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CCRU PhD topics 2018

CCRU PhD topics 2018

Vulnerability and adaptive capacity in Indo-Pacific mangrove forests

Lead supervisor: Tom Spencer, with Mike Bithell

A recent regional study of surface elevation gains in Indo-Pacific / Australasian mangrove forests showed that a majority of sites are suffering from 'elevation gain deficit', being supplied with insufficient sediment to meet current rates of sea level rise. Within this context, what is the adaptive capacity of individuals, households and communities to the threats posed to mangrove fisheries by global environmental change in the Indo-Pacific region? With funding from the Nereus Program and in consultation with regional partners, we envisage the selection of 2-3 study sites in the western Indo-Pacific / Australasian region to evaluate the scenario modelling of mangrove forest futures in terms of their implications for mangrove fisheries. One site is likely to be in southern Thailand. A mixed methods approach, employing surveys and interviews, will be used to examine the multiple dimensions of adaptive capacity in these fishing communities. The project will recommend different interventions for addressing the adaptive capacity gaps that the communities may possess in relation to the various environmental, economic, and climatic changes occurring now and into the near-future.

Further details: contact Professor Tom Spencer.

Building with Nature: the role of bio-physical linkages within coastal wetland restoration (Priority project with CASE partner)

Lead supervisor: Iris Möller; second supervisor: Tom Spencer

This project will address bio-physical interactions that control transitions from depositional to erosive process regimes, i.e. when hydrodynamic energy thresholds become exceeded such that hydrodynamic forcing leads to the initiation of erosion of cohesive coastal sediments in and around biological structures, such as salt marsh plants and crab burrows. Following on from a large scale wave exposure experiment to be conducted in the large wave flume facility in Hannover, Germany in the summer of 2018, the project will build on this study through conducting a series of smaller scale flume experiments in the laboratory in Cambridge. The relative importance of sediment characteristics and type of UK salt marsh plant species on the erosion thresholds under a range of tidal flow velocities within a salt-water flume will be investigated and used to improve existing morphodynamic models

See further details.

Mind the gap: exploiting satellite technology for coastal climate change adaptation in the data-poor 'gap' of intertidal zones

Lead supervisor: Iris Möller, with Geoff Smith (Spectro Natura) and Tom Spencer

The possibility of using high frequency monitoring of intertidal coastal areas through the new satellite systems now available offers unprecedented opportunities to gain insights into both the complexity of existing and potential future (managed realignment) intertidal coastal surfaces and their change over a range of time scales. The project aims to develop a remote-sensing based 'INtertidal REsponse Model' (INREM) to understand/simulate coastal dynamics in response to human/climate drivers. This will be achieved by using remote sensing products at high spatial and temporal resolution alongside existing field data to inform the science of biological and physical processes and their interaction within intertidal zones. Results will provide a better understanding of the dynamics of such environments, how they deliver ecosystem services and reduce coastal flood and erosion risk

See further details.