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    Dr Lucy Crockford

    BSc (Hons), PGC SL&T, MSc, PhD

    Senior Lecturer in Soil and Water Management

    Photograph of Lucy

    As a Senior Lecturer in Soil and Water Managementand a Chartered Water Environmental Manager, I have a wide range of research interests ranging across environmental chemistry, physics and engineering. My primary degree was in Environmental Science at NUI, Galway (2006), with my MSc in Environmental Engineering at Queen's University Belfast (2010) a couple of years after some experience in industry. My PhD research in Geography at the University of Dublin, Trinity College (2015), determined the application of high temporal resolution data in the management of eutrophic water bodies in agricultural catchments. I studied the flow and concentration data of two river catchments with varying drainage capacity and identified the drivers for the eutrophication observed both in-stream and in a lake as an end receptor. Therefore I have great experience in the management and maintenance of high frequency sensors such as HACH datasondes and HACH-Lange Phosphax machines as well as modelling in R and other software packages.

    My research at Harper Adams University is primarily in the application of organic amendments to soils and the impact on soil structure and water movement dynamics - as well as the resulting water quality. I'm also very interested in catchments with high sediment movement and I'm looking to expand my knowledge in this area.

    My teaching responsibilities range across all levels where I introduce students to general environmental science concepts and at higher levels thoroughly discuss the impact of nutrient cycling systems on soil and water quality. I also deliver a portion of the modules on the new BSc Geography and Environmental Management course. At postgraduate level, I co-supervise one PhD student who is investigating the optimisation of feedstock on anaerobically digested sludge for land application and I teach on a module concerning nutrient cycling and soil and water management. I also provide ad hoc support in environmental modelling and Life Cycle Assessment.

    Module Leader:

    C3003C17 Environmental Engineering Science

    C5018C17 Modelling Geochange and the Environment

    C5021C17 Aquatic Ecosystems


    Module Tutor:

    C3002C17 Countryside Studies

    C4014C17 Environmental Science for Agriculture

    C4019C17 Introduction to the Natural Environment

    C5015C17 Environmental Quality and Protection

    C6006C17 Ecosystems and Environmental Resource Management

    C7048 Diversity and Evolution of Insects

    C7058 Soil and Water Nutrient Cycling

    C7060 Sustainable Farming Systems


    Crockford, L., 2022. Achieving cleaner water for UN sustainable development goal 6 with natural processes: Challenges and the future. Frontiers in Environmental Science, Research Topic: Eurosoil 2021: Sustainable Management of Soil Functions as a Basis to Avoid, Halt, and Reverse Land Degradation, 10:976687

    Stevenson, J.L., O’Riordain, S., Harris, W.E. and Crockford, L., 2021. An investigation into the impact of nine catchment characteristics on the accuracy of two phosphorus load apportionment models. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment193(3), pp.1-14. or TBC

    Shore, M., Murphy, S., Mellander, P.E., Shortle, G., Melland, A.R., Crockford, L., O'Flaherty, V., Williams, L., Morgan, G. and Jordan, P., 2017. Influence of stormflow and baseflow phosphorus pressures on stream ecology in agricultural catchments. Science of the Total Environment590, pp.469-483.

    Crockford, L., O’Riordain, S., Taylor, D., Melland, A.R., Shortle, G. and Jordan, P., 2017. The application of high temporal resolution data in river catchment modelling and management strategies. Environmental monitoring and assessment189(9), pp.1-20. or free download

    Crockford, L., Jordan, P., Melland, A.R. and Taylor, D., 2015. Storm-triggered, increased supply of sediment-derived phosphorus to the epilimnion in a small freshwater lake. Inland Waters5(1), pp.15-26. or free download

     O'Dwyer, B., Crockford, L., Jordan, P., Hislop, L. and Taylor, D., 2013. A palaeolimnological investigation into nutrient impact and recovery in an agricultural catchment. Journal of Environmental Management124, pp.147-155. or free download


    Professional Memberships

    Chartered Water and Environmental Manager with the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, CIWEM

    Soil and Water Management Centre at HAU

    Constructed Wetlands Association


    Academic Department: Agriculture and Environment

    Tel: +44 (0)1952 815476

    Twitter: @SWLecLC

    Office: AY04 Ancellor Yard

    Research profile: ORCID


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    Other publications

    • Shore, M (Shore, Mairead)[ 1,2 ] ; Murphy, S (Murphy, Sinead)[ 3,4 ] ; Mellander, PE (Mellander, Per-Erik)[ 1,5 ] ; Shortle, G (Shortle, Ger)[ 1 ] ; Melland, AR (Melland, Alice R.)[ 6 ] ; Crockford, L (Crockford, Lucy)[ 7 ] ; O'Flaherty, V (O'Flaherty, Vincent)[ 3,4 ] ; Williams, L (Williams, Lauren)[ 8 ] ; Morgan, G (Morgan, Ger)[ 8 ] ; Jordan, P (Jordan, Phil)[ 1,9 ] (2017) Influence of stormflow and baseflow phosphorus pressures on stream ecology in agricultural catchments SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 590 (Stormflow and baseflow phosphorus (P) concentrations and loads in rivers may exert different ecological pressures during different seasons. These pressures and subsequent impacts are important to disentangle in order to target and monitor the effectiveness of mitigation measures. This study investigated the influence of stormflow and baseflow P pressures on stream ecology in six contrasting agricultural catchments. A five-year high resolution dataset was used consisting of stream discharge, P chemistry. macroinvertebrate and diatom ecology, supported with microbial source tracking and turbidity data. Total reactive P (TRP) loads delivered during baseflows were low (1-7% of annual loads), but TRP concentrations frequently exceeded the environmental quality standard (EQS) of 0.035 mg L-1 during these flows (32-100% of the time in five catchments). A pilot microbial source tracking exercise in one catchment indicated that both human and ruminant faecal effluents were contributing to these baseflow P pressures but were diluted at higher flows. Seasonally, TRP concentrations tended to be highest during summer due to these baseflow P pressures and corresponded well with declines in diatom quality during this time (R-2 = 0.79). Diatoms tended to recover by late spring when storm P pressures were most prevalent and there was a poor relationship between antecedent TRP concentrations and diatom quality in spring (R-2 = 0.23). Seasonal variations were less apparent in the macroinvertebrate indices; however, there was a good relationship between antecedent TRP concentrations and macroinvertebrate quality during spring (R-2 = 0.51) and summer (R-2 = 0.52). Reducing summer point source discharges may be the quickest way to improve ecological river quality, particularly diatom quality in these and similar catchments. Aligning estimates of P sources with ecological impacts and identifying ecological signals which can be attributed to storm P pressures are important next steps for successful management of agricultural catchments at these scale.)
    • Crockford, L (Crockford, L.)[ 1,2,3 ] ; O'Riordain, S (O'Riordain, S.)[ 4 ] ; Taylor, D (Taylor, D.)[ 5 ] ; Melland, AR (Melland, A. R.)[ 6 ] ; Shortle, G (Shortle, G.)[ 1 ] ; Jordan, P (Jordan, P.)[ 1,7 ] (2017) The application of high temporal resolution data in river catchment modelling and management strategies ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT 189 (Modelling changes in river water quality, and by extension developing river management strategies, has historically been reliant on empirical data collected at relatively low temporal resolutions. With access to data collected at higher temporal resolutions, this study investigated how these new dataset types could be employed to assess the precision and accuracy of two phosphorus load apportionment models (LAMs) developed on lower resolution empirical data. Predictions were made of point and diffuse sources of phosphorus (P) across ten different sampling scenarios. Sampling resolution ranged from hourly to monthly through the use of 2000 newly created datasets from high frequency phosphorus and discharge data collected from a eutrophic river draining a 9.48 km2 catchment. Outputs from the two models were found to differ significantly in the P load apportionment (51.4% versus 4.6% from point sources) with reducing precision and increasing bias as sampling frequency decreased. Residual analysis identified a large deviation from observed data at high flows. This deviation affected the apportionment of P from diffuse sources in particular. The study demonstrated the potential uncertainty in developing and subsequently using empirical models. When these models are applied ad hoc and outside an expert modelling framework using extant datasets of lower resolution, interpretations of their outputs could potentially reduce the effectiveness of management decisions aimed at improving water quality.)
    • Crockford L., Jordan P., Melland A R., Taylor D. (2015) Storm-triggered, increased supply of sediment-derived phosphorus to the epilimnion in a small freshwater lake Inland Waters 5 (This study investigated internal loading of sediment-derived phosphorus (P) in a small, meso-eutrophic lake (surface area 0.2 km2, catchment area 2.7 km2, mean depth 6 m, maximum depth 14 m) on the Atlantic seaboard of western Europe. High resolution data collected over 2.5 years (1 Mar 2011 to 30 Sep 2013) revealed inconsistent patterns in (1) the timing and magnitude of lake turnover and (2) the relative importance of the transfer of hypolimnetic sediment-derived P to the epilimnion when compared with external catchment loading. Lake turnover events during spring and summer had the effect of increasing the internal loading of epilimnetic P during the main growing season, thus adding to eutrophication pressure and contributing to algal blooms in the lake. Abrupt pre-fall (autumnal) turnover events and associated increases in eutrophication pressure such as those reported here may become more frequent occurrences in western Europe because of warming-induced increases in Atlantic summer storm frequency and magnitude, and they could counter the apparent effectiveness of measures aimed at reducing eutrophication impacts through limiting external loadings of nutrients from the catchment.)
    • O'Dwyer B., Crockford L., Jordan P., Hislop L., Taylor D. (2013) A palaeolimnological investigation into nutrient impact and recovery in an agricultural catchment Journal of Environmental Management 124 (Abstract: Widespread deterioration in water quality as a result of anthropogenic activity has led to the development and implementation of measures aimed at the protection of water resources in the EU. To date, however, relatively little attention has been paid to the effectiveness of these measures. Evidence from an enrichment-sensitive lake permitted reconstructions of changes in ecological and chemical water quality over the last c. 150-200 years, a period that includes a mid to late 20th century intensification of agriculture that was widely experienced across the European Union and the subsequent implementation of measures aimed at protecting water resources against pollution from farming. The data show the development of a more nutrient-tolerant diatom community from early in the 20th century, while the main trophic changes occurred from the 1950s, with the site becoming eutrophic by the 1960s. Heightened enrichment is thought to be linked to enhanced levels of phosphorus (P) transfers from the surrounding grassland catchment owing to an intensification of agricultural activities locally. Most recently, since the late 1990s and particularly post-2007, evidence suggests a decrease in aquatic enrichment, despite continued increases in agricultural intensification. This decoupling is likely to mark a successful implementation in 2006 of measures aimed at decreasing diffuse nutrient transfers from catchments linked to agri-environmental policies in Europe. The research highlights the importance of enrichment-sensitive water bodies as sentinel sites in the monitoring of both external and internal nutrient loadings as agricultural activities and other pressures change within the context of implementing regulatory responses to earlier declines in water quality.)
    Additional Information

    Please feel free to follow me on Twitter: SWLecLC or on LinkedIn

    I also have a blog where I provide some review of literature, musings of my teaching experience and other updates on my professional activities.


    You can contact Dr Lucy Crockford if you would like to discuss any of the following course modules:



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