PhD student in instream wood dynamics

University of Lausanne

Lausanne, , CH


UNIL is a leading international teaching and research institution, with over 5,000 employees and 15,500 students split between its Dorigny campus, CHUV and Epalinges. As an employer, UNIL encourages excellence, individual recognition and responsibility.


To complete the team, the Institute of earth surface dynamics of the Faculty of geosciences and environment opens a position of PhD student on instream wood dynamics.

Job information

Expected start date in position : 01.04.2020

Contract length : 1 year, renewable 1 x 3 years, maximum 4 years

Activity rate : 100%

Workplace : Lausanne-Mouline (Géopolis)

Your responsibilities

The PhD work will be developed in the context of the project “Towards a new understanding of fluvial ecosystems : integratinf wood regime across multiple scales” founded by the SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship Program.

Instream wood (i.e., downed trees, trunks, rootwads and branches, usually >1m in length and >10 cm in diameter) significatly influences river morphology and sediment dynamics, and it plays an important role in supporting biodiversity, influencing the nutrient cycle, and providing a variety of physical habitats. Moreover, instream wood is an important element of the organic carbon budget. However, the transport of large quantities of instream wood during floods may enhance related damages. Instream wood research has grown considerably over the last years, but important gaps still exist. This project will address some of the most important ones.

In particular for this position the candidate will focus on gathering direct observations of instream wood dynamics by establishing a network of cameras and tracking devices in several alpine rivers.

The PhD project will answer the following research questions :

– What are the most suitable wood mobility monitoring techniques ?

– How much instream wood is stored in Swiss rivers ? What is the residence time of instream wood in Swiss rivers ?

– How is wood mobility in Swiss rivers ? What are the geomorphic characteristics of channel reaches that exhibit high wood dynamics ?

Your qualifications

The chose candidate will have a master’s degree in geosciences, biosciences, environmental sciences, forestry, physical geography, ecology, engineering or related domain.

A requirement for this position is a good base in fluvial processes (i.e, sediment dynamics) and forestry. Knowledge in statistics, GIS, and remote sensing are advantages.

Excellent skills in written and ora English are required.

What the position offers you

We offer a nice working place in a multicultural, diverse and dynamic academic environment. Opportunities for professional training, a lot of activities and other benefits to discover.

Contact for further information



Virgina Ruiz-Villanueva

e-mail : [email protected]

Your application

Deadline : 01.03.2020

Please, send your full application containing Motivation letter, Curriculum Vitae, copy of university degrees certificates and transcripts of marks awarded, an electronic version of a research output (MSc diploma thesis, research report, proceedings paper of other scientific publication) in Word or PDF.
Only applications through this website will be taken into account.

We thank you for your understanding.

Additional information

UNIL is committed to equal opportunities and diversity.