Solute transport assessment in catchments: ecohydrological perspectives


CALL: 2016

DOMAIN: SR - Environmental and Earth Sciences






KEYWORDS: - international networking- eco hydrology- contaminant hydrology- new measurment techniques

START: 2016-08-01

END: 2019-07-31


Submitted Abstract

Understanding and quantifying the travel times and dispersion of solutes moving through stream environments, including the hyporheic zone and/or in-channel dead zones, remains a major challenge in catchment ecohydrology. Specifically, retention affects biogeochemical cycling processes that are critical to stream ecosystem functioning and maintenance of healthy waterways. Recent advances in sensor technology have provided an opportunity to achieve measurement of key parameters at unprecedented temporal resolutions – providing new insights into the fate and transport of chemicals in the environment. In collaboration with Prof. Keith Smettem (University of Western Australia), LIST’s Catchment and Eco-hydrology (CAT) research group has been at the forefront of these new approaches sensing chemical transport in catchment waterways and riparian zones. LIST’s CAT has already developed and applied novel techniques for tracing hydrological connectivity (with terrestrial diatoms), mapping surface saturated area dynamics (via thermal IR imagery), a prototype of a portable mass spectrometer, or investigating isotopic signatures of water in soils (through testing different water extraction methods).Here, we build on past investments into innovative research avenues to quantify solute and contaminant movement in the near and in-stream environment. This shall lead to the creation of new opportunities for research projects and publications, and to the development of innovative remedial strategies to improve the health of waterways. The collaborative framework offered by the Mobility funding scheme will allow a dual strategy consistent with LIST’s orientation as a Research and Technology Organisation of: (i) continuity in exploring innovative technological solutions for overcoming prevailing knowledge gaps in contaminant hydrological processes research and (ii) introduction of LIST solutions and products into international markets and hydrology and eco-engineering applications. For this Mobility proposal, we can build on our on-going research into biological tracers [FNR CORE ECSTREAM], thermal IR imagery [FP7 ITN INTERFACES], riparian zone research [FNR AFR PATHFINDER], and biogeochemical transport [FNR AFR TRANSFORM]. Our collaboration within the Mobility framework will also leverage Prof. Smettem’s work with Southampton University and The University of Western Australia in developing new real-time sensor arrays for measuring chemical transport and decay processes in water bodies. Our joint research will springboard from his work published with the University of Southampton in 2014-2016 and ‘proof of concept’ papers currently in preparation from Prof. Smettem’s study leave visit to LIST 2015 (results to be presented initially at the European Geophysical Union Conference, Vienna, April 2016). This Mobility will include two incoming scientists (K. Smettem, N. Harris) and one outgoing scientist (J. Klaus).

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