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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

New studentship: effectiveness of river restoration: now appointed to - applications closed

Published: 5 April 2011

Supervisors: Prof David Sear (Geography) and Dr Paul Kemp (CEES). Funding source: Competitive School studentship*

River restoration is a global multi-billion dollar industry, driven by a range of legislation that commits nation states to the protection and enhancement of aquatic biota and associated habitats (Beechie et al., 2009). A key component of the natural aquatic environment is the presence of large wood within the river. This is known to be a source of energy for the ecosystem, a substrate for instream biota and an ecosystem engineer in that it creates complex in channel and floodplain habitats (Sear et al., 2010a). There is an increasing use of large wood in river restoration, equally there are legitimate concerns over its impact on migratory fish species. Thus the key need is for improved understanding of the relationship between large wood structures and the provision of habitats for fish species.

The proposal is to undertake integrated field experiments to quantify a) the physical habitat and habitat dynamics created by different large wood structures (Sear et al 2010b; Emery et al., 2008); and b) to quantify the role of these habitats in structuring different fish population. The fish populations to be studies include migratory Sea Trout, River Lamprey and Bullhead, all of which are Annexe II protected species. The aim of the research therefore is to establish the link between the habitat space created by large wood and its occupancy by key fish species. The methodology applied will draw from the multidisciplinary fields of geomorphology (GEOG); ecohydraulics (GEOG/CEES) and fish ecology and behavioural science (CEES). The methodology will utilise high resolution Terrestrial Laser Scanning (Geog) and Acoustic Doppler current profiling (Geog) within a multivariate statistical modelling framework to quantify the physical habitat (Emery et al., 2008). Once identified; each habitat unit will be instrumented with a PIT-TAG recorder (CEES) f different species and age, will then be tagged with PIT-TAGs (CEES) Not only will this information be unique, but it will demand novel spatio-temporal processing. Approaches to developing these will form the basis of the final year of the studentship.

This proposal is completely in-line with Prof Sear and Paul Kemp’s research expertise in cutting-edge ecohydraulic studies. Note Sear and Kemp have leading papers in this area (individually) and have been looking to collaborate in this area for some time (findung from Atlatnic Salmon Trust for pump-priming research) The studentship will allow a sustained output of world-class publications as the publications from this PhD programme will have high-impact both in academia and with the River management and Conservation bodies within the Uk and overseas.

The proposed research is cutting-edge and is in accord with the focus of the Geography ESD group’s focus on how Earth systems respond to past 9large wood was more prevalent prior to major human disturbance), present and future environmental change (River restoration and impact of legislation). A stated aim of the Geography unit is to publish more high-impact papers. Papers from this programme would address a key problem that is the focus of concern for aquatic ecologists and river managers. The proposed research fits within the framework of the LWEC USRG.

Candidates must have or expect to gain a first or strong upper second class degree, in an appropriate discipline, not necessarily Geography. NOW APPOINTED To - APPLICATIONS CLOSED

Details on how to apply are available from Julie Drewitt, Graduate School Administrator, School of Geography University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, Telephone 023 8059 2216, email . Informal enquiries may be made to Prof David Sear (email ).

*The studentship will cover tuition fees as well as living expenses. Please note however that this only covers tuition fees up to the level of home/EU students. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to cover the difference between home and international tuition fees.

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