Unravelling the role of submarine groundwater discharge under rapidly changing coastal conditions

Tristan McKenzie
Thursday, February 29, 2024 · 1:00 pm to · 2:00 pm
ESB 5104 & Zoom

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is an important contributor to both coastal water and biogeochemical budgets globally. Volumetrically, SGD often rivals or exceeds river discharge. Coastal waters also frequently experience poor water quality derived from land-based anthropogenic pressure, such as wastewater, industrial, or agricultural sources. While this pollution is commonly associated with surface runoff, SGD is often a major, yet understudied vector for contaminants to reach the coast.

In this setting, I employ geochemical tracers for groundwater (e.g., radon and radium isotopes) and anthropogenic inputs (e.g., contaminants of emerging concern; CECs). I will discuss my research developing emerging applications of these geochemical tracers in two different contexts: anthropogenic and hydrological change. From the perspective of anthropogenic change, I will present some of the first research investigating CECs in SGD and the coastal aquifer with the goal of better understanding (1) applications for wastewater source tracking, (2) influence of sea-level rise on coastal water quality, and (3) role of coastal biogeochemical interactions on CEC attenuation. In terms of hydrological change, I will discuss a case study exemplifying how machine learning models can be constructed from radon in SGD data for future prediction and understanding how climatic and hydrological stressors impact SGD. These models present an important step in coastal ocean research toward reducing uncertainties associated with SGD temporal variations, especially under rapidly changing conditions, such as sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and decreased water resources availability. Overall, this talk will highlight several innovative methods for applying geochemical tracers, filling critical research gaps in terms of our understanding about coastal ocean pollution, water quality, and future conditions.

Zoom link: https://ubc.zoom.us/j/61227908464?pwd=eE9IaGhPZFF6OW5OSWROL3U4cmJYQT09

Meeting ID: 612 2790 8464

Passcode: 009405

Please note that after the seminar, the candidate will give a chalk-talk regarding their research plan over the next five years at ESB 5104 @2:30 pm, you are welcome to join as well!