Estuaries are ubiquitous features along the coastline where fluvial and marine environments meet and interact at a range of temporal and spatial scales. The interaction between river inputs (discharge and sediment load) and marine processes (tides, waves, sediment transport) create dynamic sedimentary basins which can act as temporary stores and sinks of sediment.
Plastic particles may be seen as a new, anthropogenic sediment. Different types of plastics are transported at different rates. Low-density plastics are concentrated near the water surface whilst high-density plastics may be transported more slowly near the river-bed.
With vertically increasing flow velocity, low-density plastics may be transported most quickly but may be more easily trapped on floodplains as floods attenuate. Little is known about the fate of fluvially transported microplastic in estuarine environments.
This studentship will focus on modelling the transport and settling rates of microplastics in the Humber Estuary, combining high resolution flow monitoring and sampling with state of the art numerical models to understand where and when microplastics are deposited in estuarine environments under differing fluvial and marine controls.
Application deadline: Monday 17 June 2019