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Improvement and applicability of sediment tracing techniques for evaluating littoral transport : case studies in the mediterranean


Accurate and reliable measures of sediment transport rates in the coastal zone are necessary both to develop better predictive tools for sediment motion and to quantify transport algorithms used in coastal engineering applications. The fluorescent tracer technique is known to be applicable in various environments and to provide a good estimation of the littoral sediment transport rate. However, the methodology currently applied is time-consuming, and the interpretation of the results is still mostly empirical.

Hence, objectives of this project are:
1. To design and implement a qualitative and quantitative field technique based on the fluorescent tracer theory, easily applicable, and appropriate to different coastal environments. Resources will be dedicated to the development of a submergible detector for identifying the fluorescent tracer;
2. To perform accuracy testing of the tracer methodology for a broad range of energetic conditions, including storm events that are known to be the main driving factors for coastal erosion;
3. To improve current knowledge on coastal transport processes. Particular attention will focus on the vertical variability of sediment transport in relation with various forcing factors (e.g. wave-current-interaction, ratio between bed load/suspended load, swash zone processes);
4. The technique will be developed using the site at Lido di Dante as a natural laboratory, then be applied to various sites in the Mediterranean to study the validity of the method in different environments, with comparable energy levels.

The applicant will receive the following training:
Learning field surveys and numerical modelling of sediment transport;
- Integrating knowledge of coastal processes with coastal management requirements;
- Training in coastal physical processes quantification, understanding and modelling approaches;
- Broadening the applicant' s scientific ability working in a multidisciplinary group and multinational group with background spacing from geomorphology, oceanography, engineering, coastal management. The host group's researchers are devoted to understand coastal processes and their impact on the evolution of the coastline. Within global coastal monitoring approach, the effort of understanding the role of littoral sediment transport will be enhanced by having the applicant Yann Balouin as a team member of the research group. Indeed, his good experience in beach and tidal inlets processes will add a necessary expertise. he is clearly productive (4 papers among which 2 are already published). Having a good knowledge of data management, processing and analyses, he will strongly benefit from the acquisition of news skills in sediment transport experimentation and modelling. In short, the applicant and the host groups are extremely well matched.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Corso Ercole I D'este, 32
44100 Ferrara