Ecohydrology and water quality

My research spans two linked yet distinct areas of hydrology: 1) Hydrological connectivity and ecohydrological processes, and 2) Sources and pathways of pollutants to receiving waters.

Central to my work is the fusion of models with complimentary data streams (e.g., water quality parameters, stable water isotopes, ecohydrological monitoring) to improve confidence in model outputs. I am particularly interested in using agent-based approaches to trace the movement of water and pollutants in the landscape, and am the developer of the Model for the Agent-based simulation of Faecal Indicator Organisms (MAFIO).

I am currently advancing an area of research around water pollution (e.g. nutrients, sediment and microbial) within the Lake Victoria Basin, E. Africa, with an initial focus on Kenya. The overarching aim of the research is to develop an evidence base and decision support tool that can help inform the use of nature-based solutions to impaired water quality. This work will be an interdisciplinary collaboration with multiple colleagues and stakeholders, integrating qualitative and quantitative data collection, model development and community engagement.

I am also developing a strand of research that will address questions at the intersection of ecohydrology and biogeochemistry. Central to this work will be the data and insights afforded by the Water Analysis Trailer for Environmental Research (WATER), a mobile, trailer-based, high-temporal-resolution water sampling platform developed at the Chair of Landscape, Water and Biogeochemical Cycles, Justus Liebig University Giessen (Germany).

My PhD on Advancing Models of Microbial Water Quality was awarded by the University of Aberdeen and undertaken in collaboration with the James Hutton Institute (2015-2019). I remained at the University of Aberdeen for my first postdoctoral position until August 2022. From September 2022 to February 2024, I was based within the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Durham University (UK) as a postdoctoral research associate working on hydrological hazards.

In March 2024, I joined the Chair of Landscape, Water and Biogeochemical Cycles at the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany as a postdoctoral researcher.

A commercial tea plantation in Kenya (Photo: A. Neill)