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Helen Brooks MSci

Helen Brooks MSci

PhD Candidate

Coastal geomorphologist interested in the importance of geotechnical substrate properties for tidal flat and salt marsh stability.

Biography

Career

  • 2016-Present: PhD in Geography, University of Cambridge, Pembroke College.
    Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with a CASE Partnership with the British Geological Survey.

Qualifications

  • 2012-2016-MSci (Hons) in Geography, Durham University, Josephine Butler College.
    • Fourth year thesis: A high-resolution investigation into erosion processes occurring on rocky coastal cliffs at Cowbar, UK.
    • Third year dissertation: An investigation of palaeoseismic signals in south-central Chile and their influence on postulated pre-seismic relative sea-level rise in the 1960 Mw 9.5 Valdivia earthquake.

Research

Coast

My research is primarily concerned with the geotechnical substrate properties of intertidal mudflats and salt marshes and how these properties influence the stability of these environments.

During my PhD I will be using a combination of field, laboratory and remote sensing techniques, focussing on two field sites: one in Essex (UK East coast), and another in Morecambe Bay (UK West coast).

Field measurements will include shear strength determination, using a shear vane and Cohesive Strength Meter. Laboratory tests will then be used to assess the substrate compressibility, shear strength (based on shear box and triaxial tests), behavioural properties (liquid, plastic and shrinkage limits) and sedimentology (particle size analysis, water content, bulk density and loss on ignition).

Vertical and lateral changes to the marsh (an indication of marsh stability) will be quantified based on field measurements and marsh-edge mapping from aerial photographs. Finally, this PhD will compare (a) the geotechnical properties of the tidal flat and the salt marsh at each site, (b) the geotechnical properties found at each field location, and (c) the relation of these geotechnical properties to observed vertical and lateral marsh change over annual to decadal time periods.

Publications

Conference presentations

  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Kirkham, M., & Royse, K. (2017). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex. Poster presentation at the British Society for Geomorphology Annual Meeting, Hull, 4th-6th September 2017.
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2017). Analysing marsh geotechnical properties and implications for marsh stability. Poster presentation at Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers conference, Bath, 11th-12th April 2017 (Awarded 2nd Place).
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2017). Analysing marsh geotechnical properties and implications for marsh stability. Poster presentation at CEEDA 2017 conference, Cambridge. April 2017.
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2017). An analysis of salt marsh and tidal flat geotechnical properties and consequences for marsh stability. Poster presentation at ESRC 2017 Poster Exhibition, Cambridge. May 2017 (Awarded 1st Place).
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2017). Salt marshes: strong and stable or weak and wobbly? Poster presentation at Pembroke College Graduate Conference, 16th June 2017 (Awarded 2nd Place).
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2017). Salt marshes: strong and stable or weak and wobbly? Poster presentation at BUFI Science Festival, BGS Edinburgh (Lyell Centre), 27th June 2017.

Teaching

  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part II, Muddy Coasts and Estuaries, 2016-2017

External activities

Affiliations

  • British Society for Geomorphology
  • Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Outreach

  • Cambridge Science Festival hands-on activities and feedback organiser, 2017
  • Planet Earth 'Pint of Science' Co-convenor 2017
  • Experience Cambridge, organising committee and volunteer
  • Postgraduate Forum, Co-Convenor