PhD vegetation-sediment interactions

Job description:
Coastal dunes provide coastal defence and specific ecological habitat to human society. Those values are under pressure due to increased human activity in coastal zones and climate change. Management of coastal dunes relies on knowledge of the relevant eco-physics. However, state-of-the-art knowledge is not yet well-integrated across coastal domains (shoreface, beach and dune) and relevant disciplines (ecology, morphology, engineering). As a result, it is not possible to anticipate the combined impact of management strategies for coastal defence and habitat development. DuneForce addresses the eco-physical unknowns at the interfaces of coastal domains and disciplines through a combination of multi-disciplinary field work and numerical simulations. This will result in a quantitative model that predicts the development of the coastal zone in respect to dune habitat and coastal safety. This new model will be applied in real life case studies to optimize coastal management strategies and interventions in the coastal system.

 As a PhD student you will work closely together within a broader Wageningen-Delft project-team of one technician, one PhD and one postdoc (https://www.academictransfer.com/en/52783/postdoc-duneforce-coastal-engineering/ and https://www.academictransfer.com/en/52782/phd-duneforce-coastal-engineering/). Within the broader project you will be responsible for coupling aeolian sediment transport and ecological processes to topographic evolution and habitat development at the beach-dune interface. To do this you will develop hypotheses, and design and conduct field experiments, perform field observations and develop model scenarios. You will assess parameters related to dynamics of sediment, soil moisture, vegetation and habitat development using a combination of both land-based and UAV-based techniques. You will translate the data collected into probability density functions and integrate these functions in an existing dune-building model. You will be co-supervised by staff from the Plant Ecology and Nature conservation and Soil physics and Land Management groups and work closely together with staff of the GIS and Remote Sensing group of Wageningen University.

We ask

We are looking for:
We are looking for an early career PhD candidate (F/M) who has a keen interest in mechanistic understanding of vegetation-sediment interactions and applying this knowledge to better model dune development in a changing climate. The project includes direct collaborations with Dutch stakeholders, hence fluency in Dutch (speaking and writing) is an advantage.

We offer

MSc degree in earth system science related discipline with training in ecology or vice versa:

  • excellent ability to think conceptually and quantitatively
  • excellent ability to communicate in English and Dutch, both orally and in writing
  • good knowledge of biogeomorphologial interactions (sediment, hydrology, vegetation)
  • good organisational skills and ability to work independently
  • experience with environmental characterisation (biological, chemical and physical)
  • experience with R or Matlab
  • experience with remote sensing techniques and data processing

We offer:
We offer a PhD-position in principle for a period of 48 months. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended with 30 months if you perform well. Salary will increase from € 2325,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2972,- in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week).                                                                                  

More information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Juul.Limpens@wur.nl or Michel.Riksen@wur.nl

Applications for this position should be submitted before 16 March 2019.

Please do not send your application directly to Juul Limpens or Michel Riksen.

Wageningen University & Research
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain of good and safe food & food production, food security and a healthy living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 5000 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.
Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.
For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at:
Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.

We are

We are:
We are the chair group of Plant ecology and Nature conservation (PEN), https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Chair-groups/Environmental-Sciences/Plant-Ecology-and-Nature-Conservation-Group.htm) and chair group Soil Physics and Landscape Management (SLM, https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Chair-groups/Environmental-Sciences/Soil-Physics-and-Land-Management-Group/About-us.htm). PEN studies and teaches the processes and underlying mechanisms that link biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and service delivery and applies these insights to design effective conservation and management strategies for resilient ecosystems. SLM focusses on soil physical and hydrological processes at different temporal and spatial scales, and their central role in sustainable land and water management.
The department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University provides fundamental research and academic education on our living environment: nature, landscape, land usage, adaptation to climate change, water and ocean management, and the various competing claims on space. This also includes biodiversity and the sustainability of management and production. Wageningen University is part of the Wageningen University and Research concern.

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