David Gilvear

Academic profile

Professor David Gilvear

Emeritus Professor
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. David's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 04: SDG 4 - Quality EducationGoal 06: SDG 6 - Clean Water and SanitationGoal 07: SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean EnergyGoal 11: SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGoal 14: SDG 14 - Life Below WaterGoal 15: SDG 15 - Life on LandGoal 17: SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

About David

Research, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in field of physical geography, river science and environmental science and management.
Catchment and River Science (CARIS) research group at Plymouth.
Academic Lead on Taught Postgraduate Programmes for the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science (formerly academic lead for Employability)

Supervision of postgraduate research students

Supervised Research Degrees

Recently awarded PhDs (post 2010)

Victoria Milner (2011) Assessing the geomorphic and ecological validity of geomorphic river typing

Antoine Kerusore (2012) Aquatic vegetation processes in a floodplain-river system and the influence of lateral dynamics and connectivity

Melanie van Niekirk (2013) Carbon dynamics under changing land use from upland forestry to windfarm.

Ed Nelson (2014) - Hydropower development since 1942 in Scotland – a historical and environmental analysis. 

Alan Law (2014) - Effects of beaver reintroduction on rivers and lochs in Scotland 

Fiona Thompson (2017) - Changing flood frequency in Scotland: implications for channel geomorphology, ecology and management.


I use my expertise and enthusiasm to teach the subjects and embedding generic employability skills into these subject:

  • Fluvial geomorphology and hydrology (particularly channel dynamics and suspended sediment transport)
  • 21st century river conservation and management
  • Remote sensing of rivers
  • River rehabilitation (channel design, environmental monitoring and ecosystem service assessment and mapping)
  • Ecosystem services
  • Wetland hydrology (including impacts of groundwater abstraction and dissolved organic carbon)
Through my teaching I have the following objectives.

1. To provide an up-to-date scientific understanding of hydrology, fluvial geomorphology and management issues with regard to river and catchment systems as a basis for students gaining employability in environmental consultancy, management and regulation.

2. To use a range of innovative teaching methods including lectures, student presentations, computer packages, individual and group practical exercises and fieldwork.

3. To provide students with advanced technical skills to investigate hydrological, geomorphological and environmental management related problems to enhance their employability.

4. To incorporate my pure and applied research into my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to provide real world case studies. This includes introducing students to new technologies (e.g. remote sensing for investigating hydrology and geomorphology).

5. To provide students with knowledge and skills to make them highly employable in the environmental sector through specialist knowledge, work experience opportunities including placements and generic skills

Modules (2018/19)


GGX1200 Geography Matters GGX1201 Introducing Geography 1 GGP1202 Introducing Physical Geography 1 (Module Leader) GGX2202 Principles and Applications in Geography 2 GGX3200 Dissertation in Geography GGP3200 Restoring Freshwater Environments GGX3201 Advanced Fieldwork in Geography GGX2202 Fieldwork in Geography
GGX3203 Work-based learning in Geography
APIE305 Work Placement in Geography (Module Leader) APIE205 Preparation for Work Placement in Geography (Module Leader)

MSc (Environmental Consultancy and Sustainable Environmental Management)

GEES505 - Sustainable Management of Freshwater Ecosystems
GEES518 - Professional Experience Environmental Management (Module Leader)
GEES 515-Professional Practice in the Environmental Sector GEES519 - Environmental knowledge : from field to stakeholder GEES520 MSc dissertation

Contact David

B417 Portland Square, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
+44 1752 584985