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School of Geography

Modelling Planetary Surfaces and Processes

Our group works to integrate computational, field and theoretical approaches to quantify and understand planetary surface evolution across scales. 

Major challenges we research: 

  • Understanding how vegetation dynamics modulate water and sediment fluxes under a changing climate 
  • Researching the spatial resilience mechanisms in peatlands 
  • Understanding the role of plants and animals as ecosystem engineers in landscapes 
  • Modelling landform evolution to understand drivers and mechanisms and evaluate risks from associated natural hazards (e.g. flooding) 

Our methods exploit and integrate new technology and approaches to advance understanding of fundamental science questions.  

  • Advancing our understanding of surface processes from the nano to landscape scale 
  • Forecasting impacts of land use and climate change on environmental systems using numerical methods 
  • Using novel remote sensing technologies to reconstruct and quantify the evolution of surface environments 
  • Harnessing advanced instrumentation to draw connections between process and form 

Our impacts include the wide adoption of topographic analysis software by industry and government departments and delivery of strategic management for ecosystem service provision (e.g. flood risk reduction, carbon storage, biodiversity increases). 

Our stakeholders and co-creators include Rewilding Britain, Knepp Wildland, Environment Agency, Arup.  

Our associated staff are: 

Lisa Belyea – peatlands, ecohydrology, carbon cycle, greenhouse gases, ecosystem resilience   

Stuart Grieve – geomorphology, sediment transport, remote sensing, planetary science, LiDAR, GIS, computational geoscience 

Gemma Harvey – biogeomorphology, landscape rewilding and restoration, ecosystem engineers, invasive species.  

Alex Henshaw – geomorphology, fluvial systems, remote sensing, nature-based solutions 

Geraldene Wharton – hydrogeomorphology, ecohydrology, modelling water-sediment-vegetation dynamics in rivers.  

James Bradley – elemental cycles, organic carbon burial and remineralization, marine sediments. 

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