTPs effluent) upon coastal waters.

Contact Zulin Zhang

The package of work is provides critical empirical evidence to many work areas across the research programme such as modelling work in RD1.2.2, scenarios work in RD1.2.3 and guidance work in RD1.2.4. There are also strong links to all other work packages in Theme 1.

Example outputs from the research to date include both technical studies describing science development and those putting the work in the context of our working with key stakeholders such as SEPA, Scottish Water, SNH, Forestry Commission Scotland, Fisheries Boards, Estates and others. These can be further explored under each individual project page mentioned above.

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project
SEFARI – Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research InstitutesSEFARI is the collective of six Scottish world-leading Research Institutes working across the spectrum of environment, land, food, agriculture and communities – all topics which affect how we live our lives, in Scotland and beyond.

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.