Doctoral position on ’Ethohydraulics of small fish in streams’

     

Employer

Published5 May 2017
WorkplaceZurich, Zurich region, Switzerland
CategoryEnvironment / Sustainable Development
PositionJunior Researcher / PhD Position

Description

The Institute of Environmental Engineering (IfU) together with the Laboratory for Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), both in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich, are seeking a dynamic and motivated doctoral student for a project on the ethohydraulics of small riverine fish.

Fish, often in close association with communities of small benthic invertebrates, are particularly affected by one of the major anthropogenic impacts in streams, namely the release of water from hydroelectric power plants (hydropeaking). These release events generate high flow conditions and in some cases altered temperature conditions (thermopeaking), and can lead to drift of individuals in the surge, habitat fragmentation or stranding. The fate of small fish depends on the disturbance profile and the local habitat complexity (e.g. the presence of refugia and niches). Yet our understanding of the physiological and behavioral responses of fish communities to these flow and water quality disturbances remains poor, making it difficult to devise predictive models and to develop and implement adequate regulation. This project will focus on laboratory experiments in a large hydraulic flume. The research will involve setting up and running flume experiments; establishing, maintaining and using fish in experiments; and performing cutting-edge measurements (fluid velocity measurements, dynamic imaging of fish behavior, image analysis). The broad goal of the PhD is to gain insight into the passive transport and active behavior of small fish during hydropeaking and thermopeaking events.

The successful candidate will have a strong engineering background and a desire to work experimentally at the interface between hydraulics and ecology. The project will be jointly supervised by the groups of Prof. Roman Stocker, Prof. Robert Boes and Prof. Markus Holzner.

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