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Regenerating chalk stream environments: Monitoring the effectiveness of the River Anton Restoration Study


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Thursday, June 30, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Paul Kemp and Andrew Vowles

Project description

Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the greatest global challenges faced by humanity. Freshwater ecosystems are the most degraded on the planet, and in the UK the majority of rivers are failing to achieve targets for restoring good ecological status. Resilient freshwater ecosystems, including Rivers and Wetlands, are essential in enabling us to mitigate the worst effects of climate change and enable us restore and maintain lost biodiversity. Chalk streams, the majority of which are based in the south of England, are globally unique – equivalent to “England’s rainforests”. However, they have been heavily degraded and threatened, particularly due agricultural practices and abstraction by water companies. English chalk streams have been modified by humans for millennia for a multitude of reasons (e.g. agriculture, navigation, flood risk mitigation, hydropower), yet compared to other river systems have received relatively limited attention. Today, efforts to restore rivers to a more natural condition (e.g. by reinstating gradient, meanders, enhancing instream structural complexity and removing infrastructure) are widespread for the purpose of enhancing ecological condition, fisheries, and to reduce flood risk through natural flood management strategies. Nevertheless, there is often a lack of sufficient monitoring to quantify the effectiveness of such approaches, and where there has, results are often variable. This collaborative project led by the University of Southampton in partnership with The Piscatorial Society and involving a range of stakeholders will quantify the physical (e.g. depth, width, bathymetry, hydrodynamics, sediments, and woody material), chemical (e.g. temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, turbidity, and fecal coliform counts) in the River Anton. The aims are to determine both the changes in these parameters and the ecological (macrophytes, macroinvertebrates, fish) response to the planned large-scale restoration project. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team of fish biologists and engineers at the International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research the successful applicant will conduct a field study to quantify the effectiveness of the restoration approaches adopted. They will develop skills in field study design, field techniques including kick sampling, arc-boat surveys, and fish telemetry, various analytical techniques such as GIS and R, and technical writing capabilities. We are looking for an appropriate person with a background in environmental science related subjects (e.g. geography, ecology, biology, environmental science) and an interest in interdisciplinary work in collaboration with engineers to solve challenges related to freshwater ecosystem restoration. The successful candidate will have a first class or high upper second class degree in an appropriate subject at undergraduate level. A merit or distinction class mark at Masters level would also be advantageous. As the project will be field based the successful candidate would also be expected to have a full driving licence.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: 30 June 2022

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £16,062 p.a. for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page. programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. supervisor Paul Kemp  in Section 2

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

For further information please contact:


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