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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.
  • March-July 2018, Internship at the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge

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.

Awards and grants

  • Bursary from the Clay Minerals Group, Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland for attendance at Clay Minerals Group Research in Progress Meeting, Sheffield, 2018 (£85)
  • Peer Prize for Science Communication, British Geological Survey, (£75)
  • Grant from the Scholarship Trust Fund, Pembroke College for attendance at Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers Conference, Hull, 2018 (£205)
  • Philip May Award for attendance at the International Conference on Coastal Engineering, 2018 (£1000)
  • Roland Schlich travel support for EGU 2018 (~£300)
  • Pembroke College Research Award for attendance at the ICBM Summer School 2017 (~£300)
  • Second Place Poster Presentation for Communicating Science, Pembroke College 2017 (£50)
  • First Place Poster Presentation, ESRC Poster Exhibition 2017 (£10)
  • Second Place Poster Presentation, Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers' Conference 2017 (£40).

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

Written publications

  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K., Price, S. J. (2018). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex, UK. Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Baltimore, MD, 30th July-3rd August 2018.

Conference presentations

  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2018). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex. Oral Presentation at the International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Baltimore, MD, 30th July-3rd August 2018.
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. (2018). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex. Oral Presentation at the Clay Minerals Group Research in Progress Meeting, Sheffield, 27th June 2018. (Awarded 2nd Place).
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. Price, S. J. (2018). Salt marshes: strong and stable or weak and wobbly?-an update. Poster presentation at BUFI Science Festival, BGS Keyworth, 28th June 2018. (Awarded the Peer Prize for Science Communication).
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K., Price, S. J. (2018). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex. Poster presentation at European Geophysical Union, Vienna, 8th-13th May 2018.
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. Price, S. J. (2018). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex. Poster presentation at Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers conference, Hull, 20th-21st March 2018.
  • Brooks, H. Y., Möller, I., Spencer, K. L., Royse, K. Price, S. J. (2018). Geotechnical properties of salt marsh and tidal flat substrates at Tillingham, Essex-an initial assessment. Oral presentation at CEEDA 2018 conference, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, 19th March 2018.
  • 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). Salt marshes: strong and stable or weak and wobbly? Poster presentation at BUFI Science Festival, BGS Edinburgh (Lyell Centre), 27th June 2017.
  • 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). 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). 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.

Teaching

  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part II, Muddy Coasts and Estuaries, 2016-2017
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part 1A, Geographical Skills and Methods: Field, Laboratory and Desk-based Skills for Understanding the Physical Environment, 2017-2018, 2018-2019
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part 1A, Geographical Skills and Methods: Statistical Methods, 2017-2018, 2018-2019
  • Supervisor, Geographical Tripos Part 1A, Physical Geography: Environmental Processes and Change: Oceans, Coasts and Catchments, 2017-2018, 2018-2019
  • Supervisor, Geographical Tripos Part 1A, Physical Geography: Environmental Processes and Change: The Earth, 2018-2019
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part II, Quaternary Climates and Environments, 2017-2018, 2018-2019

Other activities

Affiliations

  • British Society for Geomorphology
  • Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association
  • Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • Coasts, Oceans, Rivers and Ports Institute (in association with ASCE)
  • Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Clay Minerals Group (in association with the Mineral Society)

Committees

  • Information Resources Committee, Department of Geography
  • Athena Swan Committee, Department of Geography

Outreach

  • Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Committee, Communications and Collaborations Officer 2018-2019
  • Cambridge Science Festival hands-on activities and feedback organiser, 2017, 2018
  • Planet Earth 'Pint of Science' Co-convenor 2017
  • Experience Cambridge, organising committee and volunteer, 2017
  • Postgraduate Forum, Co-Convenor, 2017-2018