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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Sofia N. Aldabet Munoz

PhD Studentship in emergent relationships between coastal risk and coastal protection

Sofia N. Aldabet Munoz's Photo

Hi I'm Sofia Aldabet Munoz and I am studying within the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton.

I am a Spanish geographer trained in GIS and urban planning, and have always been interested in natural hazards – particularly those that affect coastal areas. I hold a 5-year degree in Geography from the University of Santiago de Compostela, and an MSc in Urban Planning and Environmental Management from the University of Barcelona. I have worked in an environmental consulting company in Barcelona, and as a research assistant in an ERC Advanced Grant Project hosted at the Centre for Demographic Studies in the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2017, I joined an MSc in Geographical Information Systems at Lund University (Sweden). Now, thanks to the SMMI and the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, I will be able to further my interest in coastal risks through this multidisciplinary PhD.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever - Jacques Yves Cousteau

As the effects of sea-level rise and storm impacts become more severe, dependence on coastal protection and environmental management is intensifying. However, recent studies suggest the emergence of a counterproductive relationship between hazard defences and intensified development of housing and infrastructure that those defences are intended to protect. This phenomenon, known as the “safe development paradox”, increases risk and the potential for catastrophic damage from disaster events – especially in vulnerable coastal zones.

Under the supervision of Dr Eli Lazarus (Department of Geography and Environmental Science) and Professor Robert Nicholls (Department of Engineering and the Environment), and with the support of the Channel Coastal Observatory (CCO) and GeoData, I am exploring the dynamic relationship between coastal risk and coastal protection in the UK and abroad. My work examines the implementation of coastal hazard defences over time, and relates them to patterns in coastal development and geomorphologic change.

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