Accelerating Nutrient Cycles at the Riparian Land : Water Interface

Lead Research Organisation: The James Hutton Institute
Department Name: Enviromental & Biochemical Sciences


Riparian zones are the dynamic interfaces between terrestrial and aquatic systems, ultimately governing transfers of the macronutrients carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) between the land and the oceans, via rivers. The concern is that with a changing climate, the stability of these systems is shifting, and potentially the nutrient cycling rates are accelerating as a consequence. This proposal focuses on our concept of the dynamic riparian reactive interface (RRI) and how it governs the fate of nutrients down the system from the land to the river, perhaps to the atmosphere, and onward to the oceans. The proposal describes an approach that combines data-rich UK research catchments (Scottish Dee, English Eden) with flagship international catchment platforms (in Sweden and Germany). We propose to conduct new biogeochemical research and new modelling across geo-climatic regions to evaluate riparian functions controlling the potential acceleration in nutrient mass transfers across the land to water interface and how these may scale to globally-significant changes in nutrient cycles as our climate changes.


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