Departmental Research Projects
Professor Louise Bracken
My research is focused primarily upon the dynamic and complex relationship within rivers between the processes that generate and supply fine sediment, and those that move the sediment through the river system. In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that fine sediment is a key factor in the environmental quality of a river system, as it plays an important role in determining the nature and rate of transport of nutrients and contaminants. Hence, the understanding of possible sources, pathways and fates of fine sediment is now recognised as an important element of water resource management. Within this framework my research has three broad themes: (1) spatial variations in runoff and sediment transfer, including the pathways that runoff and sediment follow (hydrological connectivity); (2) the supply of sediment from gullies and bank erosion; and (3) practices of undertaking interdisciplinary research to bring together the scientific outputs from the natural sciences with those of social sciences.
1) Spatial variations in runoff and sediment transfer
My research on the spatial variation in runoff and sediment transfer is conducted in both semi-arid and temperate environments. This research, which has involved detailed field monitoring and laboratory analyses, has allowed a new level of quantification of the rates at which sediment enters and moves through the evolving gully system, and has permitted the development of new models to understand the processes through which sediment delivery and transport occur.
2) The supply of sediment from gullies and bank erosion
The supply of sediment from gullies in semi-arid environments is important because many arid areas appear to be entering a new phase of dynamism. My research on this topic has helped in determining and defining the factors that control the generation of gullies, and in determining the response of gullies in terms of morphology and channel-form to environmental perturbations. My research on bank erosion as a sediment source was has helped to quantify the volume of material added by river channel instability.
3) Practices of undertaking interdisciplinary research
This research theme focuses on the development of an interdisciplinary framework for the investigation of earth surface systems. This work is critically important because it utilises a holistic approach that draws upon the skills and practices from different disciplines to produce new levels of understanding of problems facing the global community, most notably the impact of policy and anthropogenic behaviour on environmental processes.
- Bull, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Dryland Rivers: Hydrology and Geomorphology of Semi-Arid Channels. Wiley; 2002.
Chapter in book
- Huq, M.J. & Bracken, L.J. From Risk to Opportunity: Climate Change and Flood Policy in Bangladesh. In: Leal Filho, W. Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation. Springer; 2015:1023-1047.
- Bracken, L.J. Flood Generation and Flood Waves. In: Shroder, John F. Treatise on Geomorphology. Elsevier/Academic Press; 2013:85-94.
- Bracken, L.J. & Wainwright, J. Equilibrium in the balance? Implications for landscape evolution from dryland environments. In: Gallagher, K., Jones, S.J. & Wainwright, J. Landscape Evolution: Denudation, Climate and Tectonics Over Different Time and Space Scales. London.: Geological Society of London; 2008:29-46.
- Bull, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Channel Heads and Channel Extension. In: Bull, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Dryland rivers; Hydrology and Geomorphology of Semi-Arid Channels. Wiley; 2002:263-298.
- Bull, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Dryland River Characteristics and Concepts. In: Bull, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Dryland Rivers: Hydrology and Geomorphology of Semi-Arid Channels. Wiley; 2002:3-16.
- Couperthwaite, JS, Bull, LJ, Lawler, DM & Harris, NM Downstream change in channel hydraulics and river bank erosion rates in the Upper Severn, UK. In: Merot, P. & Jigorel, A. Hydrololgy in the Celtic Countries. 1996:93-100.
- Bull, LJ, Lawler, DM, Leeks, GJL & Marks, S Downstream changes in suspended sediment fluxes in the River Severn, UK. In: Osterkamp, W.R. International Association of Hydrological Sciences; 1995:27-37.
- Yushmah, M.Y.S., Bracken, L., Zuriatunfadzliah, S., Norhaslina, H., Melasutra, M.D., Amirhosein, G., Sumiliana, S. & Shereen Farisha, A.S. Understanding urban flood vulnerability and resilience: a case study of Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. Natural Hazards. 2020;101:551–571.
- Turnbull, L., Hütt, M., Ioannides,A.A., Kininmonth, S., Poeppl, R., Tockner, K., Bracken, L.J., Keesstra, S., Liu, L., Masselink, R. & Parsons, A.J. Connectivity and complex systems: learning from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Applied Network Science. 2018;3:11.
- Rollason, E., Bracken, L.J., Hardy, R.J. & Large, A.R.G. Evaluating the success of public participation in integrated catchment management. Journal of Environmental Management. 2018;228:267-278.
- Rollason, E., Bracken, L.J., Hardy, R.J. & Large, A.R.G. Rethinking flood risk communication. Natural Hazards. 2018;92:1665-1686.
- Smetanová, A., Paton, E., Maynard, C., Tindale, S., Fernández-Getino, A., Marqués Pérez, M. J., Bracken, L., Le Bissonnais, Y. & Keesstra, S. Stakeholders’ Perception of the Relevance of Water and Sediment Connectivity in Water and Land Management. Land Degradation and Development. 2018;29:1833-1844.
- Rollason E., Bracken, LJ., Hardy R.J & Large A.R.G. The importance of volunteered geographic information for the validation of flood inundation models. Journal of Hydrology. 2018;562:267-280.
- Cook, Brian, Forrester, John, Bracken, Louise, Spray, Christopher & Oughton, Elizabeth Competing Paradigms of Flood Management in the Scottish/English Borderlands. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal. 2016;25:314-328.
- Bracken, L.J., Oughton, E.A., Donaldson, A., Cook, B., Forrester, J., Spray, C., Cinderby, S., Passmore, D. & Bisset, N. Flood risk management, an approach to managing cross-border hazards. Natural Hazards. 2016;82:217-240.
- Forrester, J., Cook, B.R., Bracken, L.J., Cinderby, S. & Donaldson, A. Combining participatory mapping with Q-methodology to map stakeholder perceptions of complex environmental problems. Applied Geography. 2015;56:199-208.
- Parsons, A.J., Bracken, L.J., Poeppl, R.E., Wainwright, J. & Keesstra, S.D. Introduction to special issue on connectivity in water and sediment dynamics. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2015;40:1275-1277.
- Bracken, L.J., Turnbull, L., Wainwright, J. & Bogaart, P. Sediment connectivity: a framework for understanding sediment transfer at multiple scales. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2015;40:177-188.
- Bracken, L.J., Bulkeley, H.A. & Whitman, G. Transdisciplinary research: understanding the stakeholder perspective. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 2015;58:1291-1308.
- Bracken, L.J. & Oughton, E.A. How to make sense of our rivers: using assemblage to understand angling. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water. 2014;1:315-322.
- Bracken, L.J Bulkeley, H.A & Maynard, C. Micro-hydro power in the UK: The role of communities in an emerging energy resource. Energy Policy. 2014;68:92-101.
- Bracken, L.J., Wainwright, J., Ali, G.A., Tetzlaff, D., Smith, M.W., Reaney, S.M. & Roy, A.G. Concepts of hydrological connectivity: Research approaches, pathways and future agendas. Earth-Science Reviews. 2013;119:17-34.
- Bracken, L.J. & Oughton, E.A. Making sense of policy implementation: The construction and uses of expertise and evidence in managing freshwater environments. Environmental Science & Policy. 2013;30:10-18.
- Emery, S.B., Perks, M.T. & Bracken, L.J. Negotiating river restoration: The role of divergent reframing in environmental decision-making. Geoforum. 2013;47:167-177.
- Carrithers, M., Bracken, L.J. & Emery, S. Can a Species Be a Person? A Trope and Its Entanglements in the Anthropocene Era. Current Anthropology. 2011;52:661-685.
- Smith, M.W., Cox, N.J. & Bracken, L.J. Modeling depth distributions of overland flows. Geomorphology. 2011;125:402-413.
- Smith, M.W., Cox, N.J. & Bracken, L.J. Terrestrial laser scanning soil surfaces: a field methodology to examine soil surface roughness and overland flow hydraulics. Hydrological Processes. 2011;25:842-860.
- Bolland, J. D., Bracken, L. J., Martin, R. & Lucas, M. C. A protocol for stocking hatchery reared freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 2010;20:695-704.
- Smith, M.W., Bracken, L.J. & Cox, N.J. Toward a dynamic representation of hydrological connectivity at the hillslope scale in semiarid areas. Water Resources Research. 2010;46:W12540.
- Raven, E.K., Lane, S.N. & Bracken, L.J. Understanding sediment transfer and morphological change for managing upland gravel-bed rivers. Progress in Physical Geography. 2010;34:23-45.
- Kirkby, M.J. & Bracken, L.J. Gully processes and gully dynamics. Earth Surface Processes And Landforms. 2009;34:1841-1851.
- Bracken, L.J. & Oughton, E.A. Interdisciplinarity within and beyond geography: introduction to Special Section. Area. 2009;41:371-373.
- Oughton, E.A. & Bracken, L.J. Interdisciplinary research: framing and reframing. Area. 2009;41:385-394.
- Raven, E.K., Lane, S.N., Ferguson, R.I. & Bracken, L.J. The spatial and temporal patterns of aggradation in a temperate, upland, gravel-bed river. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2009;34:1181-1197.
- Wishart, D., Warburton, J. & Bracken, L. Gravel extraction and planform change in a wandering gravel-bed river: The River Wear, Northern England. Geomorphology. 2008;94:131-152.
- Bracken, L.J. (nee Bull), Cox, N.J. & Shannon, J. The relationship between rainfall inputs and flood generation in south-east Spain. Hydrological Processes. 2008;22:683-696.
- Smith, M.W., Cox, N.J. & Bracken, L.J. Applying flow resistance equations to overland flows. Progress in Physical Geography. 2007;31:363-387.
- Bracken, L.J. & Croke, J. The concept of hydrological connectivity and its contribution to understanding runoff-dominated geomorphic systems. Hydrological Processes. 2007;21:1749-1763.
- Reaney, S.M., Bracken, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Use of the connectivity of runoff model (CRUM) to investigate the influence of storm characteristics on runoff generation and connectivity in semi-arid areas. Hydrological Processes. 2007;21:894-906.
- Bracken, L.J. & Oughton, E.A. 'What do you mean?' The importance of language in developing interdisciplinary research. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2006;31:371-382.
- Bracken, L.J. & Wainwright, J. Geomorphological equilibrium: myth and metaphor?. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2006;31:167-178.
- Bracken, L.J. & Kirkby, M.J. Differences in hillslope runoff and sediment transport rates within two semi-arid catchments in southeast Spain. Geomorphology. 2005;68:183-200.
- Kirkby, M.J. & Bracken, L.J. Modelling Hillslope Connectivity and Channel interactions in Semi-arid Areas: Implications for Hillslope Restoration Following Land Abandonment. International Association of Hydrological Processes. 2005;299:3-15.
- Kirkby, M.J., Bracken, L.J. & Shannon, J. The influence of rainfall distribution and morphological factors on runoff delivery from dryland catchments in SE Spain. Catena. 2005;62:136-156.
- Bracken, L.J. & Mawdsley, E. 'Muddy glee': rounding out the picture of women and physical geography fieldwork. Area. 2004;36:280-286.
- Kirkby, M.J., Bull, L.J., Poesen, J. & Vandekerckhove, L. Observed and modelled distributions of channel and gully heads - with examples from SE Spain and Belgium. Catena. 2003;50:415-434.
- Bull, L.J., Kirkby, M.J., Shannon, J. & Dunsford, H. Predicting Hydrological Similar Surfaces (HYSS) in semi-arid environments. Advances in Environmental Monitoring and Modelling. 2003;1:1-26.
- Kirkby, M.J. & Bull, L.J. Thresholds of gully initiation: a comparison of field data and model predictions. Catena Special Issue. 2003;50:415-434.
- Kirkby, M.J., Bracken, L.J. & Reaney, S. The influence of land use, soils and topography on the delivery of hillslope runoff to channels in SE Spain. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2002;27:1459-1473.
- Kirkby, MJ & Bull, LJ Some factors controlling gully growth in fine-grained sediments: a model applied in southeast Spain. Catena. 2000;40:127-146.
- Bull, LJ, Kirkby, MJ, Shannon, J & Hooke, JM The impact of rainstorms on floods in ephemeral channels in southeast Spain. Catena. 2000;38:191-209.
- Bull, LJ & Kirkby, MJ Gully processes and modelling. Progress In Physical Geography. 1997;21:354-374.
- Bull, LJ Magnitude and variation in the contribution of bank erosion to the suspended sediment load of the River Severn, UK. Earth Surface Processes And Landforms. 1997;22:1109-1123.
- Bull, LJ Relative velocities of discharge and sediment waves for the River Severn, UK. Hydrological Sciences Journal-journal Des Sciences Hydrologiques. 1997;42:649-660.
- 2019: i-CONN: Interdisciplinary connectivity: Understanding and managing complex systems using connectivity science, Interreg (ERDF) Europe, €4 million, 2019-10-01 - 2023-09-30
- 2018: NERC Indonesia - Java Flood One (£24732.56 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
- 2016: RF150394: H2020-NATURVATION, European Commission, 2016-2020
- 2014: A Catchment Based Approach to Flood Risk Management in the Roe Beck Catchment, Cumbria (£7996.00 from Eden Rivers Trust)
- 2012: Aquatic habitat in the River Esk: North York Moors (£4270.00 from North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority)
- 2012: Improving public engagement in ecosystems service based environmental management (£4032.00 from Environment Agency)
- 2012: Review of Micro-Hydro: technical, environmental, social and economic dimensions (£2410.00 from Epsrc)
- 2011: Esk Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project (£3466.00 from North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority)
- 2011: Sustainable energy: Future and the negotiation... (£4990.00 from InCluESEV)
- 2010: Managing borderlands: adaptive decision making (£20173.25 from ESRC)
- 2009: Esk Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project (£3390.00 from North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority)
- 2008: ESK PEARL MUSSEL & SALMON RECOVERY (£2500.00 from Environment Agency)
- 2007: ESK PEARL MUSSEL AND SALMON RECOVERY (£3150.00 from North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority)
- 2007: FINE SEDIMENT FLUX IN RIVER CATCHMENTS (£14000.00 from Environment Agency Leeds)
- 2007: WATER QUALITY SAMPLING PEARL MUSSELS (£1400.00 from Environment Agency)
- 2006: ANGLING IN THE RURAL ENVIRONMENT (£64972.00 from ESRC)
- 2004: DEVELOPING TOOLS FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY (£10427.00 from ESRC)
- 2004: MONITORING FINE SEDIMENT (£10000.00 from Environment Agency)
- 2003: THE TRANSFER OF FINE SEDIMENT (£1500.00 from Royal Geographical Society)