Sophia Dowell

Sophia Dowell

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

PhD title: Micronutrient and pollution transfer in East African lake catchments: impacts on the food-water-energy security nexus

This project aims to understand the loss of micronutrients from weathering of soils, with a focus on the erodibility status of soil across the Winam Gulf area of Lake Victoria. Subsistence farmers in Africa are often dependent on food grown within a limited area and the Winam Gulf is a very important source of food both from land and water. Due to this, geochemical factors that influence the soil-to-crop transfer of essential micronutrients, as well as potentially harmful elements can be associated with the health of the area. Resources to manage the soils sustainably can be limited, resulting in weathering and erosion of soil into waterways and lake catchments.

By using environmental forensic tracer tools and GIS-based risk modelling frameworks, the hope is to quantify the nutrient/micronutrient and erodibility status of soil across the Winam Gulf catchment and to link sediment in transit within the system to specific spatial and land use defined source areas and processes. As a part of this project I will undertake sampling in Kenya over two field seasons to better understand the chemistry and physical parameters influencing leaching of MNs/PHEs.


2019: BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University of Surrey, UK