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Aquaread Support Research in the Arctic

By : Chris Peacock |March 08, 2013 |Blog |0 Comment

Aquaread is supporting a research trip to the Arctic! Researchers from the University of Brighton will be travelling to Finland and Iceland to conduct water quality monitoring in the pristine rivers of the Arctic to seek to understand the contrasting water quality requirements of different freshwater ecosystems.

Aquaread is supporting a research trip to the Arctic!  Researchers from the University of Brighton will be travelling to Finland and Iceland to conduct water quality monitoring in the pristine rivers of the Arctic to seek to understand the contrasting water quality requirements of different freshwater ecosystems.  

This EU-funded project, which is part of the INTERACT funding scheme for trans-national access, will be led by the University of Brighton’s Dr Gary Bilotta and the research will help to improve water quality guidelines.  Freshwater ecosystems are extremely valuable yet they are threatened by water pollution.  There are water quality guidelines currently in place to attempt to protect these ecosystems but generally these are blanket guidelines with a bit of a one-size-fits-none approach.

This research will aid the development of improved guidelines that will take into consideration the natural variation in water quality that can be expected in varying natural environments and what is required by different freshwater organisms to survive.
The project will be supported by Aquaread’s water quality monitoring equipment.  We have a close working relationship with the University of Brighton, they have been using our multiparameter water quality testing equipment for the past two years to monitor water quality across numerous reference condition sites across the UK.

The pristine rivers in the Arctic will be used as models of the water quality that is needed to support different freshwater ecosystems in catchments with contrasting environmental characteristics, such as climate and geology.  The term “pristine river” actually refers to a river that has not been disturbed by anthropogenic (human) factors.  This term shouldn’t really be used to describe reference condition sites because, in the UK particularly, it’s unlikely that a river will have not been affected by human activity but the rivers that will be used as reference sites all have a high ecological status and are as close to “pristine” as possible.  This project will include a range of reference condition rivers from the temperate maritime climate of the UK to the Arctic climate of Finland and Iceland in order to devise a model that is capable of predicting environment-specific water quality guidelines for the protection of various freshwater ecosystems across a wide range of environments.

The project team will be using our AP-2000 multiparameter water quality testing probe, which will be installed in-situ within the water column of each river.  The Aquaprobe will be recording turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, total dissolved solids and temperature on a 15 minute resolution.  The data will be logged with our Aqualogger that will be installed streamside with thermal insulation and waterproof casing to protect the electronic device from the extreme climate and any curious wildlife.

Each reference site will be monitored continuously for at least a year to capture temporal variations in water quality.  The Aquaprobe and Aqualogger will connected by cables that will be fixed in place and protected from wildlife such as bears and reindeer.  Dr Bilotta was asked how Aquaread’s water testing equipment was best suited for the research project: “Aquaread’s equipment has proven to be rugged and reliable in the range of environments that we have used them within for our previous research and teaching.  The design of the Aqualoggers and Aquaprobes also allow us to be flexible in terms of our installation for in-situ monitoring, which is really important given the contrasting nature of our rivers.”

This project is vitally important for the ongoing health of our rivers and freshwater ecosystems.  We are very happy to be part of the research and proud to support the University of Brighton.

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