BIOWATER is proud to announce that our former PhD student, now post doc, Mette Vodder Carstensen, is one of five talented researchers that received Aarhus University Research Foundation’s PhD Award for 2020. We can only say, well deserved, Mette!

The assessment criteria of the Aarhus University PhD programme include the excellent quality of the thesis and the general efforts of the candidate during the PhD programme. Her research concerned how to use drainage systems as a buffer between fields and streams to avoid nutrients from the fields ending up in downstream water bodies. 

We allow ourselves to add: Her results are read with great interest by both researchers and managers in the Nordic countries, and we are grateful for her contributions to the overall results of BIOWATER.

Nutrient reductions must be considered together with nature and climate

Danish agriculture is undergoing a transition to ensure less leaching of nitrogen and phosphorous from fields into streams. However, it can be difficult to find suitable solutions among the currently available options. In her PhD project, biologist Mette Vodder Christensen has studied how to expand the range of drainage systems and increase their multifunctionality.

“Many of Denmark’s natural wetlands that serve as the kidneys of the landscape have been eliminated. They have a natural ability to remove nutrients. At the same time, around half of Danish agricultural land has subsurface drainage pipes that serve as a motorway for the nutrients into the streams. However, by using drainage systems as ponds, you can replicate the filter function of natural wetlands,” explains Mette Vodder Carstensen.

Mette’s efforts have inspired researchers in other Nordic countries to reconsider the use of measures linked to the network of drained land.

We refer to our previous news item on Mette’s PhD-work, see her thesis and the papers that went into it here; and to the news in the University of Aarhus’ pages here.