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Biogeochemistry at the Antropocene of Elements and Emerging Contaminants

Biogeochemistry at the Antropocene of Elements and Emerging Contaminants

How human activities permanently modify biogeochemical cycles of elements?

The research activity of the team focuses on the biogeochemical cycles of metallic elements in the critical zone and more specifically on their evolution during the Anthropocene. These elements, naturally present in the lithosphere, see their fate being highly dependent on chemical or physical alteration processes. Their cycles are controlled by regional and global hydroclimatic variations, but also largely by anthropogenic activities which participate in global changes by altering the relationship between atmosphere and the earth surface.

The research questions addressed are:

  • Which speciation for these elements (ions, complexes, colloids);
  • What are the transport and transfer processes of metallic elements (ME) in natural compartments (soil, sediment, water, air);
  • What change in the mobility and availability of metallic elements under the action of anthropogenic forcing;
  • What behavior and what fate for emerging contaminants that are manufactured or accidental nanoparticles in the environment;
  • What are the processes allowing the valorization of Technological Critical Elements (TCE) in the context of the circular economy and urban metabolism, and whose biogeochemical cycles in the critical zone will be modified by their massive use for new technological applications.

While climatic and geological processes were for a long time the main drivers of terrestrial surfaces transformation, our team is studying how humans, at the time of the Anthropocene, are at the origin of most of the transformations that affect the critical zone.