Aquatic Ecosystems

The vision of the Aquatic Ecosystems Chair Group is to better understand the relationship between the ecological structure, function and integrity of wetlands in the support of livelihoods. Embedded within this concept is the need to quantify ecological processes for their support of wetland goods and services.

This relates inherently to transport of materials, and how disturbance to ecosystems affects their physical structure, nutrient and pollutant retention and release, and ecological interactions. Human activities over the last century have led to severe degradation of many wetlands.

Drainage, alterations of flow regimes, impact from pollutants and invasive alien species all have the potential to impact wetlands with negative consequences on human welfare and biodiversity.


The Chair Group links education, capacity building, and research. Each component informs another. This leads to an overall coherency with a strategy linking teaching, MSc and PhD projects.

Current research focuses on four themes: nutrient and pollutant cycling; the efficiency and application of constructed wetlands for mitigating nutrient and sediment pollution, within Integrated River Basin Management; linking ecological processes with sustainable wetland use and livelihoods; and the effects of flow and flood regimes on ecology and floodplain integrity.

Understanding transport and ecological processes supports management and policy decisions, and connects the Aquatic Ecosystems Chair Group with other key research groupings across the three Departments of UNESCO-IHE.


Staff members

PhD fellows