Biogeography and Biogeomorphology
The research of members of the Biogeography and Biogeomorphology Group is concerned with the interactions and feedbacks between organisms (including humans) and their environments in the past, present and uncertain future. While biogeography focuses on the environmental, physiological and ecological constraints to the dispersal of organisms from local to regional and global scales, biogeomorphology focuses on the direct and indirect influences of organisms on earth surface processes, as well as the role of geomorphology in ecosystem functioning and resilience.
Our research is interdisciplinary drawing on a wide range of both traditional and novel techniques. These include remote sensing (from satellite imagery through airborne platforms, such as LiDAR, to unmanned aerial vehicles), field surveys, laboratory analyses and experiments (e.g. using flumes), and computational modelling. Our aims are to provide a better understanding of Earth's environmental systems and improved management of human interaction with those systems. Our work thus has a strong geographical dimension. Examples include the linkages that are made between terrestrial and coastal systems via the fluxes of water and sediment from hillslopes, catchments, rivers, estuaries, salt marshes and beaches; climate-vegetation interactions; soil-vegetation interactions; land use dynamics and their impact on plant and animal ecosystems as well as the social and economic factors that are affected by as well as drive those dynamics. Members of the group work in the British Isles, in the Mediterranean, at high latitudes and in tropical environments, as well as non-location-based theoretical research. Further, we work at a variety of spatial scales from the microscopic to the continental.
Outcomes from our research include the acquisition of new scientific data; new technologies; theoretical solutions, and improved performance of numerical models. Our results have impact for knowledge production, science and policy, assessment of risk and resilience, and environmental management. We have strong links to members of the other research groups, in particular the Climate and Environmental Dynamics Research Group, the Glaciology and Glacial Geology Research Group and Natures, Cultures, Knowledges. We have strong links with UCCRI and CSaP within the University as our research relates closely to the fields of conservation, political ecology and sustainability.
The Biogeography and Biogeomorphology Research Group includes the following subgroups and themes:
|Dr Harriet Allen
|Vegetation structure, ecosystem responses to environmental change. Palaeoecology of Mediterranean ecosystems|
|Dr Mike Bithell||Computational modelling; geophysical flows both granular and fluid. Agent-based modelling of human-environment interactions, particularly in effecting land use changes|
|Professor Ulf Büntgen||What are the causes and consequences of changes in different, though intertwined environmental systems across space and time, and how can diverse tree-ring parameters and archives be compiled and analysed to provide answers to such and related inter-/cross-disciplinary research questions?|
|Dr Elizabeth Christie||Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts Toolkit|
|Dr Nick Cutler||Spatio-temporal dynamics of long-term (decades to centuries) ecosystem development, particularly at high-latitudes|
|Ben Evans||Foreshore Assessment Using Space Technology|
|Dr Iris Möller
|Biophysical interactions in coastal systems, including biogeomorphological responses to climate change forcing|
|Dr Gareth Rees||Research interests predominantly in the development and application of spaceborne remote sensing techniques to monitoring the dynamics of Arctic glaciated and vegetated terrain|
|Dr David Christian Rose||Building the European Biodiversity Observation Network|
|Professor Tom Spencer||Hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics, ecological processes and human interactions in coastal ecosystems|
The following graduate students are also associated with the group:
|Helen Brooks||Can nature protect us from the coastal impacts of climate change|
|Jennifer Brown||Scaling up: using remote-sensing methods to estimate regional penguin population trajectories in a changing environment|
|Whales from space: studying ballen whales by satellite|
|Wenkai Guo||The location and dynamics of Arctic treeline and its relationship with circumarctic snow cover variability|
|James Pollard||Temporal and spatial patterns of shoreline change and exposure of coastal communities and ecosystems to future flood risks|
|Thomas Pryke||Nature Conservation: Living with Environmental Change on the Suffolk Coast, United Kingdom|
|Rachel Seary||Mangroves, fisheries and community livelihoods|
|Oliver Taherzadeh||Global hydrology and the resource nexus|
|James Tempest||Vegetation surface roughness quantification and relationships to flow attenuation over intertidal surfaces|
The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) carries out fundamental research on coastal, estuarine and nearshore processes, landforms and ecosystems; environmental monitoring in the coastal zone; and research consultancies for both governmental and non-governmental agencies. In addition, it offers scientifically-informed advice on the sustainable management of coasts and coastal ecosystems.
This group meets fortnightly during the term, and involves academic staff and postgraduates from the Geography and Engineering Departments. It meets to discuss literature in physical hydrology, land-water interactions, ecosystem services and water management institutions relevant to current research interests; and to review draft papers, grant proposals, etc.
This group of postgrads and academic staff meets fortnightly during term to discuss modelling of the interaction between human and other environmental systems, using agent-based techniques to represent aspects of human behaviour.