Mediterranean wetlands are considered as one of the richest ecosystems in terms of biodiversity and services provided to the society. However, they are also among the most threatened ones by global changes and these human pressures will most probably highly increase in the coming decades. In this context, the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (MWO) was created in 2008 in order to implement a scientific and technical tool for wetlands monitoring in this region with, as a main objective, the assessment of wetland status and trends and the existing links with the most important drivers and change factors in the whole Basin.
Amongst all tools used by the MWO to monitor wetlands, those based on Earth Observation (EO) data and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow developing geo-referenced datasets and could be used as baselines to derive a set of spatial indicators to assess, measure and quantify the status of Mediterranean wetlands and there trends over time and at different geographic scales (local, national, sub-regional and regional). Thus, relying on these monitoring results, the MWO could inform wetlands practitioners and decision-makers on the potential impacts of some human activities on these ecosystems (ex. land conversions, pressures on natural wetland habitats, impact of climate change…), as well as the efficiency of some protection measures and policies.
Mapping and monitoring Mediterranean wetlands using Earth Observation tools: update of the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory database
The main objective of this internship will be to develop thematic maps on a representative sample of Mediterranean wetland sites. All these maps will be derived from satellite images recently acquired (2015-2018), mainly from optical sensors (Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2). They will be produced using object-based supervised classifications (with images segmentation) and will integrate different Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) classes defined by a hybrid nomenclature system that combines both CORIN Land Cover and Ramsar definitions for a better identification of wetland habitats. In addition to LULC maps, Surface Water Dynamics maps (SWD) will be also produced in order to represent the spatiotemporal variations of surface water tables within each wetland site using a multi-temporal approach (dense intra-annual time series).
By the end of the internship, all produced results should be integrated in a geo-referenced database used by the MWO for the monitoring of Mediterranean wetlands, with the computation of a set of spatial indicators (e.g. changes in wetland areas, agriculture and urban threats, wetlands artificialization, land conversions…). This database contains already values for the same set of indicator derived from previous assessments conducted by the MWO (covering 1975, 1990 and 2005 time periods) and should be then updated by including new values for a more recent time period. Thus it could be possible to initiate a first assessment of the observed trends on the monitored sites for the last 40 years (using basic descriptive statistics).
- Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory, 2012. Mediterranean Wetlands Outlook. Tour du Valat, Arles, France https:/tourduvalat.org/mediatheque/brochures/
- Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory, 2014. Land cover – Spatial dynamics in Mediterranean coastal wetlands from 1975 to 2005. Thematic collection, issue #2. Tour du Valat, France. 48 pages.
- Perennou C., Beltrame C., Guelmami A., Tomas Vives P. and Caessteker P., 2012. Existing areas and past changes of wetland extent in the Mediterranean region: an overview. Ecologia Mediterranea, vol. 38, p. 53-66.
- Perennou C., Guelmami A., Paganini M., Philipson P., Poulin B., Strauch A., Truckenbrodt J., Tottrup C., Geijzendorffer I.R. 2018. Mapping Mediterranean wetlands with remote sensing: a good-looking map is not always a good map. Advances in Ecological Research 58 : 243–277.
- Sanchez A., Abdulmalak D., Guelmami A., Perennou C. 2015 – Development of an indicator to monitor Mediterranean wetlands. PlosOne, March 31, 2015 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122694
Profile and competencies
- Master degree in Geomatics and/or Remote Sensing
- Excellent capacities in satellite images processing and GIS
- Very good redaction skills (English and/or French)
- Basic knowledge on ecology and statistics are highly appreciated
- Tools and software: ArcGIS, Q-GIS, ENVI (additionally, a training on the GEOclassifier software will be provided at the beginning of the internship).
The internship will be at the Tour du Valat, Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands (in the Camargue, South of France), and will be mostly a “desk study” (EO and GIS data processing).
- Duration: 6 months (between February and September 2019)
- Monthly allowance: 569 €.
- Possible accommodation at the Tour du Valat (in a shared 2 beds room for ~70€/month) and to have lunch (3€/day)
Send a detailed CV and a cover letter to the main responsible of the internship Anis Guelmami, Project Leader (e-mail) before December 28th, 2018. Skype interviews will be scheduled beginning January 2019. Dates will be sent later to the pre-selected candidates.