MSc Studentship

MSc Studentship

Satellite remote sensing as a tool for habitat mapping and subsidence measurement in raised bogs.

Following the award of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) MSc studentship, the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre and Geography Department within University College Cork are seeking to appoint a suitably qualified applicant for a masters studentship for two years commencing on or near 1st October 2008. The studentship covers university fees at the EU level, and an annual stipend of €14,000.

Boglands, comprising raised bogs, blanket bogs and fenlands, are a significant land cover type in Ireland  occupying up to 17% of the land area. They store large quantities of carbon in peat deposits and are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. There is a need to identify those peatlands which are vulnerable, and to propose management strategies to protect them. Part of this process involves being able to monitor species distribution and habitats on an on-going and long term basis. One of the primary drivers for changes in peatlands under climate change is hydrological and drying out or saturation may affect both species distribution and bog stability.

The project will explore the utility of high spatial resolution, multispectral optical and SAR satellite data to map the habitat distribution and vertical expansion/contraction and stability of raised bogs. Methods to characterise habitat distribution include the investigation and classification of the combined multispectral optical and SAR data. Advanced supervised classification techniques will be explored using both hard and soft/fuzzy classifiers in attempting to classify peatland species and habitats.  Interferometric techniques, using a time series of C-band and L-band SAR images, will be used to determine the feasibility of identifying and quantifying centimetre level vertical displacements within the bog.

The student will join the geomatics team within the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre where a number of remote sensing projects are underway, but will also have the opportunity to work with researchers  in the Earth Observation and Visualisation Research Cluster of the Geography Department .

Applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in an Earth Science or relevant Engineering discipline.  Knowledge of the fundamental concepts of Remote Sensing including SAR is also required.  Basic skills in using image processing software and in undertaking fieldwork as well as an appreciation of the issues surrounding land cover would be an advantage. A clean driving license is also desirable.

For further information or informal discussion about the position please contact the supervisor Dr Ned Dwyer (e-mail: , telephone: +353 (0)21 470 3104).

Applicants should send a copy of their CV, with the names and addresses of 3 referees, plus a brief statement outlining their academic interests and their reasons for wishing to undertake this research project to Ned Dwyer (

Closing date for applications is 4pm Friday 25th July 2008.

University College Cork is an equal opportunities employer

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