Diffuse pollution of soils, surface waters, and groundwater by a multitude of anthropogenic organic and inorganic compounds is a growing concern. Despite decades of pollutant research, serious knowledge gaps exist concerning the fate and behavior of these pollutants on the landscape scale and their impact on water quality, ecology, and human health. The aims of CAMPOS are:

  1. Identification of the landscape elements controling storage, biogeochemical transformation, or elimination of pollutants,
  2. Identification of the processes relavant for pollutant transformation in different environmental compartments and their dynamics, and
  3. Development of a new modeling framework to simulate and predict reactive transport and pollutant behavior on the landscape scale.

Research Focus & Structure

In eight collaborative projects CAMPOS intends to close the gap between relevant processes identified in the laboratory and mechanisms of mass transfer and metabolic transformations on the landscape scale. Research addresses pollutant turnover and reactive zones within the most relevant landscape elements and compartments aligned along the reversed water flow from rivers as integrators of pollutant fluxes in landscapes (project P1), nested and contrasting low-order sub-catchments including the groundwater/ surface-water interface (P2), hillslopes and floodplains (P3-P4), the underlying fractured/karstic aquifer system (P5), and finally soils (P6). Within these compartments, we will identify and quantify the most relevant transport and transformation processes, i.e. biodegradation in biofilms (P1), turnover at steep redox gradients (P2-P4), diffusion-controlled slow turnover in the rock matrix (P5), and limitations of pollutant turnover in soil compartments (P6). We develop a stochastic modeling framework (P7/P8) addressing the conceptual and parametric uncertainty of reactive transport on the catchment scale in the interpretation of the monitoring data, in predicting the development of water quality, and in designing experiments to reduce uncertainty and we set-up a data infrastructure (INF) project for comprehensive research data management..

Field Sites & Target Compounds

Research focusses on shared study sites in the catchment of River Ammer, a tributary of River Neckar in SW-Germany, in close vicinity to the City of Tübingen. We have selected a set of lead substances, which will be monitored across all field sites, including: nitrate as a major groundwater pollutant, a set of herbicides with widely varying physicochemical properties, persistent organic pollutants, and micropollutants frequently found in rivers such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products and their respective metabolites.

Participating Institutions

Research in CAMPOS builds upon a well-structured collaboration of scientists from diverse backgrounds such as environmental microbiology and chemistry, soil science, and (stochastic) hydrogeology.

The principal Investigators are affiliated to the Universities of Tübingen, Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Munich (TUM) and Bayreuth as well as to the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig (UFZ).

CAMPOS is closely linked to the Research Training Group 1829 "Integrated Hydrosystem Modelling”, a cooperation of the Universities of Tübingen, Stuttgart, and Hohenheim with Canadian partner universities.