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Karl Richards

Head of Environment Soils & Land Use Department

Research Interests

Investigating nitrogen dynamics in soil, nitrate leaching and denitrification in croplands and grazed grasslands soils. His research has focused on the investigation of options to mitigate N2O from soils (such dietary manipulation, cover crops and the use of nitrification inhibitors); understanding landscape scale nitrogen dynamics; investigating N2/N2O partitioning in soils and aquifers and ammonia emissions. He is a member of the EU Nitrogen Expert Panel and an Irish representative on the Global Research Alliance.

He has successfully supervised 3 PhD and 2 MSc. students . His research team currently consists of 2 post-doc researchers, 7 PhD students and co-supervising 4 PhD students. He is a participant on the National Groundwater Protection Working Group led by the Geological Survey of Ireland. He has published 14 papers since 2005.


Current Projects

  • Mitigating Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions by improved pH management of soils MAGGEPH evaluating the effect of soil pH on N2O and N2 emissions from Soil.
  • Towards a European research and innovation roadmap on soil and land management, Soil Mission Support
  • European Joint Programming on Soil Improving agricultural soil management Soil EJP
  • Manipulation and Integration of Nitrogen Emissions (MINE) evaluating the range of denitrification in Irish agricultural soils.
  • Towards an Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research & Innovation Centre scoping study
  • Abating Ammonia in Agriculture (Triple A)
  • Vista Milk Research Centre – Quantifying carbon sequestration in Irish grassland soils.
  • Ensuring food safety in grass systems using NBPT treated urea (NBPT-Safe)
  • Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences iCRAG - quantifying emerging contaminants in groundwater.


1993   BA (mod.) Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin

1999   Post graduate Diploma in Statistics, Trinity College Dublin

1999   PhD. Environmental Geology, Trinity College Dublin

2014   Management Development Programme Fetac level 6



2012   Head Environment, Soils and Land-use Dept., Teagasc, Johnstown Castle

2012   Principal Research Officer- Biogeochemistry, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle

2002   Research Officer – hydrochemistry, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle

2000   Scientific Officer, Environmental Protection Agency

1999   Consultant Hydrogeologist (Hydrochemist), URS Dames and Moore.

1996   Contract Research Officer (biogeochemistry), Teagasc Johnstown Castle.

Dr Richards has published over 125 peer reviewed scientific papers. His publication list can be found on Google Scholar, Researcher ID and Orchid ID.

2020 Publication List

Quemada, M; Lassaletta, L; Jensen, LS; Godinot, Olivier; Brentrup, F; Buckley, C; Foray, S; Hvid, SK; Oenema, J; Richards, KG; 2020 Exploring nitrogen indicators of farm performance among farm types across several European case studies Agricultural Systems

Machado-Moreira, B; Monteiro, S; Santos, R; Martinez-Murcia, A; Rajkovic, A; Smigic, N; Richards, KG; Abram, F; Burgess, CM; 2020 Impact of beef extract used for sample concentration on the detection of Escherichia coli DNA in water samples via qPCR J. Microbiological Methods

Hoekstra, NJ; Schulte, RPO; Forrestal, PJ; Hennessy, D; Krol, DJ; Lanigan, GJ; Müller, C; Shalloo, L; Wall, DP; Richards, KG; 2020 Scenarios to limit environmental nitrogen losses from dairy expansion Science of The Total Environment

Maire, J; Krol, Dominika; Pasquier, D; Cowan, N; Skiba, U; Rees, RM; Reay, D; Lanigan, Gary J; Richards, KG; 2020 Nitrogen fertiliser interactions with urine deposit affect nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grasslands Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment

Clagnan, E; Rolfe, SA; Thornton, SF; Krol, D; Richards, KG; Lanigan, G; Tuohy, P; Fenton, O; 2020 Nitrogen transformation processes and gaseous emissions from a humic gley soil at two water filled pore spaces Soil and Tillage Research

Nag, Rajat; Whyte, P; Markey, BK; O'Flaherty, V; Bolton, D; Fenton, O; Richards, KG; Cummins, E; 2020 Ranking hazards pertaining to human health concerns from land application of anaerobic digestate Science of the Total Environment

Mooney, D; Coxon, C; Richards, KG; Gill, LW; Mellander, P-E; Danaher, M; 2020 A new sensitive method for the simultaneous chromatographic separation and tandem mass spectrometry detection of anticoccidials, including highly polar compounds, in environmental waters J. Chromatography A

O'Neill, RM; Girkin, NT; Krol, DJ; Wall, DP; Brennan, FP; Lanigan, GJ; Renou-Wilson, F; Müller, C; Richards, KG; 2020 The effect of carbon availability on N2O emissions is moderated by soil phosphorus Soil Biology and Biochemistry

Bracken, CJ; Lanigan, GJ; Richards, KG; Müller, C; Tracy, SR; Grant, J; Krol, DJ; Sheridan, H; Lynch, MB; Grace, C; 2020 Sward composition and soil moisture conditions affect nitrous oxide emissions and soil nitrogen dynamics following urea-nitrogen application Science of The Total Environment

Krol, DJ; Forrestal, PJ; Wall, D; Lanigan, GJ; Sanz-Gomez, J; B; 2020 Nitrogen fertilisers with urease inhibitors reduce nitrous oxide and ammonia losses, while retaining yield in temperate grassland Science of the Total Environment

Ashekuzzaman, SM; Forrestal, P; Richards, K; Fenton, O; 2020 Potential loss of nutrients, carbon and metals in simulated runoff associated with dairy processing sludge application International J. Environmental Science and Technology

Jahangir, MMR; Fenton, O; Carolan, R; Harrington, R; Johnston, P; Zaman, M; Richards, KG; Müller, C; 2020 Application of 15N tracing for estimating nitrogen cycle processes in soils of a constructed wetland Water Research

Nolan, S; Thorn, CE; Ashekuzzaman, SM; Kavanagh, I; Nag, R; Bolton, D; Cummins, E; O'Flaherty, V; Abram, F; Richards, K; 2020 Landspreading with co-digested cattle slurry, with or without pasteurisation, as a mitigation strategy against pathogen, nutrient and metal contamination associated with untreated slurry Science of The Total Environment

Mooney, D; Richards, KG; Danaher, M; Grant, J; Gill, L; Mellander, P-E; Coxon, CE; 2020 An investigation of anticoccidial veterinary drugs as emerging organic contaminants in groundwater Science of the Total Environment

Byrne, Maria P; Tobin, John T; Forrestal, Patrick J; Danaher, Martin; Nkwonta, Chikere G; Richards, Karl; Cummins, Enda; Hogan, Sean A; O’Callaghan, Tom F; 2020 Urease and Nitrification Inhibitors—As Mitigation Tools for Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Sustainable Dairy Systems: A Review Sustainability

des Roseaux, Marion Delacoux; Shi, S; Duff, AM; Brennan, FP; Condron, L; Finn, JA; Richards, KG; O’Callaghan, Maureen; Clough, TJ; 2020 Impacts of pasture species and ruminant urine on N2O emissions and nitrogen transforming microbial communities in soil mesocosms New Zealand J Agricultural Research