MSc Thesis Topics Soil Geography & Landscape

If you consider doing your MSc thesis with the Soil Geography & Landscape group, please make an appointment with the MSc thesis coordinator Jakob Wallinga. This document serves as a first orientation prior to meeting the coordinator.

> MSc thesis topics

At the Soil Geography and Landscape group we offer a list of MSc thesis topics. However, we also encourage you to design your own thesis topic together with your supervisor of choice.  To provide some inspiration, we present a general description of a thesis for each of the three suggested learning paths of the Soil Geography and Earth Surface Dynamics specialisation:

Thesis Soil Geography and Data Science

You will work with data and related models that have a spatial and/or temporal component and are usually soil or landscape related. Examples of thesis topics are conventional and digital soil mapping, statistical validation of soil maps,   remote and proximal sensing, soil monitoring and spatial sampling design, pedotransfer functions, big data applications, urban soils, machine learning and spatial interpolation.  Potential supervisors include (along with field of expertiese in this context): GBM (Gerard) Heuvelink Mathematical and statistical techniques
dr. A (Annegret) Larsen Biota, humans and fire on earth-surface-processes VL (Titia) Mulder Remote sensing; spatial, temporal and soil-landscape modelling JJ (Jetse) Stoorvogel Soil-land use interactions
dr. V (Slava) Vasenev IoT technologies and remote sensing to monitor urban soils and green infrastructure

and Philip Minderhoud

Thesis Earth Surface Dynamics

You will investigate changes at the earth surface, resulting from natural and/or human influences. Subjects include erosion and sedimentation, archaeology,  urban soils, land subsidence in deltas, bog developments.  Your project will often include fieldwork and mapping, followed by laboratory work (e.g. luminescence dating) and analysis, or modelling (e.g. landscape evolution modelling using LAPSUS).  Potential supervisors include (along with field of expertiese in this context):  

dr. R (Roy) van Beek Relations between human and landscape in prehistory and early history; heritage management
dr. JHJ (Jasper) Candel Fluvial geomorphology, river restoration
dr. EL (Liz) Chamberlain Marine sedimentology and particularly research dealing with fine-grained marine and estuarine sediments; OSL dating
dr. A (Annegret) Larsen Sediment erosion and transfer in the landscape
dr. IM (Ingrid) Lubbers Soil biota, ecosystem services
dr. A (Bart) Makaske Geography, Geology, Soil sciences, Geological sedimentation, Deltas, Rivers, Geomorphology, Physical geography
dr. JM (Jeroen) Schoorl Lapsus: dynamic landscape evolution model
dr. V (Slava) Vasenev Urban soils; soils and green infrastructure
prof.dr. J (Jakob) Wallinga Dynamics of soils and landscapes; development OSL dating

and Philip Minderhoud

Thesis Sustainable Land Use

You will investigate nature-based solution approaches for sustainable land-use. Subjects include: multi-functional land evaluation, soil and landscape resilience, soil biodiversity, rewilding, agriculture, wildfires, and carbon sequestration. With all those topics, the focus is primary on landscape scale, and research topic usually include interactions and feedbacks of natural processes and human/societal actors. Typically a thesis includes fieldwork, and perhaps also interviewing stakeholders, followed by data analysis.  Potential supervisors include (along with field of expertiese in this context):

dr. JHJ (Jasper) Candel River restauration
dr. A (Annegret) Larsen Soil and landscape resiliance
dr. IM (Ingrid) Lubbers Soil biodiversity VL (Titia) Mulder Soil carbon dynamics, ecosystem dynamics, and climate change adaptation CR (Cathelijne) Stoof Impacts of human and natural disturbances on soils, water and landscapes
dr. JM (Jeroen) Schoorl Erosion JJ (Jetse) Stoorvogel Soil fertility management, tropical soil related diseases
prof.dr. J (Jakob) Wallinga Ecosystem services on landscape level

and Philip Minderhoud.

> Thesis examples

Verplak, Menno (2019) River management and its morphological consequences : influence of river management on river morphology of the Overijsselse Vecht between AD 1750-1900

Vornehm, Viktoria (2018) Quantifying soil redistribution rates in an agricultural lowland kettle hole in north-eastern Germany by using OSL dating

Peter Aartsma (2016, soil formation, pro-glacial areas, climate change, Italian Alps)

> Watch SGL topics in action:

Fieldwork in France 2015 (Anna Broers, Tijn van Orsouw)

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Fieldwork in Kenya 2014 (Renee van Dongen)

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Fieldwork Archeology and Soil Science (Maud van Soest)

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