Geomorphology

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Geomorphology is the study of the processes that have shaped the Earth’s surface. At UBC, research in geomorphology is focussed on fluvial processes and landforms, particularly in mountainous regions, and on glacial processes and Quaternary landscape history. An emerging research direction in our geomorphology program involves studying the interaction between the various geomorphic processes at the scale of entire watersheds and landscapes. While most of our research is quantitatively based and emphasizes measurement, modeling, and prediction of contemporary geomorphic processes, we are also interested in reconstructing the recent geomorphic history of our planet, particularly in areas that have been recently glaciated.

Our work is conducted at field sites in Canada and around the world; in our recently constructed hydraulics laboratory that houses several flumes of various sizes; and using numerical and theoretical models constructed at various spatial and temporal scales. We have a long tradition of studying the geomorphic impact of land use changes, riparian forest disturbance, and aquatic eco-hydraulics on fluvial systems, as well as the link between Quaternary glaciations and the function and structure of the contemporary landscape of glaciated environments. As a result, many of our projects are interdisciplinary, and involve collaborators with expertise in biogeography, climatology, ecology, hydrology, geology, GIscience, and engineering. These collaborators come from within our department and from various other departments across the university, including Civil Engineering, Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Forest Sciences. At the M.Sc. level considerable emphasis is placed upon applied geomorphology in the context of resource industries and environmental management in the province, and we often collaborate with various provincial and federal government scientists, as well.

Faculty working on Geomorphology

Associate Professor Emeritus

Research interests focus on hillslope geomorphology, and in particular mass movement phenomena in the Western Cordillera.


Professor Emeritus

I principally study large rivers, with special interest in sediment transport and stability of lower Fraser River, and the response of Peace River to regulation for hydropower.


Associate Professor
Associate Head (Graduate Programs)

I am a fluvial geomorphologist interested in how rivers respond to landuse and environmental changes. My research group is conducting laboratory experiments and field studies as part of a larger effort to improve our understanding of stream channel (in)stability, fish habitat and bed material transport.


Professor
Department Head

My research covers a wide range of topics in geomorphology and hydrology such as landscape evolution, the interaction between hill-slopes and channels, channel stability and morphology, river sediment transport and sediment yield, stream ecology, in-channel wood dynamics, and modeling fine sediments and their interactions with stream physical and biological characteristics.


Associate Professor

I work at the intersection of climate science, glaciology, geomorphology and oceanography. My research focuses on ice-climate and ice-ocean interactions, the formation of glaciated landscapes and landscape response to climate change, from the temperate regions of BC and Patagonia to the polar regions of Greenland and Antarctica. My team and I integrate field observations, spatial analysis, numerical modeling and theory to quantify the impacts of climate change on glaciers and landscapes.



Professor

My research focuses on the influence of climate variability and change, in conjunction with forest and glacier dynamics, on hydrological processes and the patterns of streamflow and water quality. I work closely with practitioners, government agencies and utilities to integrate the best available science into environmental monitoring, management and policy.


Professor Emeritus

My research focusses on global environmental change in mountainous landscapes, emphasizing the role of relief, hydroclimatology and human activities as the major drivers of change.