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Trinity College Dublin

Providing clean water

Jeremy Piggott & Ian Donohue

Freshwaters provide essential services to humans (e.g. drinking water, sanitation, irrigation for agriculture) but are one of the World’s most degraded and threatened ecosystems. Effective freshwater policy requires managing for multiple human stressors and an ever-growing list of substances of emerging concern.
By understanding how freshwater ecosystems respond to the individual and interactive effect of stressors, we can protect, conserve or even restore freshwaters in a rapidly changing world.

“Multiple stressors affect the ability of freshwater ecosystems to deliver clean water”

For example, we are studying how multiple stressors interact to aff ect the stability and resilience of freshwater ecosystems and how biodiversity can help to enhance the services provided by freshwater ecosystems to humanity.

Key discoveries to date:

  • The effects of the nitrification inhibitor DiCyanDiamide (DCD) on aquatic environments
  • Agriculturally derived fine sediment is a master stressor in streams and rivers
  • Development of next-generation freshwater biological monitoring tools
  • Advancing stability-resilience and multiple-stressor theory
  • International network of experimental stream mesocosm facilities for multiple-stressor research