The PhD positions are embedded in two projects: “How flooding can save our barrier coast”, funded by Climate-KIC (www.climate-kic.org), and within the NWO-funded Building with Nature project “Rebuilding the natural integrity of barrier islands- restoration of washovers”. The projects focus on improving our understanding of the dynamics of washover systems on barrier islands to (i) increase local safety and (ii) improve ecological quality of barrier islands. The ecological part of the study will be carried by the Radboud University Nijmegen. The physical studies are carried out at Utrecht University:
PhD 1: Analysis of field data
This project focuses on the analysis of (i) physical processes during overwash events and (ii) on the analysis of the morphological evolution of washovers. You will measure waves, currents and sediment transport during storm conditions and will carefully analyse the data. This will help to identify the crucial physical processes and the data will be used to calibrate and validate process-based models. The morphology of several washovers will be monitored during a longer period of time. In addition, the decadal evolution of the washovers will reconstructed by analyzing the stratigraphy and sedimentology.
PhD 2: Modeling the evolution of washovers
The main task of this project will be to model the morphological evolution of washover systems during storms and to upscale the model results to longer time-scales. The model results will be validated against detailed process measurements of overwash conditions. Furthermore, the morphological evolution of several natural washover systems at the Dutch barrier islands will be monitored using state-of-the-art techniques. The model will be used to optimize the design of new washover systems on Dutch barrier islands. The results of both projects will be used to develop guidelines for washover restoration on barrier islands. The results will be implemented by the Dutch coastal zone management authorities. The project will therefore be carried out in close cooperation with Arcadis, Deltares, Staatsbosbeheer, Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, Vereniging van Bos- en Natuurterreineigenaren and Natuurmonumenten.
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