Trained as a fluvial geomorphologist with a keen awareness of the feedbacks between river processes and aquatic ecosystems, I bring my knowledge of sediment transport processes to the Palen lab as part of an interdisciplinary effort to understand the cumulative effects of run-of-river projects on salmon habitat. Together with co-PI Jeremy Venditti (SFU-Dept. of Geography), I am adapting existing morphodynamic models to better understand and predict the effect of dam closure on sediment transport processes and surface grain size distributions downstream of project sites. The goal of our modeling efforts is to predict a range of physical channel templates that can be used by ecologists to estimate the cumulative impact of run-of-river development on the salmon population. Ultimately, our geomorphic analysis will be incorporated into a decision-support tool that seeks to minimize energy vs. environment trade-offs during the site selection phase of future projects.
Prior to joining Wendy and Jeremy at SFU I was a doctoral student at Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. My dissertation research sought to improve our understanding of the process of lateral bank erosion in bedrock channels. As part of this research I conducted field and experimental investigations of lateral bedrock erosion and developed a numerical model from scratch that predicts bulk lateral erosion rates for a given set of input conditions as well as the vertical distribution of that erosion. I am very excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop my modeling skills at SFU as part of an interdisciplinary and applied research project.