CV page

Sara Sandström

Sara Sandström
My PhD project aims at increasing the understanding of the composition, role and sources to suspended material and attached phosphorus (P) in small agricultural streams. The project will consist of field- and labwork as well as improved modeling of P-exchange between sediment and water phase and identification of critical source areas (CSAs) for P-transport with distributed high-resolution erosion models.


I am a PhD student at the Department of aquatic sciences and assessment and  belong to the section for geochemistry and hydrology. My main focus is phosphorus (P) attached to suspended material in small agricultural streams. Besides my own project, my special interests lies in working with different Geographical information systems (GIS) and automatisation of GIS-calculations in Python.


I have been teaching hydrology in the course Energisystem ur ett biogeovetenskapligt perspektiv (swedish) during the fall 2018, 2019 and 2020 for civil engineers.

I have also been an administrator and teaching assisstant for the PhD course Multivariate methods for ecologists during fall 2020.


Elevated P-concentrations in surface waters is a known contributor to eutrophication and degraded water quality, where agriculture is a known main P-source. However, the role and composition of fluvial sediment and attached P is less known. Through this project we want to increase the understanding for these processes with improved modeling of P-exchange between sediment and water phase and identification of CSAs for P-transport with distributed high-resolution erosion models as well as field and labwork that looks closer at the suspended material and the different P-fractions attached to it.

The first part of the project concerns field and labwork where suspended material has been collected from small agricultural streams in four different agricultural catchments with time integrated Philippes samplers. All these areas are a part of the Swedish national environmental monitoring program. The samplers were emptied and reinstalled once every 8-10 weeks, and the material was then analyzed with P-fractionation to find the different P-species during fall 2017, 2018 and 2019. The material will also be analyzed using NMR and XANES-analysis later in the project with help from our collaboration partners on Ireland and Canada. This to get even deeper understanding of the different P-species in the material.

The second part of the project is based on historical time-series data from these small agricultural catchments that are a part of the Swedish environmental monitoring programme. We mainly studied at the connection between particluate P and the concentration of suspended material and how this can be linked to the catchment's properties, e.g. soil type. Connections between clay content, percentage agricultural land and suspended solids were established, as well as between suspended solids and particulate phosphorus. See more of the results in the following article in Science of the Total Environment:

The last parts of the project will be focused on modeling where we will continue to build on the results from the lab and field experiments to improve the modeling of P-exchange between sediment and water phase. We will also further develop distributed high-resolution erosion models to identify CSAs for P-transport and how they change over time.


Master programme in Environmental and Water Engineering, Uppsala University (2012-2017).


Main supervisor: Faruk Djodjic, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU.

Martyn Futter, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU.

Kevin Bishop, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU.

Katarina Kyllmar, Department of Soil and Environment, SLU.

Selected publications

Sara Sandström, Martyn N. Futter, Katarina Kyllmar, Kevin Bishop, David W. O'Connell, Faruk Djodjic,
Particulate phosphorus and suspended solids losses from small agricultural catchments: Links to stream and catchment characteristics,
Science of The Total Environment,
ISSN 0048-9697,