Background and aim of the research:
The Oslofjord area is impacted by eutrophication due to the increasing discharge of nutrients from urban and agricultural sources. Governmental regulations require a more efficient sewage water treatment to reduce nutrients (especially nitrogen) in the effluents. Therefore, municipalities like Moss, are obliged to modernise their sewage treatment facilities.
The master thesis will focus on micropaleontological and geochemical analyses of marine sediment cores collected along a previously sampled N-S transect passing the discharge points of the wastewater plant Fuglevik, Moss. Based on sediment organic carbon and trace metal concentrations and accumulation rates in dated cores, temporal changes (past century) and spatial variability in the environmental status of the area can be determined.
Additionally, the study of fossil benthic foraminifera will allow ecological assessment of the degree of impact on the benthic ecosystem over time (last century) and space. The master thesis project will be of interest to the local municipality and sewage plant operators to evaluate the impact of the discharge on the environmental status in the area.
Research methodologies and database:
The study will be based on the analyses of short sediment cores collected near the outlets from the wastewater plant Fuglevik to the outer Oslofjord. The project will focus on the analyses of pollutants, organic carbon content, and fossil benthic foraminiferal assemblages of dated sediment cores.
The master student will be involved in field- and laboratory work. The student is asked to produce her/his own data and to describe and summarize the results in a scientific way.
The student should be able to determine local ecological status changes over time in the study area near the outlets of the Fuglevik sewage plant, outer Oslofjord (SE Norway), define reference conditions, and link and compare the results to existing studies.