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Ella Bijkerk

PhD Researcher
Dept. of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering


Environmental supporting conditions for fens

Keywords: GWDTEs, peatland, alkaline fen, hydrology, hydrochemistry, ecology, nutrients.


Fens are largely groundwater fed wetlands, being located in topographic hollows and fed by springs or seepages of water that has been in contact with mineral ground. Fens’ principal source of nutrients is from surface or groundwater and the substrate is an alkaline to slightly acidic peat soil.

This type of wetland often encompasses a mosaic of different habitats such as open water with reeds beds and sedge vegetation as well as semi-terrestrial birch and alder woodland.

It is acknowledged however that there has been much fewer comprehensive studies on fens compared to the other GWDTEs such as bogs and turloughs from which the environmental supporting conditions can be determined.

Therefore, the aim of the project is to assess environmental supporting conditions for the ecosystems within fens. This is done by screening and instrumenting a range of different fen sites.

Hydrological, water quality and ecological data will be collected and analysed to find appropriate metrics that characterise the environmental support ion conditions in fens as well as variations to these conditions.

The found metrics will provide an answer to the research question: What are the hydrological and hydro chemical controls that support fen indicator species vegetation?


Project Supervisors: Prof. Laurence Gill