Biomorphodynamics of living river and coastal landscapes

Rivers, deltas and coasts have dynamic patterns of sand, mud, vegetation and animal species. These beautiful landscapes have a spectacular biodiversity and host a large and rapidly growing proportion of the world’s population. Understanding their natural dynamics is needed to assess impacts of direct human interference and global change on flooding risk, coastal erosion and ecosystems.

Meadows of a Dutch river in the summer. Photo credits: RuudMorijn

Our aim is to understand and predict natural and human-induced dynamics of living fluvial and coastal landscapes. We focus on interactions between fluvial, marine and aeolian components, and feedbacks between physical and biotic processes. We aim to combine our knowledge in a generic bio-morphological delta model to contribute solving present-day and future scientific and practice-inspired delta challenges.

We collect and analyse field and remote-sensing data, develop analogue coastal landscapes in the laboratory, and use and develop numerical models. We focus on processes at turbulence scale to storms and floods (days) and on seasonal to millennial time scales for landscape development. Our work domains are barrier coasts, with its beaches and dunes, tidal inlet systems, barrier islands, backbarrier channels and flats, estuaries and river channels and floodplains.