OFERTAS DE ESTUDIOS AVANZADOS

CIREF • Jueves, 19 de Diciembre de 2013

PhD or MSc position: Experimental manipulation of riparian buffers to increase their effectiveness in trapping sediment and phosphorus

Location: University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

This position would be part of a 4-year research project investigating how riparian areas can be used to help decrease the delivery of sediment and phosphorus to Lake Winnipeg, a large eutrophic lake in Manitoba, Canada. The student would be based at UNBC but would undertake fieldwork in watersheds in Manitoba. The larger project is being funded by Environment Canada. Funds are available to support a graduate student via an annual stipend and to cover research costs. The project would be ideally suited to a student wishing to enroll in the PhD program but may be suitable for one or more MSc projects. Students would be within the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES) graduate program at UNBC. See http://www.unbc.ca/nres for details on UNBC and NRES.

It is anticipated that the studentship would be available to start in the summer (May 2014) or fall (September 2014) semester

For further details please contact Phil Owens at owensp@unbc.ca

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Fully-funded PhD studentship
Hydrologic and geomorphic effects of river restoration and implications for Freshwater Pearl Mussel habitat

This research project aims to (a) understand how a river restoration scheme will influence fluvial processes and physical habitat (hydraulic and sedimentary) conditions in the river, and (b) assess the extent to which changes in habitat affect the suitability of the river for freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera). The project is focused on a river in the English Lake District and is funded jointly by Environment Agency, United Utilities and the University of Aberdeen. The project duration is 3 years and will commence in April 2014.

Project background and approach
A diverted headwater tributary is to be reconnected to the main stem of the river in the summer of 2014. This re-connection will help restore natural flow variability and allow the tributary to again supply sediment to the upper part of the river system. These changes are expected to help re-instate more natural patterns of sediment delivery and associated habitat dynamics in the river. By monitoring fluvial processes following the reconnection, the research aims to document changes in the suitability of conditions in the river for pearl mussels; it will assess changes in bed sedimentology, morphology and hyporheic conditions (notably dissolved oxygen) in the reach immediately downstream from the tributary confluence. The re-connection is due to take place in summer 2014, so the project is timed to assess changes immediately following this.

The research is interdisciplinary and represents a major opportunity for a student keen to work at the interface between ecology and fluvial geomorphology. The studentship will provide strong interdisciplinary training, integrating fluvial geomorphology and freshwater ecology. Key skills which will be developed within the PhD include monitoring fluvial processes and associated geomorphic change, characterisation of fine-scale hydraulic and hyporheic conditions, and assessment of the links between physical habitat conditions and benthic organisms. The existence of baseline (pre-reconnection) data for the study reach provides a very strong platform for the PhD. The student will join a highly successful research group in the Northern Rivers Institute, University of Aberdeen (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/nri).

The ideal candidate will have an environmental science background, so graduates with physical or biological science degrees are encouraged to apply. Applicants should have a strong first degree (2:1 or better) and ideally a Masters degree. Knowledge of GIS would be useful, although is not essential. The student will be based at the University of Aberdeen, but will spend short periods of  time in the Lake District (Cumbria), as required by the research. All fees and research expenses will be covered by the project budget; the student will receive an annual stipend of £14,000.

Application procedure
Informal enquiries and requests for further information about the project should be directed to Dr Chris Gibbins (c.gibbins@abdn.ac.uk). Applications can be completed online at:
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply

As well as the standard information requested on the application form, applicants should submit a document summarizing scientific knowledge of the impact of dams on fluvial processes and river channel geomorphic conditions. This document should be a maximum of 2 sides of A4 (font size 11), including references. The closing date for applications is 10 January 2014.

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