PhD Studentship: A High Temporal Resolution Study of Sediment Deposition At River Mouths Using Persistently Present Autonomous Surface Vehicles - SMMI-LTDS Understanding Maritime Futures

University of Southampton

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Location:

United Kingdom


Position type:

Full time

09 Jan 2017
13 Feb 2017

Full details:

Reference number: SOU-824117AT

PhD Studentship: A High Temporal Resolution Study of Sediment Deposition At River Mouths Using Persistently Present Autonomous Surface Vehicles - SMMI-LTDS Understanding Maritime Futures

Fluid Structure Interactions Group

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 13 February 2017

Reference: 824117AT

Project Reference: CMEES-FSI-132

The transport of organic and inorganic sediments by rivers is a fundamental process that sustains coastal ecosystems. While it is generally agreed that events such as heavy rain and snow melt have a large influence on the amount of river sediments deposited into the ocean, conventional survey methods do not have sufficient spatial or temporal resolution to study the effects of specific events.

This project will develop a method to perform high- resolution observations of sedimentation at river-mouths using an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) instrumented with a bathymetric sonar. The relevant engineering challenges include the development of accurate navigation, localisation and control in dynamically changing environments to perform reliable and repeatable observations. Methods to process high-resolution seafloor topographic measurements will also be developed. The workflows developed in this project will help build a unique dataset that has a sufficient footprint and temporal resolution to allow changes in local seafloor topography to be quantitatively assessed and correlated to data regarding rises in river levels. The use of low-cost autonomous systems with a sustained presence and efficient data processing workflows is expected to make significant inroads into the use USVs as a platform for scalable scientific observations of coastal environments.

Successful candidates should possess a 1st Class Masters-level or equivalent qualification and be willing to engage in cross- disciplinary research. The project is ideally suitable for a candidate with an engineering background who is familiar with programming. In this project, the student will participate in regular field work, operate a state-of-the-art USV and handle data of sufficient quality for scientific interrogation. The student will participate in the SMMI Maritime Futures LTDS Cohort Training Programme, present at least one research paper in the Lloyds Register-SMMI Seminar Series and will be expected to produce at least one journal quality paper. They will be required to undertake the FEE Faculty research student training programme. The candidate will receive the following specific training

• Study the fundamental processes related to sediment transport and coastal deposition.

• Use of GIS packages and scripting languages to automate the various stages of data processing.

• Programming skills to integrate a multibeam sensor on the ASV system.

• Operation of the ASV platforms.

This is a fully funded PhD at standard UK/EU fees rates with stipend. Candidates must apply via the University application procedure using: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page.

Shortlisting of candidates will take place in February 2017. Interviews will be held in March 2017.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Jon Downes, Fluid Structure Interactions group, Email: jon.downes@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4654.

Further details:

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