Now recruiting for fully funded PhD! “Evaluating the impact of woodland management and drinking water abstraction on groundwater-fed wetlands”

Healthy, well-functioning natural wetlands are critically important, yet the world is rapidly losing these important habitats due to anthropogenic pressures (Ramsar Convention on Wetlands 2018). Located in Hampshire, Greywell Fen (also called Greywell Moors or Odiham Marsh) is a nationally important alkaline fen, which has been negatively affected by a nearby groundwater abstraction plant now operated by South East Water (SEW), and by tree encroachment. As part of its commitment to sustainability, SEW will soon cease abstraction to improve groundwater conditions in the fen.

The Loddon Observatory (University of Reading), South East Water and the British Geological Survey are offering a fully funded PhD as part of the NERC SCENARIO doctoral training programme to investigate and model the impact of habitat management and groundwater abstraction on the hydrology of the fen. It will be supervised by Joanna Clark (University of Reading), Anne Verhoef (University of Reading), David Macdonald (British Geological Survey) and Debbie Wilkinson (South East Water).

The main aims of this project are to:

  • assess the relative importance of groundwater abstraction and tree encroachment on hydrological patterns at Greywell Fen using historical and current field observations and hydrological modelling;
  • investigate the value of using non-standard datasets such as sub-daily groundwater depths and soil temperature to calibrate hydrological models in groundwater-dependent wetlands; and
  • assess the hydrological effects of a range of abstraction mitigation and vegetation management scenarios.

To address these aims examples of the varied tasks required to be undertaken by the PhD student will include:

  • thermal surveys to map high-resolution spatial patterns in groundwater seepage;
  • geophysical surveys to develop a stratigraphic model of the fen and underlying deposits;
  • development, calibration and validation of a high-resolution integrated hydrological model of the fen, using existing data recorded by SEW and data to be collected by the student; and
  • use of the model to assess the impact of a range of groundwater abstraction and habitat management scenarios.

 

 

Training opportunities:

The student will have access to the Reading Researcher Development Programme and will be able to apply to NERC-funded advanced training short courses and policy internships. The student will also receive bespoke training in hydro(geo)logical fieldwork techniques, data analysis and modelling, geophysics, and communication of environmental science, provided by UoR, BGS and SEW specialists. There will be an opportunity to undertake placement(s) and additional training at SEW’s headquarters in Snodland (Kent) and/or laboratory in Farnborough (Hampshire). The student will join the Loddon Observatory programme, as well as a cohort of 5 PhD students and over 20 researchers working on the NERC LANDWISE project (2017-2021).

How to apply:

This project is funded by the SCENARIO NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, subject to a competition to identify the strongest applicants, and by South East water. To apply, please follow the instructions on the SCENARIO website. The deadline for applications is 25 January 2019. A description of the project can be found here.
Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree, Masters Degree with Merit, or equivalent in physical geography or a closely related environmental or physical science.
Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is only open to UK students and EU students who have lived in the UK for the past three years.

For further information please contact Dr Joanna Clark (j.m.clark@reading.ac.uk) or Dr Arnaud Duranel (a.duranel@reading.ac.uk).

 

2016 Reading Internship

Following the completion of my Environmental Science degree from the University of Reading, I was keen to gain experience of working in an environmental field. I decided to apply for a Wildlife Internship (that was advertised through the Reading Internship Scheme), which involved working for the Loddon Catchment Partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Fortunately my application was successful and my internship started with a visit to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s head office in Botley where I met my line manager, Ali Morse, the trust’s water quality and catchment technical specialist. That afternoon, we participated in a website training session for the Loddon Catchment Partnership’s new website which, shortly after, became live. Preceding my official internship start date, I attended a meeting of the partnership’s steering group members which included representatives from the Environment Agency, South East Rivers Trust and Wokingham Borough Council. This allowed me to gain up-to-date knowledge of the activities (and also the organisations) involved in the Loddon Catchment and helped me to understand what was trying to be achieved.

During my internship, I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of tasks I worked on, particularly the work on the website which has involved producing news items, new webpages and the summer newsletter. Following partnership and prioritisation meetings and regular liaison with steering group members, I was able to compile a project list spreadsheet and start composing project briefs (information and details about the projects) and project ‘reviews’ (summarising which and how Water Framework Directive failures would be addressed). I had the opportunity to learn new skills such as using MapInfo Professional (GIS) which I used to produce catchment maps showing the main failures of each Water Framework Directive water body.

Knowing the significance of the work I carried out over the two months was very important to me.  This internship has given me the skills and experience of working within a partnership and catchment, which helped me to gain permanent employment.

Find out more about the Reading Internship Scheme: Information for Students and Information for Employers.

Loddon Showcase: Work from Class of 2015 for Class of 2016

We are hosting a poster networking even on the 5 October 2016 for outgoing Loddon students (Class of 2015) to share their learning with incoming students (Class of 2016).  Posters will be displayed from Loddon Catchment Consultancy and Dissertation Projects.

Location: Sorby Room, Wager Building

Time: 13:30-16:00

Drinks and refreshments will be provided.  All welcome.

Loddon Catchment Consultancy 2015-2016

Loddon Catchment Consultancy (module code GV2LCC) ran for its first year in 2015-16. Five projects were carried out for External Clients by 25 Part 2 undergraduate students from University of Reading.

Read the Executive Summaries below to find out more about the work done by our Student Consultants.

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