PhD research student
Project: Integrated management of Scotland’s agricultural wetlands to deliver multiple benefits and minimise pollution swapping
Funded by the Scottish Government Hydro Nation Scholars Programme
Wetlands are ‘kidneys of the landscape’ in the way they filter out pollutants and improve water quality. Agricultural constructed wetlands utilise these characteristics as a form of nature based solution (NBS) to tackle diffuse pollution and disconnect pollutant pathways. However, due to nutrient cycling, this management of one pollutant can inadvertently lead to the increase of another. This pollutant swapping process may increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our attempts to improve habitat and water quality. Therefore, we need to improve the evidence base for different land management options to ensure potential trade-offs are accounted for and prevent the loss of faith within the valuable farming community.
Aim and Objectives
This project intends to quantify the impacts of agricultural constructed wetlands, used as NBS for diffuse pollution, on agricultural GHG emissions and carbon sequestration potential. This will be achieved through a series of objectives:
1. Develop a conceptual framework and typology of agricultural field wetlands for Scotland. This will guide the collection of data across typologies in order to help deliver multiple benefits whilst minimising pollution swapping through improved management.
2. Investigate the hydrological, water quality and GHG emission regimes of the different wetland typologies. This will help to determine removal efficiency and emission rates.
3. Evaluate the impact of GHG fluxes from wetlands in relation to efficiency of water pollution retention and catchment area.
4. Utilise scenario modelling to assess the impact of landscape level wetland implementation and help to guide decision making and policy design.
More about me
I graduated from Lancaster University in 2019 with a BSc in Physical geography and an MSc in Sustainable Water Management. I then spent two years working as an environmental consultant in soil and water contamination. In 2021 the opportunity to combine this experience in applied environmental services with my academic interests in hydrology and water quality led to the undertaking of a PhD project in wetland ecosystem services and pollution swapping.