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Reconstructing geoecological changes in floodplains

KU Leuven University

1 or 2 semesters

Project description

Many rivers in NW Europe have undergone important changes through the Holocene period. Due to human impact such as deforestation and agricultural activities, sediment deposition in floodplains increased. As a consequence, the geomorphology and ecology of the floodplains changed. It can be expected that future climate and land cover change may further alter floodplain geoecology. In order to anticipate future floodplain dynamics, reconstructions of past changes in floodplain geomorphology and ecology for a variety of floodplain environments is needed. For this project, we are looking for students that actively participate in reconstructing the geomorphological and ecological changes of floodplains in Flanders. The research project includes fieldwork (hand corings, topographic surveying), lab-analyses (pollen extraction) and microscope work (pollen counting). Statistical analysis of pollen data and comparison with other records will enable to quantify past human impact.

The project is also open for recently graduated undergraduate students and for graduate students.

The project is available in the Fall and Spring semester.

Number of places available: 2 per semester.

Pre requisites

  • General introduction in (fluvial) geomorphology and ecology.
  • Experience with palynology (pollen extraction, counting) is a major advantage.

Faculty Department

Faculty of Sciences / Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The main mission of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is to carry out state-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the functioning of geo- and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction between humans and the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources. The department aims at providing attractive academic training at an international level in the fields of Bio-engineering, Geology, Geography and Tourism. The department aims at making an important contribution to the scientific understanding of societal issues such as environmental pollution, food production, climate change, nature and landscape management, soil and water management, exploitation of underground resources, rural and urban development, international development collaboration and tourism.

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