Exchange of Young Researchers within the THESEUS project

Qilong Bi is a young Chinese scientist, who permanently resides at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he has been working on the numerical modelling of sediment transport in Western Scheldt since last year. As a PhD student partially financed by the THESEUS project, he expressed his gratitude to the project and the university for providing him such a valuable opportunity.

He said: “I’m very lucky to be involved in the THESEUS project and have the opportunity to work with many experts. I have learned a lot from them, especially from my supervisor Prof. Erik Toorman and Prof. Jaak Monbaliu. Being part of the THESEUS project is providing me with precious learning and research experiences, from which I will continuously benefit as time goes on.
Our research focuses on the development of a new methodology for dealing with low-Reynolds effects near the bottom when sediment concentration is high. With the great help of Prof. Toorman, a new bed roughness model based on his Generalized Mixing Length (GML) theory, which can extend its validity into the low-Reynolds layer down to the bottom, has been implemented into our 3D model. This new model has brought several improvements, one of which is that the inundation threshold now can be reduced to the roughness height so the mass balance has been well preserved. Through the analysis of experimental data, this new bed roundness model is extendable to high-concentration effect. Another improvement is the more realistic bed shear stress computation in the shallow water. In order to make this new methodology complete, a new low-Reynolds turbulence model also has been developed and is now being tested.”

Newsletter4 picture phd student

Loreta Cornacchia is an Italian Master student from La Sapienza - University of Rome, who is carrying out her Master thesis in the framework of the THESEUS Project at ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Taramelli. Currently she is spending two months at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven to study the spatio-temporal dynamics of channelled salt marshes and vegetation patterns in the Western Scheldt through Remote Sensing techniques.

She said: “I would like to sincerely thank the THESEUS Project, Prof. Jaak Monbaliu and Prof. Koen Sabbe for hosting me and giving me the opportunity to carry out field surveys and a satellite overpass on the salt marshes in the Scheldt estuary. Their kind assistance and support will be of great help in the success of the field campaign and of my whole thesis work. I would also like to thank all the people in the Hydraulics Section for already making me feel like part of the group.
I address sincere thanks to Dr. Andrea Taramelli, Dr. Emiliana Valentini and the whole Remote Sensing group in ISPRA for their support and the precious opportunity to be a part of this project and to improve my knowledge on the dynamics of a cohesive estuary, such as the Western Scheldt, as opposed to non-cohesive test sites in the Italian Lazio coast. This will further improve my education and be a great contribution to the successful completion of my research thesis.
I’m sure this experience will be a great chance of both personal and educational growth. I will have the opportunity to learn more about the complex dynamics of coastal wetlands and interact with students and researchers from all over the world.”

Article by Qilong Bi  and Loreta Cornacchia