Fluvial geomorphology is a science devoted to understanding rivers, both in their natural setting as well as how they respond to human-induced changes in a watershed. One goal is to predict what changes will occur to a stream channel in response to alterations in watershed conditions; and, in turn, how these changes will impact human infrastructure and fish habitat.

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A river's adjustment to watershed perturbations may take thousands of years, as is the case throughout much of United States as the result of deglaciation. In other instances, channel modifications may occur in less than a decade, as is frequently the case with direct human activity in a stream channel. Understanding how these perturbations, operating at different time scales, alter the width, depth, and planform of a channel is critical for identifying potential problem areas in a river system. A geomorphological approach to river management reduces flood damages while improving aquatic habitat.

My research is field-based and tries to shed some light on the following questions:
  • how do sediment loads in the tributaries to the Susquehanna River vary spatially and temporally as a function of land use?

  • how much bedload does the Susquehanna River transport during floods and what are the sediment transport dynamics in the large pools and riffles in the river?

  • what is the hyporheic exchange between the valley alluvium and the river?