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CRC 1253 CAMPOS - Catchment as Reactors: Metabolism of Pollutants on the Catchment Scale

CAMPOS is a new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) for long-term multidisciplinary research starting in January 2017.

Overall Aims
Diffuse pollution of soils, surface waters, and ground-water by a multitude of anthropogenic organic and inorganic compounds is a growing global concern. Despite decades of pollutant research, serious knowledge gaps exist concerning the fate and behavior of these pollutants on the landscape scale and their impact on water quality, ecology, and human health.

The overall aims of the CRC are:

1. to identify landscape elements controling storage, biogeochemical transformation, or elimination of pollutants,
2. to identify the respective processes and their dynamics responsible for relevant pollutant trans-formations in environmental compartments,
3. to develop a new modeling framework to simulate and predict reactive transport and pollutant behavior on the landscape scale.

Research Focus & Structure

In eight collaborative projects we intend to close the gap between relevant processes identified in the laboratory and mechanisms of mass transfer and metabolic trans-formations on the landscape scale.

Our research addresses pollutant turnover and reactive zones within the most relevant landscape elements and compartments aligned along the reversed water flow from rivers as integrators of pollutant fluxes in landscapes (project P1), nested and contrasting low-order sub-catchments including the groundwater/ surface-water interface (P2), hillslopes and floodplains (P3-P4), the underlying fractured/karstic aquifer system (P5), and finally soils (P6). Within these compartments, we will identify and quantify the most relevant transport and transformation proces-ses, i.e. biodegradation in biofilms (P1), turnover at steep redox gradients (P2-P4), diffusion-controlled slow turnover in the rock matrix (P5), and limitations of pollutant turnover in soil compartments (P6). We develop a stochastic modeling framework (P7-P8) addressing the conceptual and parametric uncertainty of reactive transport on the catchment scale in the interpretation of the monitoring data, in predicting the development of water quality, and in designing experiments to reduce uncertainty. Supporting projects of CAMPOS provided laboratory analysis and maintenance of field sites (Z1), central modeling support (Z2), and data infrastructure (INF).

Field Sites & Target Compounds
Research focusses on shared study sites in the catchment of River Ammer, a tributary of River Neckar in SW-Germany, in close vicinity to the City of Tübingen. We have selected a set of lead substances, which will be monitored across all field sites, including: nitrate as a major groundwater pollutant, a set of herbicides with widely varying physicochemical properties, persistent organic pollutants, and micropollutants frequently found in rivers such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products and their respective metabolites.

Participating Institutions & Collaborations
Research in CAMPOS builds upon a well-structured collaboration of scientists from diverse backgrounds such as environmental microbiology and chemistry, soil science, and (stochastic) hydrogeology.
The principal Investigators are affiliated to the Universities of Tübingen, Hohenheim, and Stuttgart, as well as to the Helmholtz Centers for Environmental Research in Leipzig (UFZ) and for Environment & Health in Munich (HMGU).

CAMPOS is closely linked to the Research Training Group 1829 "Integrated Hydrosystem Modelling”, a cooperation of the Universities of Tübingen, Stuttgart, and Hohenheim with Canadian partner universities.

CAMPOS is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for four years and may be extended to twelve years in total upon positive evaluation.

Prof. Dr. Peter Grathwohl

Dr. Hermann Rügner

University of Tübingen
Center for Applied Geoscience
Hölderlinstr. 12
72074 Tübingen
D-72074 Tübingen
+49 (7071)-29 75041



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