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Karen Daly

Research Officer - Soil & Catchment Science

Research Interests

The area of research I am focused include soil nutrient cycling and the fate and transport of agricultural nutrients at various scales (plot, field and catchment).

My work on nutrient cycling in soil focusses on soil phosphorus cycling in agricultural soils and the mechanisms of uptake and release in different soil types. 

My research also includes the application of soil spectroscopy for the prediction of soil properties.

Current Projects


As project co-ordinator of a Department of Agriculture, Food  and Marine, funded project: High Status Waterbodies: Managing and Optimising Nutrients (Harmony), this work includes research on soil phosphorus and catchment hydrology in sensitive catchments in collaboration with the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (NI), University of Ulster (NI), University College Dublin (IE) and National University of Ireland Galway (IE). She also works in close collaboration with EU LIFE projects, DuhallowLIFE and MulkearLIFE. 

Soil Spectroscopy

This project focuses on the application of soil spectroscopy for phosphorus fertility and utilising archived soil samples from the Irish Soil Information System (ISIS), will build a spectral library of soil types.


As a participant in the SQUARE project my work will focus on soil functions, namely, optimising phosphorus supply capacities in soils.


As a participant in the SOIL STATUS project my work will focus on soil nutrient supply, cycling and potential contamination.

Regan, J. Fenton, O., Daly, K., Grant, J., Wall, D., Healy, M. Effects of overland flow on critical soil test phosphorus thresholds in tillage soils. 2014. Water Air Soil Pollution. 225.

Daly, K. and Casey, A. (2005). Environmental aspects of soil phosphorus testing. Irish Journal of Agriculture and Food Research. 44: 261-279.

Jordan, P., Menary, W., Daly, K., Kiely, G., Morgan, G., Byrne, P. and Moles, R. (2005). Patterns and processes of phosphorus transfer from Irish grassland soils to rivers - integration of laboratory andcatchment studies. Journal of Hydrology 304, 20-34  ISSN 0022-1694  11138  A1 .

Doody, D., Moles, R., Tunney, H., Kurz, I., Bourke, D., Daly, K. and O'Regan, B. (2006). Impact of flow path length and flow rate on phosphorus loss in simulated overland flow from a humic gleysol grassland soil. Science of the Total Environment 372: 1, 247-255  ISSN 0044-9697  13233.  

Daly, K., Mills, P., Coulter, B.S. and McGarrigle, M. (2002). Modelling river phosphorus concentrations using land use, soil type and soil phosphorus data. Journal of Environmental Quality.

Daly, K., Jeffrey, D. and Tunney, H. (2001). The effect of soil type on phosphorus sorption capacity and desorption dynamics in Irish grassland soils. Soil Use and Management 17: 12-20  6575 .