Numerical modelization of the physics of wetlands

  • Overview:
    Wetlands (i.e., marshes, bogs, and swamps) “are lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water” [8].
    There is hence a whole spectrum of diverse types of wetlands, and it explains why modelizing a wetland is such a challenge. But they are known to be key in protecting the biodiversity: they provide shelters for plants and species, where breeding, and feeding occur [8]. Wetlands also have an immense value in flood protection and pollution control [4,6]. There is, consequently, a crucial need for understanding better the wetlands.

    The project
    The project will consist of creating a numerical model of a wetland. It will be solved using standard FEA techniques and software (ansys/fluent, openfoam, etc.). In particular, it will allow to quantify the hydraulic performance of the wetland, and possibly to derive an ad hoc model. It will be fitted and compared to the available experimental data. Validation of the model will be carried out.
    In addition to this, the porosity of the plants as a medium will be investigated. The influence of various parameters will be quantified, including for example the inclination of plants with respect to the time of the year, the variation in the water velocity due to different flow regimes, and the wind interference. It will be carried out using uncertainty quantification techniques, such as chaos expansion or Sobol analysis, or by fitting the model on the data, using Bayesian techniques.
    In order to validate the model, on site experimental field work may be arranged to obtain new datasets if required. The work is of high interest and importance to the Environmentalists, Water Authorities & Councils, Regulators, Modellers, Wetland Designers, and other relevant stakeholders.

    Person specification
    A valid English language qualification, such as International English Language Test System (Academic IELTS) or equivalent with an overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0, must be submitted with your application.
    MSc or equivalent professional or research experience in remote sensing, fluid mechanics, civil engineering, Computing and computational computing or closely related fields and have knowledge of environmental science and data processing.

    [1] Ioannidou, V.G. & Pearson, J.M. (2018). ‘Hydraulic & Design Parameters in Full-Scale Constructed Wetland & Treatment Units: Six Case Studies’. Environmental Processes.
    [2] Kjellin, J, Wörman, A, Johansson, H, & Lindahl, A. (2007). Controlling factors for water residence time and flow patterns in Ekeby treatment wetland, Sweden. Advances in Water Resources, 30(4), 838-850.
    [3] Min, J. H. & Wise, R. W., (2009). Simulating short-circuiting flow in a constructed wetland: the implications of bathymetry and vegetation effects. Hydrological Processes, 23, 830-841.
    [4] Nepf, H.M. (2012a). Flow and transport in regions with aquatic vegetation. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 44, 123-142.
    [5] Shucksmith, J. D. (2008). Impact of vegetation in open channels on flow resistance and solute mixing. PhD Thesis. Sheffield.
    [6] Somes, N.L.G., Persson, J. & Wong, T.H.F. (1998). Influence of Wetland Design Parameters on the Hydrodynamics of Stormwater Wetlands. Hydrastorm, Adelaide, 27-30 September, 1998, 123-128.
    [7] Stovin, V.R., Grimm, J.P, & Lau, S.D (2008). Solute Transport Modeling for Urban Drainage Structures. ASCE, 134(8).
    [8] Cowardin, L.M., Carter, V., Golet, F.C. and LaRoe, E.T., 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service.

    How to apply
    The closing date for applications is 23.59 on Friday 28th June 2019.
    To apply, please complete the project proposal form and then complete the online application where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement.
    You can find further details on studying for a PhD and details of how to apply here –
    Reference: CEBE-NUMMOD

    The successful candidate will be supported by an interdisciplinary research team, consisting, in particular, of Dr Vasiliki Ioannidou ( and Dr Florimond Gueniat ( For further information please contact the Director of Studies, Prof Wenyan Wu,

    Funding notes
    The opportunity is open to Home, EU and International applicants who meet the required Birmingham City University eligibility criteria. The PhD studentship includes a full stipend, paid for a period of 3 years at RCUK rates (in 2019/20 this is £15,009 pa) and fees at Home/EU rate. This studentship is available for September 2019 start and no later than February 2020. International applicants are eligible to apply for this studentship but must meet the shortfall on fees between Home/EU and International rate.

  • Duration: 36 Months