People

Robert Newbould

NERC CENTA PhD Researcher (Geography)

School/Department: School of Geography Geology & The Environment

Email: ran14@leicester.ac.uk

Profile

Prior to starting my PhD I received a BSc in Geography from the University of Leicester. My undergraduate degree had a strong focus on hydrology and geomorphology and my dissertation investigated river channel changes caused by reservoir impoundment. After graduating I decided to continue my studies at the University of Leicester and undertook an MPhil in Physical Geography. During the MPhil I used a novel approach to investigate plastic transport in rivers. This approach combined an experimental component in which macroplastic tracers were tracked in a small river reach with the construction of a numerical model to describe and explain the observed phenomena. For more information please see my LinkedIn profile (www.linkedin.com/in/robertnewbould138).

Research

My PhD seeks to understand pollutant behaviour in rivers. The in-channel fate of organic pollutants will depend on physico-chemical properties and compound degradability as well as environmental factors like temperature pH suspended solids concentration dissolved organic carbon concentration and the hydraulics of the receiving system. We also hypothesise that biodegradation will be more rapid in shallow streams than in deep rivers because the size of the competent microbial biomass in the water column is low compared with that in biofilms attached to the wetted perimeter of the channel. This means that degradation will depend on contact time with the fixed biofilm. My PhD aims to test this hypotheses and develop a predictive model based on the findings.

Publications

Newbould, R.A., Powell, D.M. and Whelan, M.J.  (2021) Macroplastic Debris Transport in Rivers: A Travel Distance Approach. Frontiers in Water, (3). DOI: 10.3389/frwa.2021.724596

Newbould, R.A. (2021) Understanding river plastic transport with tracers and GPS. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 2 (9). DOI: 10.1038/s43017-021-00212-5

Activities

Geography PGR Representative (2021-22)

Awards

University of Leicester Norman Pye Prize for the best final year Geography student(s) (2019)

Conferences

SETAC Europe 2022 - Poster Presentation

GSL Plastics in the Environment 2021 - Poster Presentation and Lightning Talk

EGU General Assembly 2021 - vPICO Presentation

Media coverage

https://le.ac.uk/news/2021/september/river-plastic
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