Modelling long-term C-dynamics in floodplain environments
Last modification : Friday, September 9, 2022
We are looking for a Phd student to join our research group at the Division of
Geography and Tourism within the department of Earth and Environmental
Sciences at KU Leuven to work on modelling C-dynamics in floodplain
environments. You will work on the Belgian Science Policy funded project
‘RECARBON' in partnership between KU Leuven, U Liège, the Institute for Nature
and Forest Research and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. You will
closely collaborate with another PhD student and scientific staff members
recruited on this project by the partner institutes.
Enhancing the natural carbon sink is an integral part of climate mitigation.
Amongst terrestrial ecosystems, fluvial systems are important carbon stocks,
and floodplain soils are – especially in a Belgian context – hotspots for
carbon storage at millennial timescales. However, due to climate change and
changing land use practices (including drainage, vegetation changes and
urbanization, both local and in the catchment), these carbon stocks are under
pressure and floodplains might change to net carbon sources, in particular
because alluvial peatlands, often buried under mineral sediment, tend to
degrade. Within the RECARBON project it is aimed to evaluate the potential of
land use management practices within floodplains in general, and in Belgium in
particular, as a climate mitigation tool through the capture and storage of
carbon. This project combines a detailed insight in the present-day
characteristics of carbon storage in floodplains with the dynamic nature of C
in floodplain environments at different timescales.
Within the framework of this particular PhD project, the net carbon storage at
different timescales in dynamic fluvial environments will be simulated by
combining hydrological, geomorphic and geochemical carbon models. The
modelling approach will allow to test the sensitivity of carbon storage in
wetlands to changes in land use practices (both local as in the entire
catchment) and climate, and will allow us to identify best land use practices
to increase the carbon stocks of floodplains and to sustain habitability in
river valleys. Modelling approaches will be calibrated and validated with
information on C quantity and quality that will be derived from field
To have a Master degree in Geography, Geology, Ecology, Earth - or
Environmental Science, or related disciplines;
To have expertise in geomorphology and/or biogeochemical cycling;
To have experience in computational programming;
To have demonstrated verbal and written communication skills in English;
To have interest in working in a multidisciplinary team environment;
To have experience with field work and willing to participate in field
campaigns that involve soil sampling.
Ideal start time is December 1st 2022, but later starting dates can be
The PhD scholarship position is initially for one year but can be extended
after positive evaluation up to a total duration of four years.
Research is carried out at KU Leuven and partly at U Liège. A joint Phd
degree between KU Leuven and U Liège is envisaged.
The candidate is expected to take up a limited amount (approx. 10% of the
time) of teaching activities at KU Leuven.
The remuneration is generous and is in line with the standard KU Leuven
PhD scholarship rates. It consists of a net monthly salary of about 2100
Euro (in case of dependent children or spouse, the amount can be somewhat
You can apply for this job no later than Monday 3 October 2022 via the online
application tool only (applications by email are not considered).
Please include: a) an academic CV and a PDF of your diplomas and transcript
of course work and grades b) a statement of research interests and career
goals, indicating why you are interested in this position c) a list of at
least two references: names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
Interviews take place Monday 17 October, at KU Leuven or online. Shortlisted
candidates will be notified on Friday 7 October.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Gert Verstraeten, tel.: +32 16
32 64 11, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish,
regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If
you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us