Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr. Richard Williams

Research interests:

My research interests lie in the fields of geomatics, fluvial geomorphology, remote sensing, flood risk management, and numerical modelling. Specifically, I am interested in the dynamism of river systems at the reach spatial scale and event-to-decadal timescale. My research focuses upon enhancing and applying novel geomatics and remote sensing methods to gain insight into river morphodynamics. Such data also provide innovative parameterisations for hydro- and morpho-dynamic numerical models, and spatially-temporally explicit metrics for model assessment. My research supports fundamental insights into the controls on river planform and provides evidence for scientifically informed management of flood conveyance, and in-stream and riparian habitat.

Particular research themes include:

1. Monitoring and modelling braided river morphodynamics;

2. Monitoring the morphology, flow dynamics, sediment transport and ecology of river restoration schemes;

3. Alluvial fan morphology and sedimentology;

4. Numerical modelling of flood risk, particularly in geomorphologically dynamic settings and in the context of evaluating natural flood risk management.

Recent field campaigns have involved the deployment of a range of Earth observation platforms and sensors. These have included RTK-GPS, terrestrial laser scanning, acoustic Doppler current profilers, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to acquire imagery for Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry.

Career history:

Present: Lecturer in Geomatics (Geography)

Richard moved to Aberystwyth University in 2009 to work as a Research Assistant on the NERC funded ReesScan Project. At this time he also commenced his doctoral work on modelling braided river dynamics. Richard was appointed to a lectureship at Aberystwyth University in 2013. He moved to a lectureship at the University of Glasgow in 2015.

Active research projects:

Strategic Insight Programme (SIP). Placement with Prof Rob Lamb (JBA Trust): Two-dimensional flow modelling to analyse river bar reworking. November 2014 – February 2015.

MPhil Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship. Development of low-cost approaches to monitor river restoration schemes. September 2014 – September 2015. PI with Dr K. Young (Aberystwyth) and P. Jones (WaterCo, Mold).

Natural Environment Research Council. Quantifying the Delivery & Dispersal of Landslide-Derived Sediment to the Dart River, New Zealand. April 2014 – July 2015.

British Society for Geomorphology Early Career Researcher Grant. Quantifying sedimentological, geomorphic and habitat adjustment following river restoration. October 2014 – October 2015.

Recent publications:

Williams, R. D., Brasington, J., and Hicks, D. M. (2016) Numerical modelling of braided river morphodynamics: review and future challenges. Geography Compass, 10(3), pp. 102-127. (doi:10.1111/gec3.12260)

Williams, R.D., Rennie, C.D., Brasington, J., Hicks, D.M., and Vericat, D. (2015) Linking the spatial distribution of bed load transport to morphological change during high-flow events in a shallow braided river. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 120(3), pp. 604-622. (doi:10.1002/2014JF003346)

Williams, R., Brasington, J., Vericat, D., and Hicks, M. (2014) Hyperscale terrain modelling of braided rivers: fusing mobile terrestrial laser scanning and optical bathymetric mapping. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39(2), pp. 167-183. (doi:10.1002/esp.3437)

Williams, R.D., Brasington, J., Hicks, M., Measures, R., Rennie, C.D., and Vericat, D. (2013) Hydraulic validation of two-dimensional simulations of braided river flow with spatially continuous aDcp data. Water Resources Research, 49(9), pp. 5183-5205. (doi:10.1002/wrcr.20391)

Williams, R., Brasington, J., Vericat, D., Hicks, M., Labrosse, F., and Neal, M. (2011) Chapter twenty – monitoring braided River change using terrestrial laser scanning and optical bathymetric mapping. Developments in Earth Surface Processes, 15, pp. 507-532. (doi:10.1016/B978-0-444-53446-0.00020-3)

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