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Dr. Carlos Rocha
Associate Prof Environmental Change, School Office - Natural Sciences
Associate Prof Environmental Change, Geography


Carlos Rocha is an Associate Professor in Environmental Change at the School of Natural Sciences, TCD. After graduating in Technological Chemistry with honours in 1991, he went on to obtain a PhD in Marine Chemistry "suma cum laude" at the University of Lisbon in 1997. His contribution to the field was recognized at an early stage by two national science awards (1999 & 2000) and a prestigious nomination for the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Lindemann Award in 2001. Before joining Trinity College, he was a lecturer in Biogeochemistry and the deputy director of the Centre for Marine and Environmental research at the University of Algarve, Portugal. Currently, Carlos teaches various aspects of Earth System Science at both under- and postgraduate level and leads the Biogeochemistry Research Group at Trinity College. Our research focuses on 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 ultimate 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 marine systems to environmental change.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Rocha, Carlos, Henry Bokuniewicz, Clare E. Robinson, Isaac R. Santos, and Hannelore Waska, To Study the Invisible: Hydraulics, Biogeochemistry, and Life in Subterranean Estuaries [Editorial: Subterranean Estuaries], Frontiers in Environmental Science, 10, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 URL

O'Connell D.W., Rocha C., Daly E., Carrey Labarta R., Marchesi R., Ansems N., Wilson J., Hickey C., Gill L.W. , Characterization of seasonal groundwater origin and evolution processes in a geologically heterogeneous catchment using geophysical, isotopic and hydro-chemical techniques (Lough Gur, Ireland), Hydrological Processes , 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Calvo-Martin, Elisa, Eva Teira, Xosé Antón Álvarez-Salgado, Carlos Rocha, Shan Jiang, Maider Justel-Díez, and Juan Severino Pino Ibánhez. , On the Hidden Diversity and Niche Specialization of the Microbial Realm of Subterranean Estuaries, Environmental Microbiology, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI URL

Rocha, Carlos, Shan Jiang, J. S. P. Ibánhez, Qiang Yang, Katerina Mazi, and Antonis D. Koussis, The Effects of Subterranean Estuary Dynamics on Nutrient Resource Ratio Availability to Microphytobenthos in a Coastal Lagoon, Science of the Total Environment , 851, 2022, p157522 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Jiang, S., Jin, J., Wu, Y., Zhang, Y., Wei, Y., Rocha, C., Ibánhez, J.S.P., Zhang, J., Response of Nitrate Processing to Bio-labile Dissolved Organic Matter Supply Under Variable Oxygen Conditions in a Sandy Beach Seepage Face, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 2021, p642143- Journal Article, 2021 URL

Calvo-Martin E, XA Álvarez-Salgado, C Rocha, JSP Ibánhez, Reactive solute transport through two contrasting subterranean exit sites in the Ria de Vigo (NW Iberian Peninsula), Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 2021, p626813- Journal Article, 2021 URL

Savatier, M., Rocha, C., Rethinking tracer-based (Ra, Rn, salinity) approaches to estimate point-source submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into coastal systems, Journal of Hydrology, 598, 2021, p126247- Journal Article, 2021 URL

Rocha C, CE Robinson, IR Santos, H Waska, HA Michael, HJ Bokuniewicz, A place for subterranean estuaries in the coastal zone., Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 250, 2021, p107167- Journal Article, 2021 URL

Jiang, S., Kavanagh, M., Ibánhez, J.S.P., Rocha, C., Denitrification-nitrification process in permeable coastal sediments: An investigation on the effect of salinity and nitrate availability using flow-through reactors., Acta Oceanol. Sin, 40, 2021, p1 - 12 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Aghdam M.M., Crowley Q., Rocha C., Dentoni V., Pelo S.D., Long S., Savatier M., A study of natural radioactivity levels and radon/thoron release potential of bedrock and soil in southeastern ireland, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, (5), 2021, p1 - 18, p1-18 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Ibánhez, J.S.P., Álvarez-Salgado, X.A., Rocha, C., , Does Nitrate Enrichment Accelerate Organic Matter Turnover in Subterranean Estuaries?, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 2021, p661201- Journal Article, 2021 URL

Ibánhez, J.S.P., Álvarez‐Salgado, X.A., Nieto‐Cid, M., Rocha, C., Fresh and saline submarine groundwater discharge in a large coastal inlet affected by seasonal upwelling, Limnology & Oceanography , 66, 2021, p2141 - 2158 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Savatier M, MT Guerra, JE Murphy, C Rocha, Radium isotopes as tools to characterise nutrient dynamics in a variably stratified temperate fjord, Marine Chemistry, 231, 2021, p103934- Journal Article, 2021 URL

Jiang S, Y Zhang, J Jin, Y Wu, Y Wei, X Wang, C Rocha, JSP Ibánhez, J Zhang , Organic carbon at the seepage face of a subterranean estuary: Turnover and microbial interrelations, Science of the Total Environment, 725, 2020, p138220- Journal Article, 2020 URL

Ibánhez JSP, E Arevalo, T Kelly, S Papaspyrou, C Rocha, A Nicolaidou, Unravelling the dispersion and environmental impact of anthropogenic discharges in transitional water ecosystems, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 216, 2019, p204 - 217 Journal Article, 2019 URL

Petermann E., K Knoller, C Rocha, J Scholten, R Stollberg, H Weiss and M Schubert, Coupling End-Member Mixing Analysis and Isotope Mass Balancing (222-Rn) for Differentiation of Fresh and Recirculated Submarine Groundwater Discharge Into Knysna Estuary, South Africa., Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123, 2018, p952-970 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Jiang S, JSP Ibánhez and C Rocha , Influence of labile dissolved organic matter on nitrate reduction in a seepage face., Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25, 2018, p10654 - 10667 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Jiang, S. and Kavanagh, M. and Rocha, C., Evaluation of the suitability of vacutainers for storage of nutrient and dissolved organic carbon analytes in water samples, Biology and Environment, 117B, (1), 2017, p33-46 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Lefevre, N.; Montes, M.F.; Gaspar, F.L.; Rocha, C.; Jiang, S.; De Araujo, M.C.; Ibanhez, J.S.P., Net heterotrophy in the Amazon continental shelf changes rapidly to a sink of CO2in the outer Amazon plume, Frontiers in Marine Science, 4, (SEP), 2017 Journal Article, 2017 TARA - Full Text DOI

Lefevre, N.; da Silva Dias, F.J.; de Torres, A.R.; Noriega, C.; Araujo, M.; de Castro, A.C.L.; Rocha, C.; Jiang, S. and Ibanhez, J.S.P., A source of CO2to the atmosphere throughout the year in the Maranhense continental shelf (2°30'S, Brazil), Continental Shelf Research, 141, 2017, p38-50 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

JSP Ibanhez and C Rocha, Kinetics of inorganic nitrogen turnover in a sandy seepage face on a subterranean estuary., Applied Geochemistry, 87, 2017, p108 - 121 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Oppelt, A.; Lopez Correa, M. and Rocha, C., Biogeochemical analysis of the calcification patterns of cold-water corals Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa along contact surfaces with calcified tubes of the symbiotic polychaete Eunice norvegica: Evaluation of a mucus calcification hypothesis, Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 127, 2017, p90-104 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Green, D.S. and Boots, B. and Sigwart, J. and Jiang, S. and Rocha, C., Effects of conventional and biodegradable microplastics on a marine ecosystem engineer (Arenicola marina) and sediment nutrient cycling, Environmental Pollution, 208, 2016, p426-434 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Wilson, J., Rocha, C. & Coxon, C., Combining earth observation and geochemical tracing techniques for groundwater detection and evaluation in Ireland, EPA Research Report, 172, Wexford, Environmental Protection Agency, 2016, 56 pp. Report, 2016 URL

Ibanhez, J.S.P. and Rocha, C., Oxygen transport and reactivity within a sandy seepage face in a mesotidal lagoon (Ria Formosa, Southwestern Iberia), Limnology and Oceanography, 61, (1), 2016, p61-77 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Wilson, J., Coxon, C. & Rocha, C., A GIS and remote sensing based screening tool for assessing the potential for groundwater discharge to lakes in Ireland, Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 116B, (3), 2016, p265 - 277 Journal Article, 2016 DOI URL

Rocha, C. and Veiga-Pires, C. and Scholten, J. and Knoeller, K. and Gröcke, D.R. and Carvalho, L. and Anibal, J. and Wilson, J., Assessing land-ocean connectivity via submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) in the Ria Formosa Lagoon (Portugal): Combining radon measurements and stable isotope hydrology, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20, (8), 2016, p3077-3098 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Al-Ali, A.M. and Del Campo, A.G. and Rocha, C., Environmental assessment of mangrove communities in Tarut bay, eastern Arabian peninsula, based on multidisciplinary approach, 40, (7W3), 2015, pp269-276 Conference Paper, 2015 DOI

Rocha, C. and Wilson, J. and Scholten, J. and Schubert, M., Retention and fate of groundwater-borne nitrogen in a coastal bay (Kinvara Bay, Western Ireland) during summer, Biogeochemistry, 125, (2), 2015, p275-299 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Green, D.S. and Boots, B. and Blockley, D.J. and Rocha, C. and Thompson, R., Impacts of discarded plastic bags on marine assemblages and ecosystem functioning, Environmental Science and Technology, 49, (9), 2015, p5380-5389 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Rocha, C. and Wilson, J. and Scholten, J. and Schubert, M., Erratum to: Retention and fate of groundwater-borne nitrogen in a coastal bay (Kinvara Bay, Western Ireland) during summer [Biogeochemistry, DOI 10.1007/s10533-015-0116-1], Biogeochemistry, 125, (2), 2015, p301 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Wilson, J. and Rocha, C., A remote sensing and geochemical tracing approach for localising groundwater discharge to lakes, 9239, (92391A), 2014 Conference Paper, 2014 DOI

Ibánhez J. Severino P., Rocha Carlos, Effects of recirculation of seawater enriched in inorganic nitrogen on dissolved organic carbon processing in sandy seepage face sediments , Marine Chemistry , 166 , ( ), 2014, p48 - 58 Journal Article, 2014 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Ibánhez, J.S.P. and Rocha, C., Porewater Sampling for NH4+ with Rhizon Soil Moisture Samplers (SMS): Potential Artifacts induced by NH4+ Sorption, Freshwater Science, 33, (4), 2014, p1195-1203 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Stevenson, A. & C. Rocha, Evidence for the bioerosion of deep-water corals by echinoids in the Northeast Atlantic. , Deep-Sea Research, Part I, 71, 2013, p73 - 78 Journal Article, 2013

Carvalho, LF, C Rocha, A Fleming, C Veiga-Pires, J Anibal, Interception of nutrient rich submarine groundwater discharge seepage on European temperate beaches by the Acoel flatworm, Symsagittifera roscoffensis., Marine Pollution Bulletin, 75, 2013, p150 - 156 Journal Article, 2013 URL

Green, D.S., C. Rocha & T. Crowe, Effects of Non-indigenous Oysters on Ecosystem Processes Vary with Abundance and Context. , Ecosystems, 16, 2013, p881 - 893 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Ibanhez, J., Leote, C. & C Rocha, Seasonal enhancement of Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD)-derived nitrate loading into the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon assessed by 1-D modelling of benthic NO3- profiles, Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science, 132, 2013, p56 - 64 Journal Article, 2013

Anibal, J, H Madeira, LF Carvalho, E Esteves, C Veiga-Pires, C Rocha, Macroalgae mitigation potential for fish aquaculture effluents: an approach coupling nitrogen uptake and metabolic pathways using Ulva rigida and Enteromorpha clathrata., Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2013 Journal Article, 2013 URL DOI

Craven, K., Edwards, R.J., Goodue, R., Rocha, C., Evaluating the influence of selected acid-pretreatment methods on the environmental interpretation of C/N and δ13C of temperate inter-tidal sediments for relative sea-level reconstruction, Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, 31, 2013, p25 - 42 Journal Article, 2013 TARA - Full Text DOI

Rocha, C. and Woodward, M., Nutrients, 2012, 197-221pp Book, 2012 DOI

Remote Sensing of Environment, 119, (2012), 21 - 34p, Elsevier, [eds.] Journal, 2012 DOI

Wilson J & C Rocha , Regional scale assessment of Submarine Groundwater Discharge in Ireland combining medium resolution satellite imagery and geochemical tracing techniques, Remote Sensing of Environment, 119, 2012, p21 - 34 Journal Article, 2012

Anibal J, E Esteves and C Rocha, Seasonal variations in gross biochemical composition, percent edibility, and condition index of the clam Ruditapes decussatus cultivated in the Ria Formosa (south Portugal), Journal of Shellfish Research, 30, 2011, p17 - 23 Journal Article, 2011

J Ibanhez, Leote C and C Rocha, Porewater nitrate profiles in sandy sediments hosting submarine groundwater discharge described by an Advection-Dispersion-Reaction (ADR) model, Biogeochemistry, 103, 2011, p159 - 180 Journal Article, 2011

Marine monitored parameters, matrices and related techniques - Nutrients. in, editor(s)Quevauvilliler, P., Roose, P & Verreet, G. , Chemical Marine Monitoring - Policy Framework and Analytical Trends, Chichester, UK, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, pp195 - 221, [Rocha C and EMS Woodward] Book Chapter, 2011

Simao MF, RB Leite, C Rocha and ML Cancela, Changes in Bioturbation of Iron Biogeochemistry and in Molecular Response of the Clam Ruditapes decussates upon Perkinsus olseni Infection. , Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2010 Journal Article, 2010 URL

Wilson J & C Rocha , Regional Scale Assessment of SGD (Submarine Groundwater Discharge) in Ireland. , Proceedings of RSPSoc2010 Annual Conference, RSPSoc 2010 Annual Conference, Cork, Ireland, 1st-3rd September 20, 2010, pp123 - 130 Conference Paper, 2010

Rocha C, Biogeochemistry of nitrogen in intertidal sediments supporting Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD), RSC Invited Talk, University of Plymouth, UK, 4th February, 2009, Royal Society of Chemistry Invited Talk, 2009

Rocha, C.; J. Ibanhez & C. Leote, Benthic nitrate biogeochemistry affected by tidal modulation of Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) through a sandy beach face, Ria Formosa, Southwestern Iberia, Marine Chemistry, 115, (1-2), 2009, p43 - 58 Journal Article, 2009 URL

Leote C, J Ibanhez and C Rocha, Submarine Groundwater Discharge as a nitrogen source to the Ria Formosa studied with seepage meters, Biogeochemistry, 88, 2008, p185 - 194 Journal Article, 2008

Rocha C, Sandy sediments as active bigeochemical reactors: compound cycling on the fast lane, Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 53(1), 2008, p119 - 127 Journal Article, 2008

Aníbal J, C. Rocha & M. Sprung, Mudflat surface morphology as a structuring agent of algae and associated macroepifauna communities: A case study in the Ria Formosa , Journal of Sea Research, 57, 2007, p36 - 46 Journal Article, 2007

Rocha C, Sandy sediments as active bigeochemical reactors: compound cycling on the fast lane?, 10th Symposium on Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Faro, Portugal, 2-7 September, 2007, ISME-International Society for Microbial Ecology Invited Talk, 2007

Leote C, J Ibanhez and C Rocha, Coastal Groundwater Discharge in the Ria Formosa identified as a major source of Nitrogen to the lagoon's internal nutrient mass balance, published in CD-ROM, XXXV IAH (International Association of Hydrogeologists) Congress - Groundwater and Ecosystems, Lisbon, 17-21 September, 2007, pp9pp Conference Paper, 2007

Ibanhez SP, C Leote and C Rocha, Biogeochemical mediation of groundwater-borne nitrate seepage into the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon by beach face sandy sediments, published in CD-ROM, XXXV IAH (International Association of Hydrogeologists) Congress - Groundwater and Ecosystems, Lisbon, 17-21 September, 2007, pp10 Conference Paper, 2007

Fitzsimons, M.F. and Dawit, M. and Revitt, D.M. and Rocha, C., Effects of early tidal inundation on the cycling of methylamines in inter-tidal sediments, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 294, 2005, p51-61 Journal Article, 2005

Rocha C, S Forster, E Koning and E Epping, High-resolution permeability determination and two-dimensional pore water flow in sandy sediment, Limnology & Oceanography: Methods, 3, 2005, p10 - 23 Journal Article, 2005

Fitzsimmons MF, M Dawit, DM Revitt and C Rocha, A study of the effects of early tidal inundation on the cycling of methylamines in inter-tidal sediments, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 294, 2005, p51 - 61 Journal Article, 2005

Rocha C, H Galvão and A Barbosa, Role of transient silicon limitation in the development of cyanobacteria blooms in the Guadiana estuary, South-western Iberia, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 228, 2002, p35 - 45 Journal Article, 2002

Vidal S, C Rocha, and H Galvão, A comparison of organic and inorganic carbon controls over biological denitrification in aquaria, Chemosphere, 48, 2002, p445 - 451 Journal Article, 2002

Rocha C, S Mesquita, S Vidal and H Galvão, Impact of clam harvesting on benthic nitrifiers in sandy intertidal sediments of the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, Portugal, Journal of Coastal Research, 34 , (SI), 2001, p623 - 632 Journal Article, 2001

Rocha, C, Convective turnover on flooding of warm, permeable, intertidal sediments: The ecological importance of the convective turnover pump, Journal of Sea Research, 43, 2000, p1 - 14 Journal Article, 2000

Rocha, C., Density-driven convection during flooding of warm, permeable intertidal sediments: The ecological importance of the convective turnover pump, Journal of Sea Research, 43, (1), 2000, p1-14 Journal Article, 2000 DOI

Rocha C and AP Cabral, The influence of tidal action on pore water nitrate in intertidal sediments of the Sado estuary, Estuaries, 21, (4A), 1998, p635 - 645 Journal Article, 1998

Rocha, C, Rhythmic ammonium regeneration and flushing in intertidal sediments of the Sado estuary, Limnology and Oceanography, 43, (5), 1998, p823 - 831 Journal Article, 1998

Rocha, C. and Cabeçadas, G. and Brogueira, M.J., On the importance of sediment-water exchange processes of ammonia to primary production in shallow areas of the Sado estuary (Portugal), Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology, 29, (3-4), 1995, p265-273 Journal Article, 1995 DOI

Rocha C, J Madureira and M Caetano, Role of microorganisms in the mineralization processes of intertidal surface sediments subject to high temperatures: an incubation experiment, Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology, 29, (3-4), 1995, p257 - 263 Journal Article, 1995

Biogeochemical Fluxes in intertidal zones: examples from Portuguese ecosystems in, editor(s)R. Prego & J. M. Fernandez , Biogeochemical processes in Luso-Spanish coastal systems, Pontevedra, Spain, 1995, pp15 - 19, [Vale C, I Caçador, MJ Madureira, M Falcão, M Caetano, T Cabrita and C Rocha] Book Chapter, 1995

Rocha C, G Cabeçadas and MJ Brogueira, Indications of the importance of sediment water exchange processes of ammonia in low depth areas to primary production in the Sado estuary, Netherlands Journal of Aquatic Ecology, 29, (3-4), 1995, p265 - 273 Journal Article, 1995

Brogueira MJ, G Cabeçadas and C Rocha, Sado estuary coastal waters: thermohaline properties and chemical composition, GAIA, 8, 1994, p23 - 25 Journal Article, 1994

Iley J, Norberto F, E Rosa, V Cardoso and C Rocha, N-nitrosocompounds Part 2. The Synthesis of N-nitrosoclonidine and its decomposition in aqueous acidic media, Journal of the Chemical Society - Perkin Transactions II, 1993, p591- Journal Article, 1993

Research Expertise


Anthropogenic Impact on ecosystems; Biogeochemistry; Climate Change; Coastal Environmental Change; Coastal management and conservation; Coastal Processes; Earth Sciences for Climate Research; Earth Sciences Instrumentation; Environmental and analytical chemistry; Environmental Impacts, Interactions; Environmental Restoration/Remediation; Estuarine Sciences; Eutrophication; Fluid dynamics; Global Change; Ground, surface water hydrology; Isotope Geochemistry; Marine Biogeochemistry; Marine pollution; Marine Processes/ Chemistry; Ocean Chemistry; Oceanography; Sediment; Sedimentary Geochemistry; Shallow Water Bottom Interaction; Water Pollution; Wetland Ecosystems; Wetlands



Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Sea Research (ISSN-1385-1101) since 2004

Awards and Honours

Nominated by students to Provost Teaching Award 2018

Nominated by students for Provost Teaching Award 2012

Lindemann award nominee, ASLO-American Society for Limnology and Oceanography 2001

IMAR/Luiz Saldanha Young Researcher Award in Marine Science and Technology 2000

Calouste Gulbenkian Young Researcher Award in Environmental Chemistry 1999


European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) 2012 – present

American Society for Limnology and Oceanography present – 1998