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.