Postgraduate research opportunities Vegetation-based climate change adaptation measures for earth infrastructure

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Key facts

  • Opens: Wednesday 20 September 2023
  • Deadline: Friday 15 March 2024
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend

Overview

Vegetation mediates the soil-atmosphere interaction and can therefore be engineered to be turned into a nature-based adaptation measure. Water uptake by transpiration occurs through the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum (SPAC). This project explores possible manipulation of the in-series components of the SPAC to correct the water exchange between the soil and the atmosphere and potentially mitigate the effect of climate change.
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Eligibility

First class, or strong upper second class, honours degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, Forestry & Arboriculture, Plant Biology, Soil Science, or other relevant discipline.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

The hydraulic behaviour of the root zone and water uptake due to transpiration are controlled by coupled interactions between biotic (e.g., physiological and anatomical plant traits, root architecture, saprophytic and symbiotic microbial communities) and abiotic factors (e.g., soil water chemistry, nutrients, soil water content and suction, solar radiation, air relative humidity). Understanding the ‘geotechnical’ impact of these factors is key to envisage biotic and abiotic manipulation of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum to mitigate landslide hazard. This PhD project can be developed along different lines all relevant to the development of nature-based mitigation measures for earth infrastructure subjected to climatic hazard. We welcome inputs from different backgrounds including geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and plant science. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Effect of temporary water stress conditions on transpiration-induced water uptake
  • Effect of soil bacterial community on transpiration-and hydraulic behaviour of the root zone
  • Effect of mycorrhizal community on transpiration-and hydraulic behaviour of the root zone
  • Effect of leaf anatomical traits on stomatal response and transpiration in the water-limited regime
  • Effect of root architecture on stomatal response and transpiration in the water-limited regime
  • Effect of root exudates on the hydraulic behaviour of the root zone

Further information

Only UK citizens or EU citizens with pre-settled or settled status are eligible. Please, note that we would not reply to candidates not meeting this eligibility criterion.

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Funding details

Stipend amounts to ~£1500/month before taxes

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Supervisors

Professor Alessandro Tarantino

Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Dr Grainne El Mountassir

Reader
Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Number of places: 1

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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Programme: Civil and Environmental Engineering

PhD
full-time
Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

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Contact us

For further details contact Prof. Alessandro Tarantino, alessandro.tarantino@strath.ac.uk.