ESR2: Detection of the onset/cessation of hydrological connectivity in the hillslope-riparian-stream continuum via Thermal IR imagery and terres-trial diatom tracing

Research Fellow: Marta Antonelli, CRP - Gabriel Lippmann (Luxembourg)


With a main focus on terrestrial-aquatic interfaces, ESR2 will identify how the spatial and temporal dynamics of hydrological connectivity at the hillslope-riparian-stream (HRS) continuum control the activation of interface connectivity between variable source areas. Conventional tracers (e.g. geochemicals, stable isotopes of O and H) will be used in combination with new approaches (e.g. biological tracers, thermal IR imagery) in order to (i) contribute to overcome limitations of currently used tracer methods and (ii) bring new momentum to our understanding of saturated area dynamics and connectivity.

Tasks and methodology

ERS2 will trace water source and flow paths along the HRS continuum at nested experimental catchments to trace water source, flowpaths and residence times with conventional and innovative techniques and protocols:

  • Sampling of precipitation, surface water, soil water, ground water and stream water during rainfall-runoff events
  • Determination of diatom populations in the hillslope-riparian zone-stream system during rainfall-runoff events
  • Continuous TIR imagery in the hillslope-riparian zone-stream system for mapping saturated area dynamics
  • Geochemical, isotopic and biological (diatom) analysis of collected water samples
  • Interpretation of tracer and TIR data, improvement of internal consistency of hydrological models
  • ERS2 will exchange and collaborate with ESR1 and ESR10 on detecting groundwater-surface water interactions via in-situ fluorescence spectrometry & active Heat Pulse Sensors. Findings on spatio-temporal dynamics of saturated areas in the HRS continuum will serve as a direct input to ESR7 who will focus on the temporal dynamics of biogeochemical processes driven by hydrological variability, and ESR8 who will focus on linking N cycling with hydrological flow paths.


  • Laurent Pfister (CRP)
  • Co-Supervisor: Francesc Sabater (University of Barcelona)

Video Introduction

Watch this short video of ESR2 Marta Antonelli introducing herself and talking about her Interfaces project: