Macronutrient Cycles

Programme overview

The overall goal of the Macronutrient Cycles programme was to quantify the scales (magnitude and spatial/temporal variation) of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fluxes and nature of transformations through the catchment under a changing climate and perturbed carbon (C) cycle.

Background & objectives

This £9·5 million programme was delivered by linking the different science areas and impacts under the four objectives below:

  1. To evaluate the nature and scale of macronutrient (N, C) exchange between the airshed and terrestrial system and consequences for losses (N, P, C) to freshwater and atmosphere systems (atmosphere-terrestrial-freshwater feedback system).
  2. To determine the role and spatial and temporal variation of macronutrients (N, P, C) on key limiting processes and ecosystem functions (that is decomposition, productivity) and consequent export at the catchment scale (terrestrial-freshwater systems).
  3. To advance understanding of the co-limitation of N/P for eutrophication control along the entire freshwater system to the estuarine boundary (freshwater system).
  4. To determine the implications of nutrient enrichment on the fate and effects of other non-nutrient contaminants, including impacts on human health (that is pathogens, ozone) and biodiversity.

All of the objectives have technology science challenges embedded in them.

Reports and key findings

Five consortia grants and two proof of concept grants were funded.

Funded projects (PDF, 74KB)

A themed issue of the journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts dedicated to the Macronutrient Cycles programme is available from the Royal Society of Chemistry - external link.


The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.

Scientific integration & modelling strategy (PDF, 109KB)

Catchment selection strategy (PDF, 750KB)

Technology strategy (PDF, 180KB)

Programme data policy (PDF, 158KB)

Programme knowledge exchange & public engagement policy (PDF, 93KB)

Stakeholder policy & research interests (PDF, 69KB)

Sustainable use of natural resources theme action plan (PDF, 265KB)

First funding round - Moderating panel membership (PDF, 57KB)