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Vacancy position for a PhD - Univ Antwerp (Belgium)
Friday, 05 April 2013 06:08


The University of Antwerpen (Belgium) has a vacancy for a PhD grant in the domain of estuarine geomorphology and ecology:

The department of Biology of the Faculty of Sciences has a vacancy for the following full-time position (m/f):

PhD grant – Developing tools for design, evaluation and adaptive management of marsh restoration projects


This research project is carried out within the Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) of the University of Antwerpen. ECOBE is involved in both fundamental and applied research on ecological, biogeochemical and geomorphological processes in rivers and estuaries. This project is in collaboration with several Flemish universities within the framework of OMES, a monitoring program that investigates the environmental impact of the Sigma plan, a flood control plan for the Schelde estuary (Belgium).

The Schelde estuary, like many estuaries, faces important challenges including protection against inundations by storm surges, maintaining the accessibility to the ports, and meanwhile improving the ecological functioning. In order to comply to environmental legislation such as the EU bird and habitat directive and the EU Water Framework directory, ecological restoration measures are planned and implemented in combination with a flood protection plan (Sigma plan). Within the Sigma plan, flood control areas (FCA) with a controlled reduced tide (CRT) are foreseen. This new FCA-CRT technique was developed by the Universiteit Antwerpen and tested on a pilot scale (10 ha) in Lippenbroek. Now this technique will be implemented soon on a large scale (many 100s ha) in Flanders.

The intensive Lippenbroek monitoring project was set up to follow up the development of the FCA-CRT system, both in terms of physical processes (tidal flow, erosion, sedimentation, geomorphological development) and ecological processes (vegetation development, benthic fauna, avifauna, nutrient exchange,...). The initial transformation of a former polder area into a marsh is well described now. But how will it evolve on a longer term? Can we extrapolate the Lippenbroek results to other sites that are much larger, have different tidal characteristics and different water quality (e.g. salinity)?  The OMES project aims at developing tools for the design, the evaluation and adaptive management of FCA-CRTs.  It will put a strong emphasis on the ecosystem goods and services delivered by these areas and the sustainable management of it.

The work will consist of fieldwork on the geomorphological and ecological development in specific restoration projects, as well as the analysis of large datasets through modelling. Starting from existing modelling approaches, a model will be developed and evaluated against the datasets in order to simulate the eco-geomorphological development of marsh restoration projects, under the influence of different management scenarios, such as different tidal flooding regimes. Such a model must support decisions for the design of future marsh restoration projects.


Description of the position:

  • You prepare a PhD dissertation on the above described subject.
  • You publish research results in international scientific journals.
  • You work in close collaboration with scientists of the research group ECOBE
  • You conduct applied research within the frame of OMES and MONEOS

Your profile:

  • You have a Master degree in Bio-Engineering, Geography, Geology or Biology
  • Preferentially you have experience or interest in ecology and geomorphology of aquatic or estuarine ecosystems
  • Preferentially you have experience or interest in modelling of landscape development (ecology and geomorphology) through the use of spatial models and statistical analysis of datasets
  • You have a communicative and enterprising attitude. This is a multidisciplinary project in which information and knowledge has to be combined from different disciplines.

Our offer:

  • A fascinating and versatile research and PhD project in a dynamic research group.
  • A contract for 1 year, with possible extension with 3 years
  • You can start immediately.
  • Additional training and education possibilities (e.g. PhD training).
  • Regular participation to international conferences.

How can you apply:

  • You can apply until 30 April 2013.
  • Send you curriculum vitae en application letter to Prof Dr P. Meire ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Describe in your application letter briefly (max. 250 words) your previous knowledge and your motivation.

For more information on the scientific content, you can contact Prof. P. Meire – University of Antwerpen ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +32 3265 22 64), Prof. S. Temmerman ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +32 3265 23 13)  or Ir Tom Maris ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +32 3 265 2263).



Dr Stijn Temmerman

University Antwerpen - Ecosystem Management research group (ECOBE)


Contact details: www.ua.ac.be/stijn.temmerman

Research group: www.ua.ac.be/ecobe


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