Geochemistry and Hydrology

Last changed: 13 December 2023
Small stream in a forest. Photo.

The Division of Geochemistry and Hydrology conducts research and environmental assessment on the chemical quality of water, including eutrophication, mercury and carbon cycling.

To support improved management of our lakes and watercourses, we seek to understand the processes that control water quality. We also want to be able to distinguish human impact from natural variation.

Management and staff

Head of division: Jens Fölster
Faculty professor: Kevin Bishop

Researchers and PhD students at the Division of Geochemistry and Hydrology

Staff at the Geochemical laboratory


We seek to understand the processes that control water quality in time and space. This knowledge is fundamental for different actors in society to be able to assess how human activities such as climate change, agriculture and forestry affect aquatic life, and what measures are most effective to achieve society's goals for a sustainable water environment.

Our studies aim to describe the temporal and spatial variation in key water chemistry parameters and to understand the processes that control water quality. This knowledge is necessary for society to develop sustainably. Examples of research areas are the optimisation of measures against eutrophication from agricultural land and against internal loads in lakes, causes of water pollution, the turnover of mercury in the forest landscape, wetlands as nature-based solutions for various environmental problems and the interaction of climate with aquatic ecosystems.

The division hosts the Secretariat of SITES (Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science).

Environmental monitoring and assessment

We monitor the effects of changes in environmental impact and environmental measures to provide a basis for cost-effective environmental management. We are responsible for the water chemistry parts of the national environmental monitoring programmes of water quality on behalf of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. This includes River outlets, Trend watercourses, Trend lakes and Cyclically low-intensity monitored lakes. The analyses are performed by our accredited water chemistry laboratory.

Examples of data we produce are tools for status classification of acidification and eutrophication, map tools for placing the right measure in the right place in the agricultural landscape, and decision support for the treatment of eutrophic lake sediments.

Through SLU Water Hub, we contribute to Sweden's reporting to HELCOM regarding the load on the Baltic Sea. We are responsible for ICP-Integrated Monitoring and ICP-Waters under the UN Convention on Air Quality.