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Institute of Advanced Study

IAS Fellow's Seminar

Fellow: Professor Andy Baker

Chair: Professor Michael O'Neill

Title: Water colour

River and lake water is often coloured, typically a yellow/brown colour. This derives from naturally derived organic matter (OM) in the water, and is also known as chromophoric dissolved organic matter or gelbstoff. It absorbs light in the short ultraviolet wavelengths, and often also fluoresces. It protects aquatic life from UV radiation, reacts with metal and pollutants in the water, and provides the basic food for the in-stream microbial ecosystem. It also provides an unwanted colour to potable water and is therefore removed in drinking water treatment.

What are the chemical characteristics of OM?

How does OM change over time and space?

What are the implications for carbon budgets, and when extracted for potable use?