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Physical Geography MPhil/PhD

The University of Worcester welcomes applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Physical Geography.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic research environment.

You will have the opportunity to be supervised by leading researchers in your field and take advantage of our rich Researcher Development programme which will help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to complete your research degree but also enhance the skills you will need in any future career.


Factfile

Our MPhil/PhD research degree programme offers you:

Wide variety of research interests

The Institute of Science and the Environment has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in river science, glacial geomorphology, environmental geology, GIS and remote sensing.

Excellent supervision

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.

Resources

Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state of the art library facilities. The Physical Geography team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources available to support your learning and your research project, including; field equipment including a Teledyne StreamPro Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), a 2D Flow Tracker, six Valeport Electromagnetic current meters, three portable YSI multi-parameter water quality probes, an ISCO automatic liquid sampler, Solinst water level and water temperature data loggers, Tinytag water temperature data loggers and tipping bucket logging rain gauges. Two hydrological monitoring sites on local streams (Leigh Brook and Bow Brook) continuously monitor water level and various water quality parameters (pH, temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, turbidity) with data logged every 15 minutes and accessible online via telemetry in real-time. Each site also has an ISCO automatic liquid sampler The field equipment and hydrological monitoring sites are managed and maintained by a specialist Physical Geography technician and field equipment can booked out through him.

Survey equipment includes a Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with three staff licensed with the Civil Aviation Authority to fly it in the UK, mapping and survey grade GPS, a Leica Terrestrial Laser Scanner, total stations, quickset levels and laser distance measurers.

The Institute of Science and the Environment has a fully-equipped GIS, Mapping and Visualization Suite, which provides access to high-end computers, industry-standard GIS (ArcGIS) and statistical analysis software (e.g. Primer-E, Matlab, SPSS) and other mapping and remote sensing software (e.g. ENVI and Photoscan Pro (Agisoft LLC)). This facility is run by GIS technicians, who provide advice and training to students and the suite also has its own A3 colour laser printer and A3 scanner for staff and student use. The Institute also has digital camcorders, cameras and microphones which students can use for data capture. A further six science and geography technicians offer support with field and laboratory based work.

Recent successful projects have included Dr Caroline Wallis who evaluated the Spatial Configuration and Temporal Dynamics of Hydraulic Patches in Three UK Lowland Rivers (2014), Dr Martin Wilkes who examined The Hydrodynamics of River Ecosystems: Towards an Objective and Ecologically Relevant Classification of Mesohabitat (2014), and Dr Amy Woodget who quantified Physical River Habitat Parameters Using Hyperspatial Resolution UAS Imagery and SfM-photogrammetry (2015). Some of our current research students are exploring The influence of physical habitat heterogeneity on macroinvertebrate community response to fine sediment deposition in river ecosystems (George Bunting).


How to apply

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr David Storey (d.storey@worc.ac.uk) to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.


Supervisors

Supervisors

Dr Catriona Fyffe
Expertise: influence of supraglacial debris on glacier-hydrology, glacier velocity and ablation; energy balance melt modelling; mountain river hydrometry and hydropower resource estimation.

Dr Cheryl Jones
Expertise: influence of freeze-thaw activity upon low-strength mudrocks; site investigation; geological conservation; geological tourism; Geographical Information Systems.

Dr Ian Maddock
Expertise: hydroecology; ecohydraulics; river management, river habitat assessment, the use of UAVs for river survey.

Dr Des McDougall
Expertise: reconstructing former glaciers; the impacts of paraglacial reworking and its significance for the interpretation of the geomorphological record in upland Britain.

Dr Tory Milner
Expertise: river science; hydroecology; river habitat mapping; flow regulation; the influences of fine sediment on macroinvertebrate communities; intermittent river ecology; river restoration; river and flood management; hydropower; the effect of anthropogenic activities on physical habitat heterogeneity and benthic invertebrates.

Dr Fleur Visser
Expertise: remote sensing; Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA); unmanned aerial systems (UAVs/drones); very high resolution (VHR) imagery; remote sensing of submerged vegetation; structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry; field spectroscopy; hyperspectral remote sensing; assessment of pluvial flooding; soil erosion and sediment transport; sediment budgets; floodplain geomorphology and hydrology.


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