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Quantifying the hydrological effects of hydrophobicity in soils
Department of Geography
Dr S Doerr
Prof R P D Walsh
No more applications being accepted
Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.
PhD Research Project
Soils are normally thought to wet readily under rainfall or irrigation. In hydrophobic (water-repellent) soils, wetting is inhibited, resulting in a reduction in infiltration rates in severe cases by several orders of magnitude. The environmental impacts of this phenomenon include enhanced overland flow, which can contribute to flooding; accelerated soil erosion by water and wind; enhanced preferential flow and associated leaching of nutrients and agrochemicals; reduced microbial activity, seed germination and crop growth; and poor performance of amenity turf (Doerr et al. 2000; Mataix-Solera eta al. 2011). Some of these impacts bear considerable environmental and economic costs. A recent survey across England and Wales carried has confirmed that many common land use types are affected by hydrophobicity (Doerr et al. 2006).
The aim of the proposed project is to quantify the hydrological consequences of hydrophobicity at a range of scales for selected affected areas in the UK. This project is all the more relevant given that the current trend towards more frequent summer drought periods (the type of conditions conducive to widespread hydrophobicity) and more frequent flood-producing storms is predicted to intensify in the future with global warming.
The successful candidate will possess (as a minimum) a BSc/BA (Hons) degree class 2(i) in Geography, Environmental or Soil Science, or related discipline (some knowledge of hydrology is essential). For further details, please contact: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
How to apply
Applicants must complete and submit the following documentation by the deadline:
A completed application form for admission to a PhD in Geography – submitted via the online admissions portal: Apply (Please specify a PhD in Geography with NERC funding and project title)
Applicants should use the ‘Additional Supporting Information’ section of the application form to explain why the nominated award they have chosen particularly appeals to them and how they would choose to develop it
Academic References – all admissions applications require two references to be submitted in support. Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as we will be using these to help us evaluate your NERC studentship application
Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application by the funding deadline. We will be using these to verify your academic qualifications
This project is eligible for competitive funding through fully-funded NERC studentships awarded to the Department. The studentship covers UK tuition fees plus a stipend. The stipend for 2011/2012 was £13,590. (These are open to candidates who have been ordinarily resident in the UK throughout the 3-year period preceding the date of application). Other funding opportunities may be available and self-funded students are always welcome. Contact your potential supervisor for advice and details of how to apply.
Doerr S.H., Shakesby, R.A. & Walsh, R.P.D. (2000) Soil water repellency: its causes, characteristics and hydro-geomorphological significance. Earth Science Reviews, 51, 33-65.
Doerr, S.H., Shakesby, R.A., Dekker, L.W. & Ritsema, C.J. (2006) Occurrence, prediction and hydrological effects of water repellency amongst major soil and land use types in a humid temperate climate. European Journal of Soil Science, 57, 741–754.
Mataix-Solera, J., García-Irles, L., Morugán, A., Doerr, S.H., Garcia-Orenes, F., Arcenegui, V. & Atanassova, I. (2011). Longevity of soil water repellency in a former wastewater disposal tree stand and potential amelioration. Geoderma, 165, 78-83.
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