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PhD Opportunity – Landscape Evolution of Cultural Heritage Landscapes and Anthropogenic Landforms
University of Canterbury, , New Zealand
Start reviewing process: 30 May 2024

New Zealand landscapes are continuously sculpted over time, partially erased and over-written through tectonic, climate and ecosystem dynamics, and in recent centuries have experienced Anthropogenic influences. The Anthropocene age in which we live signifies human impacts on Earth systems including landscapes, and understanding past and current processes enables forecasting of future long-term landscape evolution. Current infrastructure resilience research addresses how fast-onset hazards disrupt infrastructure and communities, however there has been little research on how landscape evolution impacts long-lived infrastructure systems, nor how this understanding may inform strategic infrastructure development. There are current assessments of climate impacts on New Zealand’s coastal heritage, but whole-of-landscape approaches would broaden understanding of landscape evolution effects on heritage sites. Holistic understanding of long-term landscape evolution processes also aligns with Indigenous concepts of and relationships with landscapes, lending justification to deep-time approaches to landscape management. This PhD research project will model spatio-temporal evolution of selected landscapes of cultural relevance to Indigenous Māori tribes. Quantitative terrain analysis will characterize modern landscapes, and CSDMS tools will model future evolution under different land use and climate scenarios. Selected landscapes will contain: a) current or proposed critical infrastructure systems; b) geological/geomorphic features of importance to Māori; c) anthropogenic/archaeological landscape features. Community engagement and local knowledge will inform study area selection. Modelling will determine conditions and timeframes that erosion and sedimentation impact infrastructure and natural/anthropogenic landscape features. Results will inform optimal strategic infrastructure development and long-term management of heritage sites and landscapes.

The ideal candidate will have excellent Python coding and Geographic Information Systems skills, be familiar with the suite of CSDMS tools, and have an interest in geovisualization including animations tailored to general audiences.

The position will remain open until filled by the best candidate. Those interested can contact Dr Matthew Hughes to discuss further:

Of interest for:
  • Terrestrial Working Group
  • Education and Knowledge Transfer (EKT) Working Group
  • Human Dimensions Focus Research Group