Name: Sarah Buckerfield

Project Title: Hydrological and land-use controls on microbial pollution & human health risks in the South West China karst region.

Cohort: 2016/17

Sarah Buckerfield

Institution:

University of Stirling    

University of Glasgow

Supervisors:

  • Dr David Oliver (University of Stirling)
  • Dr Richard Quilliam (University of Stirling)
  • Dr Susan Waldron (University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Larissa Naylor (University of Glasgow)

 

Biography:

My particular area of interest is sustainable groundwater management as part of the broader catchment management framework. . I hope to contribute to this field by developing skills as an interdisciplinary scientist able to draw on the fields of geology, hydrogeology, geophysics and remote sensing, biology, and geochemistry.

After graduating from a degree in geology with honours in groundwater chemistry from The Australian National University in 2013 I entered the graduate program at Geoscience Australia (http://www.ga.gov.au) and worked on projects across the agency including the Broken Hill Managed Aquifer Recharge project, investigating the effects of spatial data projections on the predictive accuracy of spatial interpolation, and geophysical surveys assessing regolith cover.

This PhD project aims to constrain the spatial and temporal variation in sources, transport mechanisms, and fate of microbial contaminants in the Southwest China karst region using faecal indicator organisms (FIOs) as a tracer of microbial contamination. The project sits within a large multidisciplinary NERC co-funded UK-China project. The results should help inform management of this fragile ecosystem for human health and environmental needs.

Communities of the Southwest China karst region are often entirely dependent on groundwater resources for a large proportion of the year. Farming, forestry, and over-population enhance contamination mechanisms of the surface-groundwater system. Microbial pollutants are sourced predominantly from manure and sewage and are responsible for a host of diseases, particularly mild and severe gastroenteritis. The inherent geological and hydrological properties of karst aquifers allow minimal attenuation of microbial contaminants, a phenomenon that is observed throughout karst aquifers of the world, resulting in re-emergence of pathogenic microbes at groundwater bores and springs.

This PhD project aims to constrain the spatial and temporal variation in sources, transport mechanisms, and fate of microbial contaminants in the Southwest China karst region using faecal indicator organisms (FIOs) as a tracer of microbial contamination. The project sits within a large multidisciplinary NERC co-funded UK-China project. The results should help inform management of this fragile ecosystem for human health and environmental needs.

Publications/Conference talks/Posters:

Poster: Stirling BES Winter Symposium 2016

Benchmarking Passive Seismic Techniques

http://www.publish.csiro.au/EX/ASEG2016ab274

Email: sarah.buckerfield1@stir.ac.uk; sarah_buckerfield@hotmail.com

Twitter: @SBuckerfield_90

Department webpage: https://www.stir.ac.uk/natural-sciences/staff-directory/postgraduates/sarah-buckerfield/