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Three projects focussing on clean water

What impact does the discharge of nutrients have on the pH balance in the sea and on eutrophication? Can more aquatic plants reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in watercourses and provide better water quality? These are just two of the questions Aarhus University will now help to answer with grants from the Velux Foundation totalling DKK 3.9 million.

2018.08.28 | Rasmus Rørbæk

Photo: Colourbox

Photo: Colourbox

The VELUX FOUNDATION supports specific analyses that contribute to a fuller knowledge base for management of the marine environment in Denmark. This spring, researchers, consultants and analysts were invited to submit applications for specific analyses of important factors to consider when making decisions about managing Danish waters.

Six analysis projects have now received funding totalling DKK 7.7 mill. Aarhus University accounts for three projects with grants of DKK 3.9 mill. The other three projects are at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Aalborg University and at DHI Gras (an independent company owned by DHI).

The analyses will each contribute in different ways with new knowledge about how pressure factors such as nutrients, climate change, invasive species and xenobiotic substances affect Danish waters. Aarhus University projects are about:

PH balance in water: Impact of climate and nutrients
A large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed by the sea, which leads to acidification of the ocean and low pH levels. The degree of acidification, however, varies considerably between coastal areas and the open ocean, primarily because of discharges and run-off of nutrients from the land. This project will examine the combined effect of high levels of nutrients and increasing acidification in the Danish marine environment, so that future management can include this effect The project is being headed by Jacob Carstensen at the Department of Bioscience, and it has received DKK 1 mill.

Eutrophication: A joker in management of the Danish marine environment
This project will optimise understanding and thus modelling and mapping of eutrophication in time and space, among other things by generating new knowledge about the dynamics of eutrophication, including the significance of the seabed. Previous national mapping of the spread of eutrophication has not included information on the certainty of the modelled calculation basis. This will be examined in this project. Findings from the project will be included in the upcoming national NOVANA reports and contribute to management of the Danish marine environment. The project is being headed by Jens Würgler Hansen at the Department of Bioscience, and it has received DKK 1.5 mill.

Cleaner water from watercourses to the sea
The project will build new knowledge about whether, and to what extent, watercourse management can lead to cleaner discharges into coastal waters. Watercourses and streams have innate functions that could reduce nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the water, and these functions could be improved by aquatic plants. Current management practices impede this possibility by removing vegetation from streams. There is a lack of knowledge about the management practices that could best support the nutrient-reducing functions of watercourses and plants, and thus optimise the quality of the water flowing into the sea. The project is being headed by Tenna Riis at the Department of Bioscience, and it has received DKK 1.4 mill.

Read more about the grants on the VELUX FOUNDATION website.

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