Dr Ian Thomas

About Dr Ian Thomas

I am currently Project Manager of the DiffuseTools project with Prof Michael Bruen at the UCD Dooge Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR). My research aims to update the Environmental Protection Agency's national Catchment Characterisation Tool by integrating new nutrient source datasets (atmospheric nitrogen and phosphorus deposition maps and farm-gate N and P fertiliser use and balance surpluses) and including soil topographic indices of soil wetness and runoff potential derived from national high resolution Digital Elevation Models. This work will update the existing Pollutant Impact Potential (PIP) maps for use by farmers, catchment managers/scientists and policymakers.

Before joining UCD CWRR, I was a PhD student in the Teagasc Agricultural Catchments Programme in Wexford. My research specialised in identifying critical source areas of diffuse pollution from agriculture, by developing next-generation models that use state-of-the-science data, methods and techniques. By defining where these hotspots of agricultural pollution are coming from, mitigation measures and best management practices designed to reduce nutrient losses to waterbodies can be cost-effectively targeted, so that water quality is improved. Since then, I worked in the AgriBenchmark project in UCD Agriculture & Food Science, to benchmark farm-gate N and P balances and use efficiencies, and then in the UCD SEED project 'Environmental Data and Irish Agricultural Sustainability (EDIS)'.

My research interests include:

  • agricultural diffuse pollution
  • GIS mapping
  • hydrological modelling
  • remote sensing data (LiDAR/IFSAR DEMs)
  • soil chemistry
  • farming practices and land use change