Using the Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan, Trinity College Dublin researchers have studied long term phosphorus storage and release in environmental systems, information which can help guide water quality management.
Phosphorus applied to agricultural crops is stored in various mineral and organic forms. This accumulated phosphorus is termed “legacy phosphorus” and can take decades to eventually mineralize and leach back into aquatic systems in a form living things can use.
“Phosphorus in lake and river systems is being recycled back into the water column degrading water quality through weed and algal growth cycles which can initially be exacerbated if phosphate inputs are stopped or significantly reduced” said Dr. David O’Connell, Assistant Professor of Contaminant Hydrology and Hydrogeology at Trinity College Dublin.
He recently published two papers with international collaborators that explore legacy phosphorus in river and lake systems, elucidating the processes and mechanisms through which phosphorus is stored and released in these systems over the long term.
Read more on the CLS website
Image: Flow measurements at the Bunuoke catchment.
Credit: Dr. David O’Connell