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CDT-SIS-159: The influence of hydrodynamics on the collective behaviour of fish: an ecohydraulics approach to mitigating environmental impacts of water and energy infrastructure

Engineering & the Environment

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Saturday 03 February 2018
Reference:  835917F2

Project Reference: CDT-SIS-160

Ecohydraulics sits at the interface of ecology and hydraulic engineering. Mitigating the negative environmental impacts of water and energy infrastructure (e.g. hydroelectric dams) through the development of effective technology, such as screens and fish passes that block fish from entering turbine intakes and diverting them to alternative routes of passage, represents a classic ecohydraulics challenge. Unfortunately, current mitigation technology has been found unfit for purpose for several species of fish in many regions of the world. There are several potential explanations for the lower than expected efficiencies observed, including a lack of consideration of fish behaviour, particularly for those species that migrate as collective groups (schools and shoals). To address this gap, this project will return to fundamental first principles and explore how the behaviour of shoaling groups of fish is influenced by hydraulic conditions commonly encountered at river infrastructure, such as fish passes and screens. The information obtained will form the foundations for design criteria that may be used to improve current fish passage and screening solutions.

The successful candidate will work as part of a team of ecohydraulicists with backgrounds in fish biology and engineering and use state-of-the-art experimental flume infrastructure and associated apparatus to quantify fish response to flow structures. Due to the nature of the project an appropriate candidate should be driven by innate curiosity and be willing to work at an interdisciplinary boundary. He or she may have a first degree in either a biological sciences related subject or engineering / physics and be able to learn new skills and techniques.

Applications for this PhD research project are accepted on a rolling basis and we therefore advise you to apply early if you are interested. To make your application please go to:

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Professor Paul Kemp, International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research (, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5871.

This project is being run in participation with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems ( For details of our 4 Year PhD programme and further projects, please see

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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