Fluvial geomorphology is the study of the physical form of rivers and the dynamic processes that shape them over time. Examples of questions that fluvial geomorphology aims to answer are: how do rivers transport water and sediment? how does the physical form of rivers relate to the availability and quality of aquatic habitats? how do rivers evolve in response to human activities and climate change?
As cities continue to expand, the urbanization of watersheds leads to many negative effects on rivers, including more frequent flooding, rapid erosion, poor water quality, and the deterioration of ecological health. Dr. Elli Papangelakis' research team in the School of Earth, Environment & Society at McMaster University focuses on how urbanization impacts the geomorphic processes of rivers and how these changes lead to decreased ecological health. The aim is to to gain a better understanding of urban river processes through a combination of field-work, lab experiments, and modelling research projects. Projects also aim to develop and test novel approaches to better manage and rehabilitate urban rivers using the most advanced technology.