Professor Anne Mather
Professor in Geomorphology
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
· Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy
· PhD in Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool
· BSc (Joint Honors) Geography and Geology, University of Hull
· Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
· British Society of Geomorphologists (Deputy Chair)
· Quaternary Research Association
· British Sedimentological Research Group (Secretary 1994-6)
· Fluvial Archives Group (Excecutive Committee 2012-2016)
· American Geophysical Union
Roles on external bodies
· Editorial Board of Elsevier Journal 'Geomorphology' (1996 to 2016)
· Editorial Board of the Journal of Iberian Geology (2000 to present)
· Advisory Editor, Journal Geological Society of London (2014 to 2016)
· Editorial Board, Geosciences (2017 to present)
I am a Senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy and sit on the Plymouth University Teaching Development Accreditation Panel. I am a strong believer in the value of experiential learning through field and practical work and incorporating new learning technologies into the learning experience (e.g.Innovative use of Google Earth Professional and Drone Technology).
My current teaching role incorporates:
· Field teaching across the geosciences (UK, Iceland, Morocco, Portugal,Spain)
· Fluvial geomorphology and sedimentology
· Arid environments
· Tectonic geomorphology
· Cold Environments
Staff serving as external examiners
· Trinity College Dublin, Geosciences, 2019-2021
· University of Edinburgh, Earth Sciences, 2016 to 2020
· University of Derby, Geography Programmes, 2013 to 2017
· Manchester Metropolitan University, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, 2010 to 2013
· University of Luton, Environment Field, 1999 to 2003
My research is rooted in the field of fluvial geomorphology and sedimentology with the main focus on examining long-term landscape development in dryland, tectonically active landscapes. The research is inter-disciplinary in nature, developing fieldbased, specialist approaches to earth science problems by marrying geomorphological and geological approaches on an appropriate temporal (105to106yr.) and spatial(102to 104 km2) scale.
The research focuses on using fluvial archives (river terraces; alluvial fans) and related slope processes (e.g. landsliding, gullying) to examine tectonic and climatic forcing controls on landscape development.This research is key to benchmarking and developing landscape evolution models (LEMs) currently being used to explore Quaternary landscape evolution and important for developing land management and engineering and mineral exploitation strategies.
Current research foci include
- developing palaeohydrological approaches for Quaternary landscapes
- use of new technologies in field research (UAV, 3D mapping software)
- better understanding the river terrace and alluvial fan archives in landscapes
- understanding the role of landsliding in Quaternary (and older) landscape development
- application of geochronological techniques to long-term landscape development (Mainly OSL and CRN)
The above research is based in field areas in Spain, Turkey, USA, Northern Chile, Iceland and Morocco.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
· Martin Geach. 2015. Landscape forcing mechanisms onQuaternary time-scales: the Tabernas Basin SE Spain. Plymouth University
· Waleed Hanosh Hamed 2015. The geomorphological development of ephemeral and relict river valley systems in northwest Rutba, Western Iraq. Plymouth University
· Samantha Ilott 2013. Cosmogenic dating of fluvial terraces in the Sorbas Basin, SE Spain. University of Plymouth. NERC funded studentship.
· Astrid Blum 2007. Controls on long-term drainage development of the Carboneras Basin, SE Spain. University of Plymouth
· Andrew Hart 2004. Landslide hazard in the Rio de Aguas catchment, SE Spain. University of Plymouth.
· Sue H Hughes 2000. The geochemical and mineralogical record of the impact of historical mining within estuarine sediments, Fal Estuary,Cornwall, UK. Camborne School of Mines.
· Martin Stokes 1997. Plio-Pleistocene drainage evolution ofthe Vera Basin, SE Spain. University of Plymouth.
Grants & contracts
Currently working on:
British Society of Geomorphology (Research Grant): Integrated fluvial archive approaches to Holocene palaeoflood reconstruction: potential insights for climate change in continental N. Africa
It is the intention of this study to utilise river terrace data (sedimentology, geomorphology), slack water deposits and engineering approaches to examine a 20km reach of the upland River Dades (an upland, non-glaciated Saharan margin drainage) to reconstruct the Holocene palaeohydrological flood record for the catchment. This record can then be used to identify enhanced periods of fluvial activity providing potential to inform on the extent of the influence of African Humid Periods in this part of north Africa.
Royal Geographical Society Thesiger Oman Award. Bedrock landsliding - a near and present danger: implications for hazard assessment in the NW Sahara (Morocco).
This project investigates the occurrence and timing of large-(km) scale bedrock landsliding in the arid Saharan margins of the Highand Anti-atlas Mountains of Morocco. In such environments landsliding can have a direct impact on the inhabitants as well as further afield down-valley effects via secondary hazards (amplified flood peaks associated with landslide constrictions and valley blockages which may lead to landslide lake outburst floods). This project will examine the nature of the hazard today and underpast climate regimes to better understand the impact of changing climate and human intervention on these large and previously unstudied slope instabilities in the NW Saharan margin.
National Geographic (Northern Europe Research Grant). Catastrophic flood events of the Atacama desert, Northern Chile.
This project involves collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago CDA (Dr Juan Garcia), Aberdeen (Professor Adrian Hartley), Bristol (Dr Laura Evenstar) and Glasgow (Professor Fin Stuart). The study will attempt, for the first time, to document newly discovered ?Pleistocene catastrophic flood deposits of the Central Depression of the Atacama Desert, Northern Chile.The research will evaluate the geographic distribution of the events and their magnitude. These data will be used to establish the flood event heritage in order to advance our existing knowledge of the nature of catastrophic flash flood events in hyper-arid catchments and thus the mitigation of modern events such as the Atacama 2015 floods.
British Society for Geomorphology and QuaternaryResearch Association (Research Grants). Outburst floods: their past and future role in shaping Iceland’s landscape
This project aims will evaluate and develop existing knowledge of outburst flood behaviour during deglaciation of plateau ice field systems in Iceland. Iceland provides a unique opportunity to constrain the age and distribution of events utilising tephrochronology and lichenometric approaches together with the 10th and 11th Century AD Icelandic Saga records.The project will reconstruct ice extent and likely peak flood magnitude events using a combination of available records together with remote and field study of selected late Pleistocene, and previously understudied ancient events (e.g.1362 Öræfajökull). Recent events will be used to calibrate reconstruction techniques. Combining these data with future projections of ice extent and thickness modelling will inform on the magnitude and routing of future outburst hazard distribution.
Have received previous funding from
• TUBITAK (Turkish equivalent of NERC)
• CONICYT (Chilean equivalent of NERC)
• British Society of Geomorphologists
• Royal Society
• National Geographic
• British Council
• British Academy
• Royal Geographical Society
• Quaternary Research Association
• Geological Society of London
• Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) University of Plymouth
• Portuguese government (funding as an international expert)
Key publications are highlightedJournals