Evolution and stability of the sediment regime in the Medmerry coastal realignment site
With sea-level rise a reality the sustainability of some coastal defences is now questionable and managed realignment is one of the solutions put into practice. Habitat creation is often the secondary driving factor, after flood defence, in the selection of such schemes, but the successful design and engineering for the creation of intertidal habitat is wholly dependent upon the sediment dynamics and hydraulics of the system. Little is known about the initial intertidal sediment processes occurring after a site is breached as these newly created systems are dynamic, naturally adjusting and changing in response to tidal and meteorological events as well as topographical variations.
With such a large coastline and large number of rivers and estuaries the UK is one of the countries leading the way in this method of coastal management with the largest number of managed re-alignment sites in the world. The Medmerry realignment site, the largest open coastal managed realignment project so far in the UK. Breached in September 2013 this site will be the focus of the PhD with the aim to gain an understanding into the processes occurring and implications this has for other sites as well as for the future management of the Medmerry site.
Short and longer-term variations in bed elevations will be monitored using an ALTUS system alongside water parameters using EXO multi-headed sondes. The stability of surface sediment will be assessed using a Cohesive Strength Meter (CSM). Chemical characterisation of source and depositional sites will be conducted using XRF and XRDanalysis.
This project is part of the Medmerry Managed Realignment post breach monitoring scheme and therefore the student will be expected to work closely with other organisations including the Environment Agency, RSPB and IFCA.
Applicants should have a good honours degree in an appropriate Engineering or Environmental subject. As well as a considerable amount of fieldwork, this project will generate a considerable amount of data; therefore students should enjoy the outdoors as well as being numerically strong preferably with experience of environmental data collection and analysis. Knowledge of Matlab would be a benefit.