Ms. L. McAnallen
School: School of Planning Architecture and Civil Engineering
Location: David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road, BT9 5AG
November 2014 – present: Queen’s University Belfast, PhD research student
September 2012 – September 2013: Queen’s University Belfast, MSc Environmental Engineering with Distinction
September 2009 – September 2012: Queen’s University Belfast, BSc Geography
Analysis of Upland Peat Health using Trace Element Geochemistry and Geophysical Methods
My PhD involves the analysis of peat, pore-water and gas samples taken from healthy, degraded and restored areas within the Garron Plateau blanket bog in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Garron Plateau (4,628ha) holds Dungonnell reservoir which is owned by NI Water and provides clean water to approximately 37,000 customers across the Ballymena and Moyle areas.
The healthy peat catchment acts like a sponge and stores any atmospheric pollutants that would otherwise contaminate the water, however when the peat degrades, these pollutants are no longer stored and are released in runoff to the reservoir, increasing treatment costs. The high runoff rates also increase the DOC content which is not only expensive to treatment but also reacts with chlorine during treatment to produce trihalomethanes, which are thought to be carcinogenic. Degradation of the area also increases GHG emissions and destroys the habitat of many rare species of flora and fauna such as the Marsh Saxifrage and Golden Plover.
In 2004, NIEA undertook a condition assessment across the site and found 38.8% to be in unfavourable condition due to drainage and overgrazing. Restoration has since been put into place. The main aim of my work is to determine if these restoration processes are working through geochemical analysis, such as stable isotope analysis and FTIR to give an idea of the biogeochemical processes occurring within each area and geophysics to determine the physical changes across the 3 peat types.
Dr Rory Doherty, Dr Shane Donohue and Dr Ulrich Ofterdinger.
Conference proceedings: ‘Source Apportionment, Fugacity Modelling and Comparison of Background Calculation Methods of Soil PAHs in an Urban Setting’ by R. Doherty, R. McIlwaine, L. McAnallen and S.Cox. Submitted to Environmental Forensics: Proceedings of the 2014 INEF Conference – Royal Society of Chemistry.