Seeking PhD students for wetlands project

Dr. Marinus L. Otte (Department of Biological Sciences) and Dr. Xuefeng (Michael) Chu (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA, are looking for two PhD students for a project titled:

Wetlands for reduction of sediment and nutrient loadings in impaired watersheds

Abstract: The aim of the project is to assess how much area of wetlands would be needed to reduce sediment/nutrient loads (‘loads’) to below acceptable levels in impaired watersheds in North Dakota, initially without taking any limiting factors (e.g. legal considerations, land uses, ownership) into consideration. The NDDEQ has identified several small 303(d)-listed watersheds and inclusion of wetlands for remediation has high priority. We will select some of the impaired watersheds and use existing databases and modeling to assess the efficacy of incorporating wetlands (restoration and new construction) under different scenarios into remediation. The first two years will focus on developing models, while the third year will be used to assess feasibility taking existing constraints into account. We expect that significant increases in wetland area will be needed in each watershed to obtain lower loads, as well as changes to land uses adjacent to streams and wetlands. This will provide invaluable information about incorporating wetlands into watersheds for remediation of loads in the context of the climate and landscapes of North Dakota and similar settings in the USA.

PhD student #1: will already have an MSc degree and experience with hydrologic and environmental modeling and will focus on all aspects related to model development, calibration and validation, and execution. Preferred experience: familiarity with wetlands in the USA, ArcGIS, SWAT modeling, and Fortran programming.

PhD student #2: will already have an MSc degree and experience with wetland ecology, ecosystem services, assessment and valuation, and will focus on aspects related to restoration and construction of wetlands, efficacy for retention of nutrients and sediments, assessment of modeling scenarios, such as PTMApp, as well as to other ecosystem services, such as provision of habitat and support of biodiversity, as well as stakeholders’ interests. Preferred experience: familiarity with wetlands in the USA, ArcGIS.

Funding for the Project is for three years, starting spring 2021. Both students will receive training in PTMApp and off-site delineation. Compensation: Both PhD students will be Research Assistants at about $20,000/year plus tuition waiver

Contact Information:

Dr. Marinus L. Otte: Email:; Telephone: 701-231-8708 (office)/701-526-6971 (mobile)

Dr. Xuefeng (Michael) Chu: Email:; Telephone: 701-231-9758 (office)/701-729-6119 (mobile)

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