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PhD: Earthworms facilitate fast transport of water and nitrogen to subsurface drainage systems

Congratulations to David Nagy. Just before Easter he defended his PhD with the title: Quantifying the transport and fate of dissolved nitrogen at different scales in drained agricultural landscapes.

[Translate to English:] Foto: David Nagy

During his PhD study, David Nagy researched various conceptualisations of preferential flow modelling using the one-dimensional soil-water-atmosphere model DAISY. Preferential flow is the uneven and often rapid movement of water and solutes, facilitated by earthworms and old root channels through porous media. He studied and simulated nitrogen leaching to tile drain systems in agricultural clay till fields under the influence of preferential flow and simultaneous denitrification.

His research findings demonstrate that preferential pathways are crucial for simulation of nitrogen leaching. David Nagy also concludes that the default parameterisation of the denitrification module in Daisy should be updated.

As the second PhD-student at Department of Agroecology to defend his thesis online, David Nagy handled the situation with ease.

“The defence went really well I was on top of my research. My examiners were really friendly, although they did pose some tough questions,” PhD David Nagy says. Even though the defence was online and he experienced some technical difficulties, David Nagy did well in his presentation.

“It was a little bit strange not seeing the “emotional” response of the audience, while I was presenting; however, it was okay and overall I am positive in regards to doing defences online,” David Nagy says.

What will the future bring? 

It is hard work to defend a PhD and do it well especially under the present circumstances, but David Nagy got his PhD-degree and now it is time for a little bit of relaxation before he starts up a new career.

“What is next for me? Right now, I am resting. I got some inquiries from different companies, and I am planning to settle in the data modelling industry, which I find really interesting. We will see, what the future has got in store for me,” David Nagy says.

More information

Read more about David Nagys PhD thesis “Quantifying the transport and fate of dissolved nitrogen at different scales in drained agricultural landscapes.” Or visit David Nagys pure-profile to learn more about his research.


PhD David Nagy, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University. Tel.: +45 8715 7673. Mail: davidnagy@agro.au.dk