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NUTRIENT DYNAMICS AND FUNCTIONAL EVALUATION OF EUROPEAN WETLAND ECOSYSTEMS

Objective

TO IDENTIFY AND TO MEASURE THE NUTRIENT ROUTING THROUGH VARIOUS WETLAND TYPES IN NW- AND S-EUROPE IN RELATION TO THE VARIOUS LAND USES AS SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ADEQUATE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY.

THIS JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT IS INTENDED AS THE PILOT PHASE OF A LARGER PROJECT ON ENDANGERED WETLANDS IN EUROPE. DURING THIS PHASE IT WILL START INVESTIGATIONS ON THE SOURCES, TRANSFORMATION, STORAGE, SINKS AND PATHWAYS OF NUTRIENTS IN WETLANDS ALONG AN ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENTS FROM THE HIGHLY OCEANIC CONDITIONS OF IRELAND THROUGH THE LOWER RAINFALL CATCHMENTS OF SOUTH WEST ENGLAND TO THE HIGHLY SEASONAL WETLAND CONDITIONS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN.

THE FIELD-BASED ANALYSES WILL INCLUDE :
- VARIATIONS IN NUTRIENT LEVELS IN MAJOR ECOSYSTEM PARTITIONS: WATER, SOIL, VEGETATION
- RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS (ESPECIALLY WATER REGIME, REDOX, O2, PH) AND NUTRIENT FLUX.
THE COTTON STRIP TECHNIQUE WILL BE USED AS A BROAD ENVIRONMENTAL INDEX TO COMPARE ORGANIC MATTER DECOMPOSITION RATES IN THE DIFFERENT WETLAND SITES.

LABORATORY-BASED INVESTIGATIONS :
COMPUTER-CONTROLLED LABORATORY SCALE MICROCOSMS WILL BE ESTABLISHED TO MIMIC PARTICULAR COMBINATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES FOR EXPERIMENTAL CHEMICAL TRANSFORMATIONS AND STABILITY CHANGES IN NITROGEN AND PHOSPHORUS. THE LABORATORY WORK WILL ALSO INCLUDE THE DETERMINATION OF NUTRIENT SATURATION AND EQUILIBRIUM LEVELS OF DIFFERENT WETLAND SOIL TYPES AND OF VARIABLE WATER REGIMES, AS WELL AS THE SIMULATION OF CHANGES IN NUTRIENT LOADINGS AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS TO ENABLE FORECASTS OF WETLAND ECOSYSTEM REACTIONS.
THE JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT INVOLVES DIRECT COLLABORATION BETWEEN INSTITUTES IN THREE EC-COUNTRIES : UNIVERSITY OF EXETER, UK, UNIVERSITY OF MADRID, SPAIN, AND THE WILDLIFE SERVICE, IRELAND. ADDITIONAL COOPERATION IS FORESEEN WITH SCIENTISTS FROM THE NATURE CONSERVANCY COUNCIL (UK), TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (IRL), FUNDACION JOSE MARIA BLANC, MADRID (E) AND ASSOCIACION NATURALISTA PARA LA DEFENSA DE CASTILLA, LA MANCHA (E).

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University of Exeter
Address
Northcote House Queen's Drive
EX4 4QJ Exeter
United Kingdom