LOCATE is a multi-disciplinary project that has undertaken the first ever coordinated sampling of the major rivers in Great Britain. This has helped scientists answer questions about the long-term fate of organic carbon held in soil over the next fifty to one hundred years by establishing how much carbon from soils is getting into rivers and estuaries and determining what is happening to it.

The LOCATE vision is that in ten years the key processes relevant to decomposition of terrigenous (material eroded from land) carbon are well represented in models, particularly for carbon stored in peatlands.

The Work Packages | Meet the Team | Funding

Composite of three images showing researchers undertaking field work.


Work Packages 

LOCATE consisted of four interconnected work packages:

Work Package 1

Quantified the fluxes down rivers and across estuaries through a 1.5 year sampling programme in 2017-2018, sampling 40 rivers monthly (January 2017 – December 2017) and 14 estuaries quarterly (April 2017 – April 2018), selecting rivers and estuaries that represented the diverse land use and hydrological conditions (temperature, rainfall) present in Great Britain, these totaling a third of rivers that drain the UK.

Work Package 2

Examined the processes that remove organic matter across the estuarine gradient and quantified their relative importance in 3 focal catchments (Conwy, Halladale, Tay) by conducting a detailed experimental field assessment during 2018 - 2019.

Work Package 3

Combined the data and knowledge from work packages 1 & 2 to deliver new modelling capabilities that act as predictive models to make future projections of the fate of the UK organic carbon stocks.

Work Package 4

Aimed to innovate new technology, with the development of autonomous, multiparameter (temperature, conductivity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, fluorescent dissolved organic matter, CO2 and chlorophyll) “sensor pods” which allowed LOCATE researchers to measure in real-time fluxes of organic matter. In addition, a new innovative equipment was designed, the “iBOD” system, that allows to measure these three processes at the same time in water samples:

  • Photosynthesis (biological production of organic carbon from inorganic carbon)
  • Photolysis (chemical process in which the sunlight is able to break molecules to smaller components)
  • Respiration (degradation of organic carbon to inorganic carbon via biological activity; inverse process to photosynthesis)

Diagram showing the Work Packages and their relationship to each other.



Meet the Team 

LOCATE is a partnership of:

National Oceanography Centre  
NOC logo
British Geological Survey  
BGS logo
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology  
UKCEH logo
Plymouth Marine Labs  
PML logo

The core team

The core team provided oversight, direction, and work package management. The core team consisted of a science lead, the leaders of each work package as well as one representative from each institution.

  • Dan Mayor image

    Dan Mayor 
    Science lead & WP2 leader

  • Jason Holt image

    Jason Holt 
    Co-Investigator & WP3 leader

  • Richard Sanders image

    Richard Sanders 

  • Chris Evans image

    Chris Evans 
    Co-Investigator & WP1 leader

  • Bryan Spears image

    Bryan Spears 
    Co-Investigator & WP2 leader

  • Dan Lapworth image

    Dan Lapworth 
    Co-Investigator & BGS representative

  • Dan Lapworth image

    Andy Rees 
    Co-Investigator & PML representative

  • Jen Thomas image

    Jen Thomas 
    Programme Manager

The wider team

There are many other people who have made LOCATE happen.

  • National Oceanography Centre

    Dr Daniel Mayor

    Dr Richard Sanders

    Dr Laurent Amoudry

    Professor Thomas Anderson

    Professor Adrian Martin

    Dr Martin Arundell

    Dr Claire Evans

    Dr Jason Holt

    Dr Christopher Pearce

    Professor Alejandro Souza

    Dr Sinhue Torres-Valdes

    Dr Socratis Loucaides

    Dr Chris Balfour

    Mr Chris L. Cardwell

    Dr James D. Harle

    Mr Greg J. Slavik

    Dr Sarah L. Wakelin

    Dr Anna Lichtschlag

    Dr Julie Robidart

    Professor Jason Holt

    Dr Sarah Wakelin

    Dr E Elena Garcia-Martín

    Dr Stacey L. Felgate

    Dr Susan Evans

    Dr Ian D. Lichtman

  • British Geological Survey

    Dr Daniel Lapworth

    Dr Andrew Tye

    Dr Barry Rawlins

    Dr Christopher Vane

    Dr Daren Gooddy

    Dr Rachael Beale

    Dr Benjamin P. Marchant

    Dr Louise Maurice

    Dr Michael Bowes

    Dr Ian Mounteney

    Mr Peter Williams

    Dr Nicole A. L. Archer

    Mr Gareth Farr

    Dr Lei Wang

  • Plymouth Marine Labs

    Dr Andrew Rees

    Professor Philip Nightingale

    Dr Vassilis Kitidis

    Mr Jeremy Blackford

    Dr Ricardo Torres

    Dr Luca Polimene

    Dr Yuri Artioli

    Dr Malcolm S. Woodward

    Mr Ian Brown

    Mr John Stephens

    Mrs Lisa J. Al-Moosawi

    Mr Ian J. Brown

    Dr James Fishwick

    Mr Oban Jones

    Mrs Rebecca May

  • UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

    Professor Christopher Evans

    Dr Bryan Spears

    Dr Jennifer L. Williamson

    Dr Amy Pickard

    Mr Donald Monteith

    Dr Victoria Bell

    Dr Kerry Dinsmore

    Dr Edwin Rowe

    Dr Douglas Clark

    Professor Nancy Dise

    Dr Alan Radbourne

    Miss Annette Burden

    Dr Nathan Callaghan

    Dr Justyna P. Olszewska

    Dr M. Glória Pereira

And many other volunteers who helped during the collection of samples.


UKRI logo


LOCATE was funded through a £4.1m NERC research grant (NE/N018087/1) and extended via a NERC National Capability Science R1 extension grant (NE/V013300/1)

Find out more