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Personal profile

Approach to teaching

Every single student has seen water and sediment, but I think that it is extremely important that students get a real feel for the materials that they are working with.  Hence I believe that laboratory sessions are an essential component of any Geography or Civil Engineering Module. Relating classroom learning with real Industry based Case Studies, backed up with site visits, then helps students really put theory into context, especially where traditional disciplines cross over and even merge.

I DO NOT believe in standing up in front of a class and talking whilst students passively listen for a few hours.  For many years now I have made use of online technology and used pre-recorded mini-lectures, alongside detailed notes to enable students to grasp the basic understanding of a concept for example the physics behind a hydraulic jump or how to predict the moment when sediment transport may start to occur in a stream.  This then allows the allocated face to face time with students to be spent undertaking activities which deepen and broaden the understanding of an area.  In the classroom I actively encourage students to work in groups, use the internet, speak to each other and ask questions.  This enables me to help students on a one to one basis or as part of a group, whichever is appropriate.

I provide students with a variety of materials, both in lectures and online, but do expect my students to conduct their own background research and reading (guided in the first few years). During your first two years of study at university you will get the chance to conduct guided experiments using our student friendly flumes and pipe rigs, which will enable you to really understand how water flows through pipes and channels and what effect there is when we use structures to control or measure it. We will expect you to conduct calculations and write technical reports based upon your lab sessions. This is all good practice for writing reports in your chosen professional career. (Yes – Civil Engineers have to write lots of reports throughout their career and physical geographers will have to crunch some numbers).

I use media, literature and problem sheets to support my teaching, which means that I expect students to engage outside of the lecture time in their studies. For example this could mean reading set material in preparation for a lab or lecture, watching a series of pre-recorded online mini-lectures or testing yourselves with formative tests which will be available online.   

Students get the best results for my modules are those who fully engage and ask questions when they need to. By fully engaging the student access the online material and lectures I provide, they attend the lectures, tutorial sessions and hands on laboratory sessions which I run and they ask questions.

The final year projects which I offer are always in my area of research and are based upon providing workable solutions to real life problems or furthering the research knowledge base. Most of the projects I offer and coursework scenarios are linked to industry, research projects and local problems.

Research interests

My principle research interest is in Natural Flood Management, (coastal, estuarine and riverine) which embraces natural processes in order to provide long-term sustainable solutions to flood management problems. This encompasses a wide range of areas including sediment dynamics, hydro-dynamics, water management and geochemistry.  My research is primarily field based where I design long and short term monitoring programmes to enable in depth understanding of hydraulic and sediment regimes.

On the coast and nearshore waters, my research is based around Nature Based solutions to flooding and habitat creation, which involves furthering the understanding of how the geomorphology and hydrodynamics of these sites evolve following breach. In terms of sustainability I work with very closely with ecologists investigating how previous land use, design and construction influence the development of these sites, which has a direct impact on the bio-diversity of these created systems, and which in the long-term influence the longevity and effectiveness of the designed coastal defence.  If you click on the ‘globe image’ below my profile picture you can listen to a recording of a lecture which I gave at the ICE Coastal Management Conference in 2019, where I explain how Coastal Managers can improve fish habitat. 

In-land I work with a number of local organisations on the re-wilding, restoration and management of rivers and catchments in order to reduce peak flood levels and improve water quality. This involves assessing the suitability of the removal of defunct structures, installing small scale, up-stream, water retarding structures and where possible reconnecting water with its flood plain. 

Both on the coast and inland I am working towards quantifying the effects of different types of intervention, through this I strive to do is provide designers, engineers and managers with a greater understanding of the environment so that they can work with nature to provide longer-term, more sustainable solutions.

Supervisory Interests

For both MRes and PhD, I am particularly interested in supervising projects in the area of  intertidal, estuarine and riverine water / sediment interaction and climate. Examples of applications could include:

  • Quantifiying the impact that differant types of Nature Based Solutions have on Riverine Flood Management.
  • The impact that drainage systems have on the development of Managed Realignment sites and the colinisation by intertidal flora.
  • How mycelium develops in newly inundated intertidal wetlands.
  • Furthering the understanding into the processes of how terrestrial soil transforms into intertidal sediment when inundated by saline water.
  • The impact of Coastal Managed and Managed Realignment design has on fish habitats and how engineering could be used to increase habitat suitability, impacting positively on fish stocks. (see: - MR Fish Geomorphology (ICECM 2019) (brighton.ac.uk))
  • The impact of changing weather patterns on intertidal environments.

Along with any project which brings together the following elements: Natural Flood Management, habitat creation, eco-system services, impact of sea-level rise and impact on health and wellbeing.

Knowledge exchange

My research is about helping to find practical, longer term sustainable solutions to problems which are facing society.  In order to do this it is extremely important that I work with industry, both public and private as well as other academics across a wide range of disciplines.  I am part of the Maritime Expert Panel for the Institution of Civil Engineers (Maritime Expert Panel | Institution of Civil Engineers (ice.org.uk)) which enables me to understand the changing needs of industry whilst also providing an insight into academic research and community. I attend and present at a range of industry and academic professional meetings.  For the purpose of knowledge transfer and impact of research, I feel that it is important that academics publish in industry focused publications as well as scientific journals, as the latter are often not easily accessible to those working in industry.

External positions

Member of Maritime Expert Panel for Institute of Civil Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers

1 Mar 20181 Mar 2025

Organising Committee for the ICE coastal Management Conference 2019, Institution of Civil Engineers

1 Oct 20171 Oct 2019

Organising Committee for ICE Coastal Management Conference 2015, Institution of Civil Engineers

1 Sep 20131 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • G Geography (General)
  • Natural Flood Management
  • Managed Realignment
  • Cohesive Sediment
  • Coastal management
  • Estuarine Hydraulics
  • Nature Based Solutions
  • Rewilding

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