About the Project
Aim. This Royal Society Wolfson PhD Studentship aims to use physical process-based river temperature models to determine the relative importance of tributary and main-stem shading in protecting larger rivers from high river temperatures – incorporating the effects of channel hydraulics, residence times and heat advection. The work will inform optimal planting strategies where resources are limited, and planting needs to be focussed and prioritised where it can have greatest overall benefits for whole rivers.
Methodology. The project is composed of three interconnected parts. First, a process-based river temperature model capable of simulating river temperatures under different tree planting, landscape and environmental conditions will be developed for a tributary of the upper Aberdeenshire Dee, Scotland where detailed climate, hydrological and temperature data (including thermal imaging) will allow confident model calibration and validation. A sensitivity analysis will then be undertaken to assess those factors that are most influential in replicating observed spatial patterns of temperature variability. Second, the model will be up-scaled to simulate water temperatures in the upper Dee under using a range of data sources including remotely sensed data, gridded spatial datasets and more sparse observational networks. Thirdly, the effects of different tree planting strategies will be investigated (e.g. targeting hottest reaches, reachest expected to benefit most from shading, large rivers, smaller tributaries) to determine their effects on river temperature across whole riverscapes. Finally, the effects of various planting strategies will be linked environmental benefits for fish and fisheries by assessing exceedance of critical thresholds for thermal stress and regulation of fisheries. Data are available for other field sites across the UK, which may be used to assess transferability across different climate and landscape context.
Collaboration, training and skills. Marine Scotland Science provides expert scientific advice on aquatic environments to the Scottish Government, supporting its policy-making and regulatory activities. MSS have agreed to partner on the PhD project. Professor Hannah and Dr Malcolm (MSS) have a long, successful track-record of co-supervising PhDs to completion. Dr Dugdale (University of Nottingham) will contribute expertise on physical-based modelling as well as sharing existing data sets. Dr. Faye Jackson will contribute expertise on process-based and statistical modelling of river temperatures and the use of large spatial datasets. Professor Krause (University of Nottingham) will provide expertise on riverscapes and ecohydrological processes. This collaboration represents a unique PhD training opportunity and will ensure research findings will be put into practice. The PhD student will receive training in field instrumentation, data exploration, coding and modelling. They will gain scientific knowledge of advanced hydrology, hydroclimatology and river ecology from the supervision team, giving a strong grasp of the challenges facing freshwaters. The student will receive transferable skills training by being imbedded in Birmingham’s Graduate Research School.
Interviews will be held in August for a 1 October start date.
Informal enquiries: Professor (Royal Society Wolfson Fellow) by email: [email protected]
Royal Society Wolfson Scholarship
Eligibility and Financial Support: Tuition fees and an annual stipend (£14,777 net) are available plus additional funds for research support. Applicants from outside of the UK and EU are ineligible.
Applications should be made online at:
Please select PhD in Geography and Environmental Science (Physical Geography)