Field of Study – Physical Geography (N 006)

A meeting of the Commission for Admission to Doctoral Studies in the Field of Physical geography science (N 006) with participation of applicants (motivational interviewing) will be held at the Conference Hall of Nature Research Centre on 13 September, 10:00 A.M. (online available too). Motivational interviewing will be conducted on the topic the applicant selected for his/her doctoral studies and thesis; applicants are recommended to deliver a 10 min duration PowerPoint presentation and give a brief review of planned research and scientific achievements. The interview and presentation will be evaluated taking into consideration the applicant’s scientific competence (publications, participation in scientific research projects and conferences), motivation in selecting the topic of the thesis, and primary methodological skills.

After the disturbance of hydrological regime, one of the relatively pristine ecosystems of Lithuania – open raised bogs are being occupied by woody vegetation. The impact of drainage is strengthened by current climate change. An assessment of raised bog vegetation state and hydrological changes has an important practical background: the conservation of unique habitats of European importance is one of the priority directions of the biodiversity protection policy of Lithuania.
As peatlands are one of the most inaccessible areas, the combination of remote sensing with in situ research is becoming an increasingly popular tool in research of these sensitive ecosystems. Therefore, using the latest data of high spatial and temporal resolution and combining them with in situ measurements, reliable conclusions can be drawn about the regularities of the development of raised bog ecosystems.
The main aim of this research is to reveal the peculiarities of the development of Lithuanian peatlands based on the research of vegetation patterns and hydrological changes.
The main objectives are: (1) Determine raised bog ecosystem types and their distribution, to identify elementary raised bog sub-basins; (2) Assess the vegetation status and its changes in raised bog ecosystem types; (3) Assess the moisture regime in raised bog ecosystem types; (4) Determine the regional regularities and prospects of raised bog development.
For implementation of Task 1 historical Landsat (since 1988) and Sentinel-2 (since 2015) data and actual Sentinel-2 data will be used. Historical maps of drainage network will be collected from the Directorate of National Parks and from the Regional Board. The collected ground-based data will be correlated with historical satellite data and actual ground-based data will be correlated with data from actual Sentinel 2 overpasses. In Task 2 spectral characteristics of raised bog ecosystem types will be used for calculations of soil-vegetation indices (from Sentinel-2). In the third task, in-situ water level measurements in different raised bog ecosystem types located in elementary raised bog sub-basins will be performed to assess the moisture regime. Raised bog water reserves expressed in terms of soil moisture, will be assessed according to Sentinel 1/2 data. Task 4 will be based on statistical analysis (factorial analysis) to assess regional patterns of interrelationships between raised bog ecosystem types and hydrological parameters.
This research should reveal the regional patterns of raised bog vegetation status and hydrological regime which would help to predict further trends of these sensitive ecosystems in the context of climate change and anthropogenic pressures.

Relevance of the theme. At the present stage of our planet’s development, the global climatic changes are intensifying hydrodynamic and coastal processes in the coastal zone of the World Ocean. Under the given conditions, the greatest dynamic changes take place within coastal barriers that occupy about 13% of the length of the World’s ocean coastline.

Coastal barriers are widespread within isolated inland sea basins (Baltic, Black and Azov Seas) that are connected with the oceans through narrow and shallow straits. The isolation of the seas determines that the sea waves and wind surge fluctuations are playing the predominant role of in the development of coastal processes. In this context the seas are classified as non-tidal differ substantially from the oceanic coastlines where tides of a planetary nature occur.

The coastal barriers of non-tidal seas have an important coastal protection and economic importance. Intensification of their development, namely the manifestation of destructive and retrograde processes can lead to their significant change and, as a consequence, to the reduction of their significance. For this reason, the defining of formation and development of non-tidal coastal barriers is an important topic of scientific research.

The purpose of the study is to determine the morphodynamic trends of coastal barriers developing in various hydrodynamic conditions in non-tidal seas.

Novelty of the subject. Separate coastal barriers of non-tidal seas have been well studied, but the analysis of the general regularities of formation and development of these coastal accumulative forms in non-tidal seas not yet has been carried out. This study will extend the theoretical base of coastal science on the formation and development of coastal accumulative forms.

Practical significance. The obtained materials will make it possible to clarify the genetic features of the barriers as well as the spatial and morphological features of their evolution. Therefore, the materials obtained can be used to determine the resistance of barriers to anthropogenic pressure, which will help to increase the recreational potential of nature conservation sites located within the studied barriers. The materials obtained in the study will allow solving the problem of post-war reclamation and restoration of coastal accumulative forms in the Black Sea and Azov Sea regions.

Research implementation perspective. The work will be based on analysis of cartographic (for the period from the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century) and remote sensing (from the 80s of the 20th century to the present day) materials, as well as field research data. Analysis of the coastal barriers of the Black and Azov Seas under martial law will be carried out using field research materials (including samples) previously collected by employees of Kherson State University. The Center for the Study of Nature has the most modern equipment for the analysis of field research materials.