£6,000 FindAPhD Scholarship | APPLICATIONS CLOSING SOON! £6,000 FindAPhD Scholarship | APPLICATIONS CLOSING SOON!

Effects of vegetation on wave hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics

   School of Engineering

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Because vegetation attenuates wave energy and traps sediments, and is naturally adaptive to climate change, there is increasing interest in its possible use for coastal protection purposes. Coastal vegetation is also ecologically important, providing shelter, nutrients, and nursery areas for a wide variety of marine species. While substantial research has been done to understand hydrodynamic and sediment processes over and within vegetated beds in steady, unidirectional flows with application to rivers, little fundamental work has been done to date to understand the processes occurring over and within vegetated beds under wave-generated oscillatory flows of the type that occur in the coastal regime. The PhD project will study the hydrodynamic and sediment dynamic processes occurring under oscillatory flows over vegetated beds. The research will be based on experiments conducted in the Aberdeen Oscillatory Flow Tunnel (AOFT). One of the few facilities of its kind in the world, the AOFT generates oscillatory flows with periods and amplitudes that reach storm wave conditions, which means experiments are conducted at full-scale, without scale effects. The experiments will involve a range of oscillatory flow conditions and several types of artificial vegetation to systematically study the effects of vegetation parameters on the above- and within-canopy hydrodynamics, turbulence and sediment dynamics. The laboratory is equipped with advanced optical and acoustic instruments for measuring velocities, turbulence and sediment concentrations (e.g. LDA, PIV, ADVP, CCM). Insights and data from the experiments will be used to develop practical models for predicting wave-driven hydrodynamics and sediment transport for vegetated sea beds.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain, a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in engineering or related discipline that includes fluid mechanics.

Knowledge of sea wave mechanics, coastal hydraulics, sediment transport and laboratory measurements would be beneficial but is not essential.


Formal applications can be completed online: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgap/login.php

• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering

• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor

• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding

• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)

• Detailed CV, Personal Statement/Motivation Letter and Intended source of funding

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr D van der A () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

Funding Notes

This PhD project has no funding attached and is therefore available to students (UK/International) who are able to seek their own funding or sponsorship. Supervisors will not be able to respond to requests to source funding. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website


Jacobsen, NG, McFall, BC & van der A, DA 2019, 'A frequency distributed dissipation model for canopies', Coastal Engineering, vol. 150, pp. 135-146.

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