Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Biogeochemistry Research Group


Research carried out by the Biogeochemistry Research Group includes the study of processes affecting the transport, fate and impact of chemical species, including contaminants, in aquatic ecosystems. These studies aim to increase, for example, our understanding of carbon and nutrient transport, bioavailability and reactivity in the aquatic environment.  Our goal is to comprehend ecosystem functional plasticity in response to anthropogenic pressure, climate change and biological activity, leading to increased knowledge on the resilience of coastal systems to environmental change. Lately, our main research effort has focused on submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) as a pollutant transport pathway linking human activities on land to marine ecosystem health.

Back to top


Biogeochemistry, Marine Chemistry, Environmental Change, Coastal Zone Management, Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD), Eutrophication, Sediments, Carbon, Nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorus

Research Interests

Climate change, pollution, and risks

  • Pressures on environment and climate
  • Environment and health

Sustainable management of resources

  • Management of marine environments

Earth observation and assessment tools

  • Earth observation
  • Assessment tools for sustainable development

Horizontal actions

  • Dissemination and horizontal activities

Back to top


For more information please contact Group Leader Dr Carlos Rocha email:

Back to top

Current Support (Grants)

20013-2015 Funding Agency: EPA (STRIVE)
Project Title: COmbiNing earth observatioN and gEochemical traCing Techniques (CONNECT) for groundwater detection and evaluation in Ireland
Reference: 2012-W-MS-13
Funding allocated: €250,000

2009-2012  Funding Agency: United Nations (UN) & International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Project title: Enhancing Regional Capability for the Assessment of Contamination in the Marine Environment
Reference: IAEA Project RAF/7/008
Funding allocated: to be determined

2009-2012  Funding Agency: EU (FP7), COST
Project title: The Ocean Chemistry of bioactive trace elements and paleoclimate proxies. This is linked to the global marine GEOTRACES program.
Reference: COST action ES0801
Funding allocated: variable, but linked to network activities, including ocean-going research cruises by network members

2009-2012 Funding Agency: EPA (STRIVE)
Project title: Development of Remote Sensing as a Tool for Detection, Quantification and Evaluation of Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) to Irish Coastal Waters
Reference: STRIVE 2008-FS-W-4-S5
Funding allocated: €340,000

2009-2012 Funding Agencies: EU (FEDER), National Science & Technology Foundation (FCT), Portuguese Government
Project title: - NITROLINKS - NITROgen loading into the Ria Formosa through Coastal Groundwater Discharge (CGD) - Pathways, turnover and LINKS between land and sea in the Coastal Zone
Reference: [PTDC/MAR/70247/]
Funding allocated: € 191,099

2008-2012 EU (FEDER), National Science & Technology Foundation (FCT), Portuguese Government -
Project title: Nitrogen reduction in marine systems: in-situ study of alternative metabolic pathways linked to Coastal Groundwater Discharge
Reference: SFRH/BD/39170/2007
Funding allocated: € 141,440

2008-2012 Funding Agencies: EU (FEDER), National Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), Portuguese Government
Project title: Controls on sediment P release from temperate intertidal sediments
Reference: SFRH/BD/38856/2007
Funding allocated: € 141,440

2007-2011  Funding Agencies: National Science and Technology Foundation (FCT), EU (FEDER) and Portuguese Government 
Project title: “Mechanisms controlling organic carbon mineralization in intertidal sandy sediments”
Funding allocated:  €63,000

Back to top

Members of the reserach group

Dr. Jaime Anibal

Lecturer in Enzymology, Instituto Superior de Engenharia, University of Algarve

Dr Jaime Anibal, TCD, 17k jpeg

Jaime Aníbal studied Marine Biology and Fisheries (1990-1995) in the University of Algarve (Portugal) and went on to obtain his M.Sc. in Ecology from the University of Coimbra (1999) and Ph.D. in Ecology at University of Algarve (2004). Since 1999, Jaime lectured Biochemistry, Food Chemistry, Enzymology and Seafood Quality in the Food Engineering Course at the Institute of Engineering (University of Algarve).

Back to top

Dr. Jean Wilson (Research Fellow)

  • PhD Remote Sensing and GIS, Trinity College Dublin (2007)
  • Higher Diploma in Applied Remote Sensing and GIS, NUI Maynooth (2001)
  • MA Geographical Analysis, NUI Maynooth (1999)
  • BA Geography & Mathematics, NUI Maynooth (1998)


Dr Jean Wilson, TCD, 37k jpeg

Jean Wilson is a Research Fellow funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the STRIVE Water Research Programme 2012 (2012-W-MS-13). Jean’s research project “CONNECT” (COmbiNed Earth ObservatioN and GEochemiCal Tracing for Groundwater Detection and Evaluation in Ireland) is being undertaken within the Biogeochemistry Research Group headed by Professor Carlos Rocha. Professor Catherine Coxon completes the research team and more details on the CONNECT project are available here. Jean’s research interests lie in environmental applications of remote sensing, GIS and spatial analysis. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin (July 2008) with a PhD in Geography specializing in digital change detection techniques for landscape monitoring in data-poor areas using New Providence Island, The Bahamas as a case-study. Prior to that Jean completed her undergraduate studies in Geography and Mathematics and postgraduate studies in Geographical Analysis (MA in Environmental Resource Management) and Remote Sensing and GIS (Postgraduate Diploma) at NUI Maynooth. More recently, Jean completed an EPA-STRIVE funded Research Fellowship (2009-2012) supervised by Professor Carlos Rocha on developing remote sensing as a tool for detection, quantification and evaluation of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) to Irish coastal waters. Through her research she has gained considerable experience in the use of remote sensing and geochemical tracing techniques for groundwater detection and evaluation both at home and internationally.


Back to top

Ines Alves do Rio (Research Assistant, NITROLINKS)

Oceanography, University of Algarve (2008)

Inges de Rio, TCD 20k jpeg

Both Liliana and Ines are funded by the NITROLINKS project - NITROgen loading into the Ria Formosa through Coastal Groundwater Discharge (CGD) - Pathways, turnover and LINKS between land and sea in the Coastal Zone. The NITROLINKS proposal was drafted with the major scientific goal of determining fluxes and turnover rates of nitrogen in permeable beds at groundwater seepage sites in the Ria Formosa. The working programme is designed to close a significant gap in our understanding of N processing in coastal ecosystems, eventually leading to the implementation of a revised view of ecosystem functioning. It focuses on the least understood of coastal ecotones: coastal sand sediments site of Coastal Groundwater Discharge (CGD). Specifically we seek to answer the questions: (1) How important are sandy permeable sediments located on the borderline between inland groundwater inputs and productive marine ecosystems as sources or sinks of nitrogen? (2) How important is the discharge of groundwater containing NO3- into the Ria Formosa and what are its main forcing agents, and finally, (3) Do coastal managers need to take into account this contrasting interface while implementing water and land-use policies in the littoral zone?

Back to top

Liliana Faia Carvalho (Research Assistant, NITROLINKS)

Liliana Carvalho, TCD. 50k jpeg

MSc Biological Engineering, University of Algarve (2008)

Back to top

Juan Severino Ibanhez (PhD student, TCD)

MSc in Marine and Coastal Studies, University of Algarve (2007) Graduate in Marine Science, University of Vigo

Juan Ibanhez, TCD.65k jpeg

Juan is funded by the EU (FEDER), National Science & Technology Foundation (FCT) and the Portuguese Government. Project - Nitrogen reduction in marine systems: in-situ study of alternative metabolic pathways linked to Coastal Groundwater Discharge. The objectives of this proposal are to identify, quantify and parameterize key biogeochemical processes of Nitrogen inside permeable sediments under laboratory controlled conditions and correlate these processes with in-situ flux measurements in the Ria formosa lagoon, where heavily contaminated groundwater discharges into a productive coastal lagoon, while using selected representative N molecules as proxies.

Back to top

Last updated 24 May 2013 by