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Ecohydrological modelling in karst environments

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Tetzlaff
    Prof C Soulsby
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

We are seeking dynamic and motivated applicants for a PhD studentship which aims to use

Scientific rationale: Karst environments cover 10% of the Earth’s land surface and provide the water supply to around one quarter of the world’s population. Environmental stress in karst regions is increasing. Soils are thin and very sensitive to forest clearance and cultivation. In many areas this has caused erosion and desertification resulting in threats to food security. Additionally, the highly permeable nature of karst systems means that water scarcity is often an issue and pollution risks from agriculture and urbanisation are high. Research into the karst critical zone is increasing and there is an urgent need to understand plant-soil-water water interactions to inform integrated sustainable land-water management strategies. This project will contribute to this research effort by developing new approaches to ecohydrological modelling in karst environments. The project will utilize extensive new data sets being collected from the Puding Karst Critical Zone Observatory in Guizhou Province, China. Hydrometric data along with isotope tracing approach will be used to develop process-based understanding of plant-soil-water interactions under different land covers. This will be integrated and parameterised in catchment scale hydrological models to project the effects of land use and climate change on water resources.

Training: This is a major opportunity for a student interested in working at the cutting edge of hydrology and ecology. The student will join a successful research group and a lively graduate training community at the University of Aberdeen and will participate in the formal training programmes. The candidate will also receive training in other aspects of scientific working such as scientific result dissemination, writing journal articles for publication and conference presentations.

Essential Background: Equivalent of 2.1 Honours Degree in Environmental Sciences; Hydrology; Earth Sciences, Ecology, Environmental engineering

Knowledge of: Modelling, environmental sciences, Programming and coding; model calibration and testing

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting There is NO funding attached to this project. You can find details of living costs and the like by visiting


This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Hydrology/Earth Sciences. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for PhD in Geography, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Prof C Soulsby ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

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