Postgraduate research project

Exploring dynamics of natural capital in coastal barrier systems

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Coastal barrier systems – environments typified by beaches, ridges, dunes, floodplains, and wetlands – provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, from flood protection and carbon sequestration to recreation and cultural heritage. Some ecosystem services may be quantified in economic terms of natural capital: resources of some estimable value to people.

This project will explore and quantify how ecosystem services – and natural capital, specifically – manifest in coastal barrier systems in the UK and elsewhere around the world. Given that there are many types of coastal barrier systems, how does their natural capital differ? Furthermore, because coastal barrier systems are inherently dynamic, changing gradually over time and suddenly with storm events, how do stocks of natural capital change with them? How are different types of ecosystem services, and stocks of natural capital, linked in space and time? Where are there trade-offs in space and time between different types of ecosystem services and stocks of natural capital?

Insight into these and other fundamental questions regarding the dynamics of ecosystem services and natural capital in coastal barrier systems is essential for most effectively supporting their sustainable management and stewardship in the context of future climate change.

For full project details visit the Inspire project page.


  • Dr Eli Lazarus (University of Southampton)
  • Professor Felix Eigenbrod (University of Southampton)
  • Nick Williams (Natural England)
  • Emma Wright (Joint Nature Conservation Committee)