Degree completed in 2017.

Modelling of pesticides and POPs in the River Thames System: potential impacts of changes in climate and management

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Academic Profile

Qiong is currently a DPhil student in School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. She holds a bachelor degree in engineering from Shanghai University and an MSc in water and environment management from University of Bristol. Her current research investigates the use of integrated catchment models, and apples them to predict the fate and behaviour of particular POPs in river basin systems. She is also looking at the effects of climate change issues, land use issues, environmental policy and regulations and catchment management practices on the fate of POPs in river basin systems.

Awards
  • 2013 - Wolfson China Scholarship
  • 2010 - Outstanding Graduate Student of Shanghai
  • 2010 - Shanghai Scholarship

Current Research

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are a series of deleterious organic substances comprising the characteristics of great persistence in environment, semi-volatility, bioaccumulation and toxicity. In response to their recognised environmental effects, POPs have been eliminated and reduced in production and use. In the UK, POPs have been banned for more than 25 years, which has kept the concentration of POPs in water at very low levels. However, recent studies indicate that some of the POPs that were detected are ecologically significant. POPs such as PCBs and PBDEs were detected to be several orders of magnitude higher than the EU biota EQS in some fish samples from River Thames. These exceedances are likely to have arisen from diffuse and secondary sources. POPs distributed in river basins still have a high risk to ecology and human health.

Qiong's research aims to identify and quantify the sources of particular POPs, to investigate their transport and distribution in river basins, to study their concentration dynamics in different compartments of river basins, and to predict how their fate will be affected by different drivers such as climate change, land use change and environmental regulations. The River Thames Catchment has been chosen as the main study site. Qiong's research will utilise GIS techniques and process based models (Fugacity and INCA-Contaminants approach) to study POPs in the River Thames, liaising with CEH (Centre of Ecology and Hydrology) in Wallingford who have expertise in the detailed chemical analysis and also in analysing biological samples (fish). The outputs of the research will be of helpful to inform policy and management strategies making.