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The Centre for Aquatic and Terrestrial Environment

The Centre for Aquatic and Terrestrial Environment (CATE) is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the School of Biological & Chemical Sciences and the Department of Geography. CATE builds on complementary strengths in aquatic and terrestrial ecology and biogeochemistry in SBCS, and in the physical and chemical environmental sciences and wetlands in Geography. Collaborative research so far has centred on lowland, groundwater-fed rivers under NERC’s LOCAR thematic programme and focused on aquatic plants, erosion of sediment from agricultural land, biogeochemical processes in the river sediment and the ecology of interstitial organisms. 

Investment of over £1.5 million of SRIF funding in analytical equipment and specialist laboratory facilities in SBCS, and more in Geography, has enabled us to enhance our capabilities to carry out a very wide range of environmental analyses. The new suite of equipment allows us to quantify and map processes within the carbon, nitrogen and sulphur cycles in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Applications range from: a) simple wet chemistry for the determination of inorganic and total nitrogen, b) measuring the flux of important trace gases such as CH4 and N2O via GC/FID/ECD, to c) more complex GC/CF IRMS determination of the isotopic composition of greenhouse gases and the flux of 15N, and d) the degradation of pesticides and herbicides (via LC mass spectrometry) and volatile organics (with GC/MS). SRIF investment also enabled extensive refurbishment of laboratories, environmental room and aquaria, provided vehicles for field work and an extensive range of new field equipment, including electro-fishing gear, nets and other samplers, oxygen probes and electromagnetic and conventional flow meters.

See further details of CATE facilities and equipment in the Geography Department.

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