An introduction to the Centre for Aquatic Environments from the Director, Professor Chris Joyce
A warm welcome to the Centre for Aquatic Environments, the home of water-related research at the University of Brighton.
We are an inter-disciplinary and impact-driven research centre bringing together almost 50 internationally excellent researchers who work to address global challenges for water resources, such as those related to climate change, water scarcity and pollution, biodiversity conservation, flood impacts and management, water sanitation and hygiene, and water governance and sustainability.
Our mission is to provide scientific evidence and people-focused solutions to optimise the responsible management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems. We collaborate with and advise regional, national and international organisations to help protect the freshwater and marine environment and to support the diverse range of social and cultural values and benefits that derive from healthy aquatic ecosystems.
As you can see in more detail in the 'What we do' section, whilst we focus on three main research areas, we also collaborate across these areas:
- Surface and groundwater processes: here our scientists work on groundwater, river, floodplain, wetland, glacial, ocean and coastal environments. Focal areas include plant ecology; fish biology; sediments; geomorphology; nature-based solutions; and fluvial hydraulics.
- Water and wastewater quality and treatment: research here includes the use of technologies to tackle water scarcity; nanotechnology for water quality remediation; microbiology to identify pathogens and pollutants; and environmental monitoring of aquatic contaminants, stressors and emerging pollutants, including microplastics.
- Water resources and people: here our geographers, planners and social scientists study climate histories, change and adaptation; water resources, sustainability and governance; human health and wellbeing; and waterways as heritage spaces.
The centre has state-of-the-art research facilities, including specialist microbial and water quality laboratories, an experimental river basin, cutting edge equipment for water, sediment and geochemical analysis, and microscope suites enabling micro-scale analysis of flora, fauna, rocks, minerals, soils and sediments.
A large array of field equipment facilitates our water, mineral and chemical analyses, ecological sampling, marine surveys, topographic surveying, water quality monitoring, sediment coring and geophysics. Our research is also supported by a suite of drones (or small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) for the capture of multispectral imagery, three-dimensional modelling and video footage, which is enhanced by our expertise in advanced remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The Centre for Aquatic Environment’s members comprise academic staff, post-graduate research students, and technicians, supported by administrators. External stakeholders with an active interest in water research or knowledge exchange can join the centre as associate members. Members engage in a range of activities organised by the centre, including conferences, seminars, workshops and training. Our annual symposium features world-renowned speakers and attracts numerous delegates from the water industry as well as practitioners, consultants and academics. We also host school and university student interns who participate in our research projects, and have an International Visiting Fellowship scheme for eminent scholars. We provide research and networking grants and conduct consultancy, especially related to ecological surveys, water pollution assessments, and work involving drones, remote sensing and GIS.
Read more and contact us about joining us in any of these aspects of our work. We look forward to working with new partners and welcoming experts in the water environment to the Centre for Aquatic Environments as members, or as associates and collaborators.