SEGH Articles

SEGH2019 Prize Winners Series: Carly Woods

12 August 2019
Carly Woods, a PhD researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, won the second-best overall ECR presentation prize and shares her experience of SEGH2019 with us!

The 35th International Conference on Geochemistry and Health

From 1st -5th July, the 35th International Conference on Geochemistry and Health was held within the Business School building at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Delegates from around the world attended and contributions were made in the form of 6 keynote presentations, platform presentations and poster presentations.  These covered a number of interesting themes which highlighted the core SEGH focus of the link between geochemical environment and health in the broad area of environmental chemistry.


External of the Business building at MMU, site of the 2019 SEGH conference.

The first sessions of the conference were initiated with interesting keynote talks by Prof. David Manning, Newcastle University (Carbon Capture Gardens: a new function for urban wastelands) and Prof. Ricardo Godoi, Federal University of Parana State (Long-term accumulation of perchlorate aerosol combined with geothermal heat flux may contribute to basal ice lubrication at West Antarctica).  These presentations seamlessly integrated with the day’s platform presentation themes of ‘Urban wastelands: potential for enhancing urban resilience’ and ‘Environmental change: impact on the environment & human health’ respectively.

The topics of New Technologies and Environmental Monitoring were represented by various engaging presentations, including those of the keynote speakers: Dr Kirsty Shaw, MMU (Lab-on-a-chip in the environment) and Prof. Stuart Harrad, University of Birmingham (The Organic Flame Retardant Story: Knowns and Unknowns).

Finally, a keynote address by Sarah Dack, Public Health England (The problem of “Background” in contaminated land assessment) lead presentations into the topic of Environmental Health then Dr Haleh Moravej, MMU (Health awareness and wellbeing in Student Population) introduced presentations on Sustainable Nutrition & Agriculture.  Following this, Dr Moravej with some of the team from MetMUnch (MMU based, student-led enterprise promoting sustainable and nutritious food) encouraged full participation in a hands-on workshop of kimchi making to re-inforce the topical conversation of nutrition and food waste prevention.


MetMUnch engagement event, delegates await instruction on food waste tip:  don’t throw away your old food, ferment it to produce long-lasting Korean side dish kimchi.  Image credit: @MetMUnch twitter page.

All presentations evoked interest from delegates of various backgrounds, allowing opportunity for networking and collaborative prospects.  Furthermore, early career researchers were introduced in a specially arranged lunch event.

Additionally to the sessions, the conference had an eventful social programme which included: a welcome mixer; a visit to the much enjoyed Manchester City Football Academy; a formal conference dinner within the luxury Midland Hotel; a pub crawl; and a day trip to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, giving participants the chance to absorb some of the surrounding Mancunian culture. 


Delegates outside Etihad Stadium, home of the Manchester City football team, post-tour. 


Delegates gathered in front of the Edwardian façade of the prestigious Midland Hotel after enjoying a formal three-course conference dinner. 

At the closing ceremony, it was announced that the 2020 SEGH conferences would be held at two separate events in Kenya and China. 

The closing ceremony initiated with the exciting news that the 2020 SEGH conferences would be held in two separate events in Kenya then in China, whilst Dr Michael Watts (Head of Inorganic Geochemistry at the British Geological Survey) was re-elected as SEGH president with overwhelming support from all delegates.  This session concluded with the prize-giving ceremony and the three Springer prizes were awarded as follows:

  • Tatiana Cocerva (Queen’s University Belfast), Best student oral presentation
  • Carly Woods (University of the West of Scotland), Outstanding student oral presentation
  • Amy Sansby (University of Nottingham), Best student poster presentation
  • Jon Connelly (University of Strathclyde), Outstanding student poster presentation


SEGH 2019 prize winners, Tatiana Cocerva (left), Carly Woods (middle), and Amy Sansby, (right) receiving Springer awards from Prof Andrew Hursthouse, UWS.  Image courtesy of SEGH.

To reiterate one of the messages of the conference, SEGH is planning to release a special edition journal following this conference and encourages members to send suggestions for articles to Dr Sanja Potgeiter-Vermaak:

Special thanks to the conference chair, Dr Sanja Potgieter-Vermaak, co-chair Dr David Megson, the organising committee, and the national and international scientific committee members of SEGH for their hard work in making this event a success.  Additional thanks to MMU for hosting this event.

For further information, including the conference programme and abstracts, please see the MMU SEGH Conference Page.

Image credits: @SocEGH twitter page unless otherwise stated.

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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

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    The steady increase in the world’s population has intensified the need for crop productivity, but the majority of the agricultural practices are associated with adverse effects on the environment. Such undesired environmental outcomes may be mitigated by utilizing biological agents as part of farming practice. The present review article summarizes the analyses of the current status of global agriculture and soil scenarios; a description of the role of earthworms and their products as better biofertilizer; and suggestions for the rejuvenation of such technology despite significant lapses and gaps in research and extension programs. By maintaining a close collaboration with farmers, we have recognized a shift in their attitude and renewed optimism toward nature-based green technology. Based on these relations, it is inferred that the application of earthworm-mediated vermitechnology increases sustainable development by strengthening the underlying economic, social and ecological framework.

    Graphic abstract

  • Plasticizers and bisphenol A in Adyar and Cooum riverine sediments, India: occurrences, sources and risk assessment 2020-01-23


    Adyar and Cooum, the two rivers intersecting Chennai city, are exposed to serious pollution due to the release of large quantities of dumped waste, untreated wastewater and sewage. Sediments can act as repository for emerging organic contaminants. Hence, we have monitored the occurrence and risk associated with plasticizers [six phthalic acid esters (PAEs), bis(2-ethyl hexyl adipate) (DEHA)] and bisphenol A (BPA) in surface riverine sediments of Adyar and Cooum rivers from residential/commercial, industrial and electronic waste recycling sites. Σ7plasticizers (PAEs + DEHA) in the Adyar riverine sediment (ARS) and Cooum riverine sediment (CRS) varied between 51.82–1796 and 28.13–856 ng/g, respectively. More than three-fourth of Σ7plasticizers came from bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), in accordance with the high production and usage of this compound. BPA varied between 10.70–2026 and 7.58–1398 ng/g in ARS and CRS, respectively. Average concentrations of plasticizers and BPA were four times higher in electronic waste (e-waste) recycling sites when compared with industrial and residential/commercial sites. BPA and DEHP showed a strong and significant correlation (R2 = 0.7; p < 0.01) in the e-waste sites thereby indicating common source types. Sites present at close proximity to raw sewage pumping stations contributed to 70% of the total BPA observed in this study. For the derived pore water concentration of plasticizers and BPA, the ecotoxicological risk has been found to be higher in ARS over CRS. However, sediment concentrations in all the sites of ARS and CRS were much below the recommended serious risk concentration for human (SRChuman) and serious risk concentration for ecotoxicological (SRCeco).

  • Distribution of metal(loid)s in particle size fraction in urban soil and street dust: influence of population density 2020-01-18


    Assessment of street dust is an invaluable approach for monitoring atmospheric pollution. Little information is available on the size distribution of contaminants in street dusts and urban soils, and it is not known how the population density would influence them. This research was carried out to assess the size distribution of trace metal(loid)s in street dust and urban soil, and to understand how population density might influence the size-resolved concentration of metal(loid)s. Three urban areas with a high, medium and low population density and a natural area were selected and urban soil and street dust sampled. They were fractionated into 8 size fractions: 2000–850, 850–180, 180–106, 106–50, 50–20, 20–10, 10–2, and < 2 µm. The concentration of Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, Ni, As, and Fe was determined, and enrichment factor and grain size fraction loadings were computed. The results indicated that the concentration of Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, and Cr was highly size dependent, particularly for particles < 100 µm, especially for street dust. Low concentrations of Ni and As in street dust and urban soil were size and population density independent. Higher size dependency of the metals concentration and the higher degree of elemental enrichment in the street dust fractions than the urban soils indicate higher contribution of human-induced pollution to the dust. Findings also confirm the inevitability of size fractionation when soils or dusts are environmentally assessed, particularly in moderately to highly polluted areas. Otherwise, higher concentrations of certain pollutants in fine-sized particles might be overlooked leading to inappropriate decisions for environmental remediation.