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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Fluvial Geology

earth and environmental sciences

Research in riverine processes focuses on two complimentary areas. The first is on field-based studies of rates and processes of bedrock erosion by rivers. This research is vital to understanding feedback relationships among tectonics, climate change, erosion, and landscape evolution. I have studied bedrock erosion in rivers and streams in coastal northern California, New York state, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Death Valley area. Future projects will focus on other systems where tectonic, climatic, and/or erosional history can be constrained. In addition to field measurements of stream morphology, tools used for this research include numerical modeling, and analysis of digital elevation data and remote-sensing imagery using state-of-the-art computer hardware and software. The second area is investigations of river response to perturbations in sediment transport, erosion, ecology, and hydrology caused by dams and other management processes. This work has important implications to both management policy and our understanding of fluvial processes. One part of this work is a study of sedimentation behind a dam in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California using coring and bathymetric mapping, which is part of a watershed-scale salmon-habitat restoration effort. A new, growing, multidisciplinary research program centers around relationships among fluvial transport processes, river management, dam removal, and habitat restoration in New England.