MONDAY 22 JUNE12-4PM BSTOver 60 universities | Funding advice | Virtual talksRegister now
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Nottingham Featured PhD Programmes

Numerical modelling of sediment transportation and surface roughness on vegetated coastal dune systems

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Coasts and coastal communities around the world are vulnerable to sea level increases and intensity of storm events. Vegetated sand dunes are relied upon for protection, buffering coastal communities from the sea. Yet the role of vegetation in modifying wind flow and sand flux remains poorly incorporated in numerical models of dune dynamics. Initial work has established an initial model that modifies wind flow over coastal dunes based on vegetation and dune parameters.

We are looking for a suitable student to investigate the physical mechanisms of interaction between wind flow, vegetation and sand transportation over coastal dune systems. The project will involve developing further the model for dune surface roughness adapted for a variety of coastal plants, wind conditions and types of coastal dunes. A model that deals with sand transportation by the wind and interaction with the dune vegetation is also a consideration. Field data will be used to create and validate the model and this may come from existing data sets or may need to be gathered.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Associate Professor Sarah Wakes ( and Associate Professor Mike Hilton ( The student will be part of a vibrant coastal and dune research group with researchers in a number of departments (Mathematics & Statistics, Geography, Marine Science).

The project is ideally suited for someone with interests in mathematical modelling, engineering, coastal geomorphology and computational fluid dynamics. A strong background in mathematics and physics, as well as computing skills, are essential. Prior knowledge in fluid mechanics, and/or coastal geomorphology will be an advantage, but are not essential. Both New Zealand and international students are encouraged to apply.


If you are interested in working with Sarah Wakes on this cutting-edge science project then please get in touch by sending your CV, transcripts of undergraduate and Masters studies, the names and contact details of 2 references.

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be required to apply for a competitive University of Otago PhD scholarship, which includes a 3-year stipend of NZ$ 27,500 per year (tax free and includes a fee waiver), research costs, and travel support to an international conference.


Wakes, S. J., Maegli, T., Dickinson, K. J. M., & Hilton, M. J. (2010). Numerical modelling of wind flow over a complex geometry. Environmental Modelling & Software, 25, 237-247.
Pattanapol, W., Wakes, S., & Hilton, M. (2011). Using Computational Fluid Dynamics to determine suitable foredune morphologies in New Zealand. Journal of Coastal Research, SI64(1), 298-302.
Petersen, P., Hilton, M., & Wakes, S. (2011). Evidence of aeolian sediment transport across an Ammophila arenaria Dominated foredune, Mason Bay, Stewart Island. New Zealand Geographer, 67(3), 174-189.
Pattanapol, W., Wakes, S., Hilton, M., & Dickinson, K. (2008). Modelling of surface roughness for flow over a complex vegetated surface. International Journal of Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2(1), 18-26.
Wakes, S. J., Hilton, M. J., & Konlechner, T. (2016). Topographic Steering of Oblique Incident Winds Across a Foredune-Parabolic Topography, Mason Bay, Stewart Island, New Zealand. Journal of Coastal Research, SI75, 243-247.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here

The information you submit to University of Otago will only be used by them or their data partners to deal with your enquiry, according to their privacy notice. For more information on how we use and store your data, please read our privacy statement.

* required field

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

Search Suggestions

Search Suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.