Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Chao Gu

Research interests:

1. Biogeochemical cycles, especially carbon and within aquatic systems;
2. Applications of stable isotope analyses to biogeochemical cycling;
3. Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem biosphere-atmosphere flux dynamics.

Career history:

PhD student of Geographical and Earth Sciences in University of Glasgow Oct, 2017— Now
Master of Environmental Engineering in Zhejiang University (Chinese National 211 Project and 985 Project University) Sep, 2014 — Jun, 2017
Bachelor of Environmental Science & Engineering in Zhengzhou University (Chinese National 211 Project University) Sep, 2010 — Jun, 2014

Active research projects:

Does catchment inorganic C influx drive freshwater CO2 degassing?

With atmospheric CO2 now at concentrations greater than 400 ppm, research to understand better the carbon cycle remains crucial. Rivers connect the terrestrial landscape to the ocean, but the carbon load can be reprocessed en route, with some C degassed to the atmosphere as CO2. Thus rivers also connect the terrestrial landscape with the atmosphere and the magnitude of this efflux is a significant component of the C cycle.

However, there has been little research undertaken on the source of this inorganic C from which the CO2 degasses. Is it from the breakdown of dissolved organic matter (DOM), which tends to dominate the C pool in temperate systems? Or is it coming into rivers as dissolved inorganic carbon from soil respiration or groundwater? There is now mounting evidence that the dissolved inorganic C pool may be the predominant source of the CO2 efflux in aquatic systems. It has been suggested that catchment productivity controls lake CO2 efflux, brought in as dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the rivers, thus catchment productivity may influence river DIC loading. However, these relationships have not yet been rigorously explored. Thus the over-arching aim of this PhD is to identify if the CO2 efflux is from the dissolved inorganic C pool and if so how consistent this transfer is. This is crucial to understand better the carbon cycle response to changing climate.

Recent publications:


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