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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Peng Gao

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at Grey College, Durham University (October - December 2013)

Dr Peng Gao is an Associate Professor Department of Geography, Syracuse University, USA. Dr Gao has made significant contributions to developing our understanding of sediment transport. He has maintained an impressive output of publications in leading journals in the field, covering a range of aspects of sediment transport and its applications, including recently acclaimed articles in the prestigious Journal of Hydraulic Engineering (JHE) and Progress in Physical Geography. 

The proposed study aims to quantify the dynamic processes controlling soil erosion and sediment transport in drylands of south-western USA using an erosion model, MAHLERAN, and various statistical methods. Based upon hydrological, sediment, and environmental data to be compiled from watersheds of various sizes, the Fellowship will achieve two objectives:

1) Identifying hydrological and sediment-transport connectivity at different spatial and temporal scales; and

2) Quantifying the dynamic changes of structural and functional connectivity from small to large spatial scales thereby providing a means of upscaling from hillslopes to catchments, where the practical impacts of sediment transport are felt.

The success of this proposed study will help us to understand how drylands, as typical fragile ecosystems will respond hydrologically, geomorphologically and ecologically the expected increases of soil erosion and sediment transport owing to the global warming. The proposed study will contribute to the general aims of Durham’s research cluster: Catchment, River, and Hillslope Sciences (CRHS). It is also closely related to research themes of the Ecosystems and Climate Change Programme in the Institute of Hazard, Risk & Resilience.

“The fellowship provided me with a valuable opportunity to meet people in different fields, to learn the unique college system Durham University has, and to understand (and enjoy) the life north-eastern UK people have. Such experience is a windmill and has made my life more colourful.”

Professor Peng Gao, Syracuse University, New York