Helen Jarvie examines biogeochemical and climate drivers of wetland phosphorus and nitrogen release

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

scientists doing work near a pond
Wetlands provide valuable ecosystem services, such as reducing flood peaks during wet periods, augmenting baseflows during dry periods and water purification, and they enhance biodiversity. There is increasing interest in using wetlands as ‘nature‐based solutions’ for flood mitigation and soil and water conservation. However, over time, there can be water-quality tradeoffs and wetlands can become sources of nutrients to downstream water bodies.

A group of researchers, led by Water Institute member and professor in Waterloo’s Department of Geography and Environmental Management Helen Jarvie, examined nutrient cycling in a lowland wetland‐pond system in southern England over a 20‐year period. The team discovered that even a relatively pristine wetland can become a source of highly bioavailable phosphorus, nitrogen, and silicon during low‐flow periods of high ecological sensitivity.

Read the full story from the Water Institute.