Groundwater and land resources in Tellus Border coastal zones

Investigator(s): Dr Eve Daly and Yvonne O’Connell, NUI Galway
Funder: EU INTERREG IVA -funded Tellus Border project

Identifying groundwater pathways in the coastal zone is important for the management of fresh water resources in coastal aquifers, and protection against land-based sources of organic and inorganic contaminant plumes which can be transported via preferential groundwater pathways to the sea. This research involved analysis of Tellus and Tellus Border airborne geophysical data (magnetics and electromagnetics) in the coastal zones of Dundalk Bay and Carlingford Lough to detect bedrock geological trends, fracture zones and igneous dykes that have the potential to control groundwater flow pathways.
A terrestrial and marine Electrical Resistivity Tomography field survey was also carried out to validate anomalies observed in the Tellus airborne data, possibly relating to offshore freshwater discharge or inland incursion of seawater to coastal aquifers. Many of the observations made warrant further detailed investigation including examining coastal zones across different superficial and bedrock geology types, structural geology settings and aquifer types; assessing the conductivity signature of bedrock lithologies from the electromagnetic data; and examining saline influence in to groundwater bodies.

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Ecohydrological Characterisation of wetlands in the border region

Investigator(s): Dr Alec Rolston, Dundalk Institute of Technology
Funder: EU INTERREG IVA -funded Tellus Border project

There is a lack of baseline data for the full range of Irish wetlands and there remains limited understanding of how anthropogenic and climactic induced hydrological pressures impact on these local wetland systems. Through desk studies, field investigations and field monitoring, detailed ecohydrological conceptual models were developed for 5 representative border region wetlands sites, including Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTEs) which are currently under particular focus of EU legislation. Tellus and Tellus Border geochemical data was used to examine the occurrence of wetland habitats across a range of geochemical and geological settings to understand where and why different wetland habitats occur within the border counties. This 2-year postdoctoral research informed the assessment of wetland hydrological mechanisms, pressures and ecosystem processes required by the Water Framework and Habitats Directives.

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Geophysical remote sensing of subsurface properties for sustainable agricultural management

Investigator: Dr Eve Daly, NUI Galway
Funder: Geological Survey Ireland Short Call 2017

This proof of concept project will start by integrating airborne and ground geophysics with remote sensing to access surface and subsurface permeability variations over a Teagasc Agricultural Catchment which is covered by existing Tellus data, in the context of agricultural management. The project will explore the best methods to then upscale to Water Framework Directive scale catchments and the tools and international collaborations needed to build a functional land management tool for the sustainable management of agricultural intensification envisioned in Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025.
This multidisciplinary proposal is aligned with three Short Call research themes 1) Geophysics, 2) Groundwater Resources and Protection 3) Quaternary Geology of Ireland. The project will develop a new research programme covering hydrogeophysics, soil science and catchment science building on expertise gained in the 2007 Griffith Geoscience Award to NUIG and develop the recent collaborations between Teagasc (Ireland's Agricultural and food development authority) and NUIG and the Geological Survey of Ireland.

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