Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Dr. Catherine Coxon - Associate Professor

Catherine Coxon



Tel: + 353 1 8962235

Office: Room 2.09, Centre for the Environment



I carry out research on groundwater quality in rural areas. Much of this work is focused on nitrate loss to groundwater from agricultural land and on synthetic organic contamination of groundwater in rural environments. I also study interactions between groundwater and surface water and wetland ecosystems, particularly nutrient transfers.  I work on phosphorus loss to surface waters by different hydrological pathways, and on groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems.  Much of this research ties in closely with implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in Ireland.  I have a particular interest in karst hydrogeology, including karst water quality and groundwater - surface water interactions in karst regions.  This work includes research on turloughs (karstic temporary lakes) on the western Irish limestone lowlands.


My current research projects include:

  • Emerging organic contaminants arising in rural environments:  investigations in karst and fractured bedrock aquifers (SFI iCRAG studentship / Teagasc Walsh Fellowship) (with Damien Mooney, Ph.D. student, co-supervised by Drs. Martin Danaher, Karl Richards and Per-Erik Mellander, Teagasc, and Prof. Laurence Gill, TCD)
  • Development of an ecohydrology framework for setting environmental flow standards for Irish rivers (EPA STRIVE Programme) (with Dr. Katherine Webster and Katie Tedd, Research Fellows, and Prof. Ian Donohue, PI)
  • Nitrogen attenuation along delivery pathways in agricultural catchments (Teagasc Walsh Fellowship) (with Eoin McAleer, Ph.D. student, co-supervised by Dr. Per-Erik Mellander, Teagasc)
  • The role of humid dune slacks in supporting plant and invertebrate diversity in sand dune ecosystems, and effects of human activities (TCD / National Parks and Wildlife Service / EPA) (with Aoife Delaney, Ph.D. student, supervised by Prof. Jane Stout and myself)
  • Combining earth observation and environmental tracing techniques for groundwater detection and evaluation in Ireland (CONNECT) (EPA STRIVE Programme) (with Dr. Jean Wilson, Research Fellow, and Prof. Carlos Rocha, PI)

Recently completed research projects include:

  • Evaluation and interpretation of groundwater monitoring data and the implications for groundwater in Ireland (EPA STRIVE Programme) (with Katie Tedd, Research Fellow)
  • Assessment of the vulnerability of groundwater to pesticide inputs from Irish agriculture (pesticide mobility case studies) (Dept. Agriculture & Food Research Stimulus Fund Programme / Teagasc) (Ph.D. thesis by Sarah McManus, co-supervised by Dr. Karl Richards, Teagasc)
  • Environmental supporting conditions for groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems (EPA STRIVE Programme) (with Dr. Sarah Kimberley, Research Fellow)
  • Hydrochemistry and algal communities of turloughs (karstic seasonal lakes) (part of interdisciplinary project on assessing the conservation status of turloughs; National Parks & Wildlife Service) (Ph.D thesis by Helder Cunha Pereira, co-supervised by Dr. Norman Allott)
  • Evaluation of measures to reduce nitrate loss to groundwater from tillage land  (Teagasc Walsh Fellowship) (Ph.D. thesis by Alina Premrov, co-supervised by Dr. Karl Richards)

I am interested in supervising research students on topics related to my research interests;  future funded research positions will be advertised on this website.


Junior Sophister
GL3423 Hydrology and Water Quality

M.Sc. Environmental Science
ES7043 Hydrology and Groundwater Quality


Kimberley, S. & Coxon, C. (2015)  Developing status tests for selected Irish groundwater-dependent terrestrial ecosystem (GWDTE) types as part of groundwater body status assessment under the EU Water Framework Directive.  Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 115B(2), 1-14.

Jahangir, M.M.R., Minet, E.P., Johnston, P., Premrov, A., Coxon, C.E., Hackett, R. & Richards, K.G. (2014)  Mustard catch crop enhances denitrification in shallow groundwater beneath a spring barley field.  Chemosphere, 103: 234-239.

McManus, S-L, Moloney, M., Richards, K.G., Coxon, C.E. & Danaher, M. (2014)  Determination and occurrence of phenoxyacetic acid herbicides and their transformation products in groundwater using ultra high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry.  Molecules, 19, 20627-20649.  Doi: 10.3390/molecules191220627.

McManus, S-L., Richards, K.G., Grant, J., Mannix, A. & Coxon, C.E.  (2014)  Pesticide occurrence in groundwater and the physical characteristics in association with these detections in Ireland.  Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 186, 7819-7836.  DOI 10.1007/s10661-014-3970-8

Premrov, A., Coxon, C.E., Hackett, R., Kirwan, L. & Richards, K.G. (2014)  Effects of over-winter green cover on soil solution nitrate concentrations beneath tillage land. Science of the Total Environment, 470-471: 967-974.

Tedd, K.M., Coxon, C.E., Misstear, B.D.R., Daly, D., Craig, M., Mannix, A. & Hunter Williams, N.H.   An integrated pressure and pathway approach to the spatial analysis of groundwater nitrate: a case study from the southeast of Ireland.  Science of the Total Environment, 476-477: 460-476.

Kimberley, S. & Coxon, C. (2013)  Evaluating the influence of groundwater pressures on groundwater-dependent wetlands.  STRIVE Report no.100, Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford, 77pp.

Labite, H., Holden, N.M., Richards, K.G., Kramers, G., Premrov, A., Coxon, C.E. & Cummins, E. (2013)  Comparison of pesticide leaching potential to groundwater under EU FOCUS and site specific conditions.  Science of the Total Environment, 463-464 (2013), 432-441.

McManus, S-L, Coxon, C.E., Richards, K.G. & Danaher, M.  (2013)  Quantitative solid phase microextraction - gas chromatography mass spectrometry analysis of the herbicides lindane, heptachlor and two heptachlor transformation products in groundwater.  Journal of Chromatography A, 1284, 1-7.

Minet, E., Coxon, C.E., Goodhue, R., Richards, K.G., Kalin, R.M. & Meier-Augenstein, W. (2012) Evaluating the utility of 15N and 18O isotope abundance analyses to identify nitrate sources: a soil zone study.   Water Research, 46: 3723-3736.

Premrov, A., Coxon, C.E., Hackett, R., Kirwan, L. & Richards, K.G. (2012)  Effects of over-winter green cover on groundwater nitrate and dissolved organic carbon concentrations beneath tillage land.  Science of the Total Environment, 438: 144-153.

Tedd, K., Misstear, B., Coxon, C., Daly, D. & Hunter Williams, N. (2012)  Hydrogeological insights from groundwater level hydrographs in southeast Ireland.  Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 45: 19-30.

Coxon, C. (2011)  Agriculture and karst.  In van Beynen, P.E. (ed.) Karst Management, Springer, Dordrecht, 103-138.

Cunha Pereira, H., Allott, N., Coxon, C., Naughton, O., Johnston, P. & Gill, L. (2011)  Phytoplankton of turloughs (seasonal karstic Irish lakes).  Journal of Plankton Research, 33(3): 385-403.

Minet, E., Goodhue, R., Coxon, C., Kalin, R. & Meier-Augenstein, W. (2011)  Simplifying and improving the extraction of nitrate from freshwater for stable isotope analyses.  J. Environ. Monit., 13: 2062-2066 (DOI:10.1039/C1EM10289C).

Cunha Pereira, H., Allott, N. & Coxon, C. (2010)  Are seasonal lakes as productive as permanent lakes? A case study from Ireland.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, 67(8): 1291-1302.
Premrov, A., Schulte, R.P.O., Coxon, C.E., Hackett, R. &  Richards, K.G. (2010)  Predicting soil moisture conditions for Irish arable free draining soil.  Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research. 49(2):  99-113.

For full publication list please click here.

Last updated 17 December 2015