Catchment biogeochemistry

Our research focuses on understanding the fate, dispersal and impacts of air-borne pollutants and agricultural runoff on freshwater quality. A profound understanding of linkages between elemental cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus from atmosphere, soils, freshwaters to marine waters is the backbone in our projects. Our studies support policy-based management and remediation to abate unwanted environmental impacts.

Themes that we work on include mercury in freshwaters and fish, acidification and liming, forestry impacts on water quality, eutrophication and drinking water quality. Often, we investigate combined impacts of climate change and pollution on ecosystem function.

Our field of expertise includes:

  • Biogeochemical processes; cycling and export of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus – land to water
  • Modelling of physical, chemical and biological conditions in rivers and lakes – present and future
  • Water quality monitoring, incl. sensor technology
  • Biological monitoring and assessment
  • Impact assessments: Acidification, eutrophication, climate change, hydropower, land-use change
  • Abatement measures: Liming, restoration of migration routes and habitat for fish

Syrtveitfossane (7)

The Otra River at Syrveitfossane (Photo: Raoul-Marie Couture, NIVA).

We work in temperate, boreal, subarctic and arctic ecosystems at northern latitudes, and in China and Myanmar. Most of our funding comes from national and international research projects as FAIRWAY and WATExR, national and international monitoring programs, and national and regional projects in cooperation with policy and industrial actors. We have a leading role in the International Cooperative Programme for assessment and monitoring of the effects of air pollution on rivers and lakes (ICP Waters) and are involved in the Nordic Centre of Excellence Biowater.

Tools that we use in our research are monitoring data (long-term and spatially extensive), process-based and statistical models, highly-instrumented field stations in inland waters and transitions of river to coast, and field experiments.

The section is stationed in Oslo, Grimstad and Tromsø.

Last updated 13.10.2022