Postdoc in ecological visualization of river restoration


ETH Zurich


Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Start Date

Monday, January 1, 2024

Project background

Many European rivers have suboptimal light and temperature regimes causing negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Streams in intensive agricultural landscapes have too much daylight, while urban streams are often built over and have no daylight. In both cases, restoration is needed to recover optimal daylight regimes with positive outcomes for aquatic vegetation and riverine woodlands. Strong implementation barriers include conflicting land interests and differing perceptions of restoration goals. Conflicts might be resolved using AI-derived visualization tools to convey alternative daylight restoration strategies and ecological outcomes. Working with partners in Scotland and Switzerland, the aim of this project is to map restoration potential, identify obstacles, devise ecological scenarios for different daylight regimes, and eventually develop and test an adaptive tool to visualize daylight changes in restored streams combining drone imagery and AI-based image processing. This tool aims to facilitate negotiated restoration strategies across conflicted interest groups.

Job description

The postdoc will develop and test ecologically-based visualization tools for river restoration outcomes using methods from computer vision (ML techniques e.g., stable diffusion), urban and landscape design, and ecological engineering. The tools should be designed to guide and inform stakeholder engagement processes around river restoration interventions and expected outcomes. The project will therefore include interdisciplinary scientific input across domains of hydrology, ecology, and spatial planning, as well as engagement with NGOs, governmental agencies and local stakeholders. The position will also require co-supervision of BSc and MSc student research within the frame of the project.

It is important to note that the position is based in Switzerland, but will also require extended periods of time in Scotland for field work.