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Vacancies & Research Opportunities

Current Vacancies in Geography:

PhD Studentship

Trinity Coastal Research Group (Prof Iris Möller)

Post Summary:

Comparing the geomorphological functioning of natural and managed realignment in constrained estuarine settings, Ireland

The restoration of coastal wetlands through managed realignment (MR; the relocation and/or breaching of coastal protection structures) is being increasingly adopted as a viable strategy towards addressing multiple pressing environmental challenges (Oppenheimer et al., 2019). The various ecosystem services provided by coastal wetlands are a key driver of such restoration schemes and include carbon sequestration, hazard regulation (through surge and wave dissipation), biodiversity enhancement, and physical and mental health benefits to local communities. In the current context of the European Union Green Deal and the commitment of national governments towards biodiversity and climate targets, the importance of ensuring that restoration efforts are efficient and effective is being brought into ever sharper focus.

Existing MR sites within the UK and Ireland have a history of either accidental or abrupt breaching of sea defences with only limited pre-breach monitoring. Furthermore, any monitoring that is conducted before interventions take place is often focused on ecological rather than hydrogeomorphological site assessments. To fully understand the likely outcome of interventions, particularly in terms of carbon sequestration, soil stability, wave and water level attenuation, however, knowledge on the geomorphological functioning of naturally developed versus restored sites is critical. Existing hydrogeomorphological insights suggest a high context-dependency of all of the above processes, requiring detailed site-specific bio-physical knowledge to underpin larger-scale (e.g. remote sensing based) assessments of site-suitability for restoration and potential future site-performance with respect to key ecosystem services.

This project will focus on two saltmarsh sites on the Irish Sea coast, at which managed or unmanaged realignment has led to marsh reestablishment to gain insight into the linkage between biological, physical, and hydrodynamic processes. This knowledge will be used as a basis for (a) conceptual model(s) of how the present functioning is likely to alter through time and under altered forcing conditions and to explore what aspects of this knowledge are transferrable to other sites.

Closing Date: 30th April 2021

Full post description and application information is available here

 

PhD Studentship

Trinity Coastal Research Group (Prof Iris Möller)

Post Summary:

Response of an anthropogenically initiated urban barrier island to past and future environmental change

Large-scale sedimentary features, such as barrier islands, may act to protect urban coasts from climate change impacts. An adequate understanding of, and ability to predict, geomorphological processes that govern the long-term natural and/or human induced changes of such landforms in a highly managed context is thus essential to the successful mitigation of future urban coastal flood risk.

This project will contribute to a better understanding of how the semi-natural North Bull Island offshore of Dublin, Ireland, has been responding to physical drivers, both ‘natural’ (waves, tides, climate), and human (management intervention and human use) drivers over the past decades. While the island’s ecology (e.g. Penk et al., 2019) and the wider sedimentological context of Dublin Bay (e.g. Harris, 1980) has been extensively studied, there is a need to complement existing information with a geomorphologically focused study on the island itself. Such knowledge is key to exploring how the island may respond to a range of future climate and human intervention scenarios and how such change may alter the delivery of ecosystem services presently derived from the beach, dune, salt marsh and intertidal habitats present on the island. In a larger, global context, this case study will allow lessons to be learnt for the potential future, context-dependent incorporation of dynamic coastal depositional features as elements of urban coastal climate change adaptation.

Closing Date: 30th April 2021

Full post description and application information is available here

 

Other applications

For information on applying for a PhD in Geography, please see our postgraduate page for how to apply.