Dr Richard Quilliam has been awarded £1.85 million from NERC to conduct a research project investigating how marine plastics transport bacteria and viruses – and the impact that these may have on human health. The research will be carried out in collaboration with academics from the Universities of Bangor and Warwick, and is entitled Microbial hitch-hikers of marine plastics: the survival, persistence and ecology of microbial communities in the ‘Plastisphere’. Read more about this exciting project here.
We are pleased to welcome the newest members of our team: Natalie Boyd Williams, Craig McDougall, and Kirelle McManus, all of whom are joining us as PhD students. Learn more about our new colleagues and their projects on our team page!
David Oliver and Claire Paton both presented at the Scottish Water Catchment Science conference, showcasing catchment-focused research alongside several industry partners. Sharing the knowledge and insights gained from research projects stimulated a lot of interesting discussion and gave a better understanding of the potential benefits of catchment research and management for improving drinking water quality.
We would like to welcome Emmanuel Afolabi to the ESHH group! Emmanuel will be quantifing the risk of wildlife contributions to diffuse microbial pollution in agricultural catchments- a really important question in untangling wildlife from livestock diffuse pollution risk.
Sarah Buckerfield has published her first paper, How can we improve understanding of faecal indicator dynamics in karst systems under changing climatic, population, and land use stressors? – Research opportunities in SW China. This paper can be found here.
Isobel Swinscoe has published her first paper, The seaweed fly (Coelopidae) can facilitate environmental survival and transmission of E. coli O157 at sandy beaches. This paper can be found here.
Claire Paton has received funding from Santander to cover fieldwork travel expenses for some upcoming work in Orkney. This campaign will allow Claire to categorise the sources and transfer pathways of Cryptosporidium in two drinking water catchments on the Orkney mainland.
Sarah Buckerfield has received funding from SAGES (Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society) through the SAGES Small Grants Scheme to present results from her first field season in China at the International Association of Hydrogeologists Congress in Daejeon, Korea, in September. The aim of this field campaign was to investigate how E. coli emergence and discharge in surface and ground water sampling sites varied through a series of rainfall events during the wet season, with increasing spatial scale of downstream sampling location.
Heather Purshouse has been awarded a grant from the Parkes Foundation to explore whether composting toilets meet the needs of menstruating women and girls in Malawi.
Composting toilets are designed to safely collect and convert faeces and urine into compost, and are widely promoted across Africa as a sustainable strategy to improve sanitation and produce low-cost fertiliser. However, it is not clear whether these facilities are able to satisfactorily meet the physical, mental and cultural needs of menstruating women and girls. Certain requirements of composting toilets, e.g. preventing water or rubbish from entering the toilet vault, conflict with need to wash bodies and hands in privacy, clean blood stains on the toilet, and dispose of used menstrual rags with discretion. This project will use in-depth qualitative interviews with women and girls who are long-term users of composting toilets to discuss their behaviours, experiences, beliefs and opinions. These will be compared and contrasted with traditional toilet (pit latrine) users, and developed into suggestions for improving the suitability and comfort of composting toilets for menstruating women and girls.
1.Excellent progress is being made on the ViPER II project and the necessary integration of the ViPER platform with SCIMAP to develop SCIMAP-FIO, a FIO risk mapping decision support tool (coupling FIO source risks with hydrological connectivity). On Feb 7th, members of ESHH (Dr Jared Parnell, Dr David Oliver, and Dr Richard Quilliam), along with Dr Phil Batrie and Dr Sim Reaney, ran a workshop at Durham University to update on progress and to demonstrate developments thus far to a range of end-users, including SEPA, EA, Scottish Water, Natural England, DWQR and CREW.
2. New publications from the ESHH research group can be found here
Heather Purshouse and Dr. Richard Quilliam conducted research in Malawi investigating the potential use of innovative sanitation systems.
1. ESHH PhD students presented posters and oral presentations at the University of Stirling Biological and Environmental science Winter Symposium. Research themes ranged from catchment science to novel techniques for optimizing grain yield. Claire Paton received a prize for best presentation and Heather Purshouse and Francesc Ferrando Molina also were awarded best poster presentations.
Javier Carrillo-Reche attends Sustainable Intensification conference at Rothamsted Research, Harpenden. Learning the lastest advances in sustainable agriculture and presenting a poster showing the enormous potential of ‘on-farm’ seed priming for closing yield gaps in marginal and degraded agricultural areas.
ESHH welcomes Heather Purshouse and Francesc Ferrando Molina to the research group. Heather will be investigating the role of insect larvae for the sustainable management of fecal wastes in sub-Saharan Africa and Francesc will be developing novel seed treatments for grain legumes.
Jonathan Fletcher commences a study of water bodies around central Scotland to determine the phytoremediation potential of native aquatic plant communities.
Typha latifolia (Reedmace) and Lemna minor (Duckweed) community in eutrophic water.
Right: Sparganium erectum (Branched Bur-Reed) and Potamogeton perfoliatus community (Clasping-leaved Pondweed) in copper and manganese enriched water
Dr Jared Parnell joins the ESHH Research Group as a Post-doc and web-developer on the NERC-funded ViPER II project.
Exciting PhD Studentship available in Plant-microbe Interactions under the supervision Dr Richard Quilliam (University of Stirling), Prof Adrian Newton and Dr Pete Iannetta (JHI, Dundee):
‘Developing novel seed treatments for grain legumes: optimising sustainable outcomes in agricultural systems.’
Sarah Buckerfield has left for China to undertake the first fieldwork campaign of her PhD project. Sarah will be in China from April through to the end of June investigating E. coli fate and transfer linked to different hydrological and land-use drivers in the Houzhai catchment. She’ll be based at the Puding Karst Ecosystem Research Station in Guizhou Province, which is the centre of the South China Karst terrain.
ESHH members will be attending the Scottish Ecology, Environment and Conservation Conference, to be held at the University of Aberdeen during April 3rd-4th 2017.
12 month position available in ESHH: Web Application Developer. We are looking for a developer to integrate two existing web-based packages (SCIMAP and ViPER) to produce an innovative decision support tool (DST) for environmental management – Deadline 9th March, full details HERE.