Professor David Gilvear
Professor of River Science
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
- Catchment science and management
- Fluvial geomorphology
- River restoration
- River management
- Wetland hydrology
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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)
BSc Geography (1st class University of Southampton)
PhD Sediment transport in regulated rivers (University of Loughborough).
I moved to Geography at Plymouth University in September 2013 after 22 years in Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Stirling, Scotland. Previously a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and Geography Teacher at King Edward VI School Southampton
International Society of River Science (President)
British Society for Geomorphology
British Hydrological Society
Roles on external bodies
IUCN/NCUK expert "River restoration and biodiversity"
Member of SNH Scottish Beaver-Salmonid Working Group
SNH Monitoring of hydrology and physical habitat for the Scottish Beaver Trial
International Society of River Science (Steering Group and President 2015-2018)
Leader of International Society of River Science working group on "Ecosystem goods and services of river landscapes" (2015-18)
ISRS International Conference 2017 and 2019 - Organising Committee
Chairman of Board of Directors of UK River Restoration Centre
Member of Advisory Group of SEPA Flood Risk Science Traineeship scheme
Advisor to WWF (Scotland) Wild Rivers Programme
Advisor on remote sensing to University of Melbourne and Murray-Darling Basin Commission
NERC - Reviewer of Taught Masters programmes in Aquatic Sciences and Environmental 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)
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
GGX3203 Work-based learning in Geography
APIE305 Work Placement in Geography (Module Leader)
MSc (Environmental Consultancy and Sustainable Environmental Management)
GEES518 - Professional Experience Environmental Management (Module Leader)
GEES 515-Professional Practice in the Environmental Sector
Staff serving as external examiners
Current external examiner commitments (2018)
Summary of past commitments (pre 2018)
University of Dundee - MSc In Catchment Hydrology and Management (2013-16)
Recent PhD External examinations
- Megan Klaar (University of Birmingham)
- Emma Quinlan (University of Aberdeen)
- Laura Watkin (University of Southampton)
- Antonia Rocha (University of Monash)
- Janina Gray (University of Westminster)
- Alejandra Grecia Garcia Lugo (University of Queen Mary)
External BSC, MSc, MRes: Physical Geography external examiner for Kings College London BSc programmes (2005-2008) and University of Birmingham (2010-2013). External examiner to the MSc in Integrated Environmental Studies at Southampton University (2005-2008), MRes in Environmental Management at Southampton University (2005-2008). MSc by Research in Physical Geography at Queen Mary’s London (2005-8). External reviewer of the new suite of MScs in Environmental Management at Southampton University (2006).
I am a central part of the Catchment and River Science Group (http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/ceres) at Plymouth. My background is in fluvial geomorphology and hydrology but I now view myself as a river scientist. This is reflected in me recently having beien the President of the International Society of River Science. River science examines the interaction between hydrology, geomorphology and ecology in riverine ecosystems with the ultimate aim of informing and enhancing river managment and rehabilitation. My specific interest lies in understanding the behaviour of natural river systems, how river systems are impacted by human activity and how better we can manage river systems to meet the needs of the river environment and society in the 21st century. At times I also have been involved in research and knowledge exchange relating to wetland water budget quantification, vulnerability of wetlands to groundwater abstraction and dissolved organic carbon loss from peatlands affected by windfarm development.
Research highlights include:
- Pioneering the use of airborne remote sensing for mapping instream habitat and bathymetry.
- Early work on wetland water balance quantification in fens fed by groundwater.
- Showcasing the "natural recovery" of a wandering gravel bed river from hydromophic alteration; River Tummel research
- Development of conceptual approaches to understanding and mapping the multiple benefits of river rehabilitation and intact river system
- examining the dynamics of gravel movement following gravel augmentation programmes
Key areas of interest
Channel morphological dynamics to natural and human drivers
Quantifying river heterogeneity at multiple scales
Mapping and assessing river ecosystem services at reach and network scales
Remote sensing of rivers (Bathymetry, instream habitat and floodplain mosaics)
River rehabilitation - conceptual frameworks and post project monitoring.
Current and recent research students
Maarten Wynants - Soil erosion, sediment dynamics and ecosystem services in the Lake Manyara catchment, Tanzania (Will Blake Lead supervisor) (Expected thesis completion 2019)
Victoria Keele - River ecosystem service supply and demand on Scottish rivers (SNH funded) (Expected thesis completion 2019)
Clare Bithell - Riverine Ecosystems service mapping and assessment (Expected thesis completion 2019);
Fiona Thompson - Channel adjustment and fluvial hazards in Scotland.in response to climatically induced increases on flood magnitude and frequency (SNH/SEPA funded - PHD awarded 2017)
Ben Smith - Carbon fluxes and hydrological change due to wind farm development and moorland restoration (University of Glasgow, Passed viva 2016)
In total I have supervised or co-supervised 24 PhD students to completion
At Stirling in 2005 I set up and was the Director of the Centre for River Ecosystem Science (CRESS). This was submitted by Stirling University as an impact study for REF2014.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
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.
Grants & contracts
Research Funding (post 2007; excluding CRESS funding <£10K))
July 2007 NERC airborne remote sensing award. Award of LiDAR flight River Tummel
January 2007 SNH; £58,750 Hyporheos meiofauna of Scottish rivers; pilot project prior to SNH
Funded studentship. With Dr Phillip Boon, Dr Nigel Willby and Simon
Rundle (Plymouth University).
October 2007 Scottish Power £42,000: Sediment and dissolved organic carbon loss impacts
from wind farm development; River Stinchar SAC, Funded PhD (£50K from Scottish Power) also starts October 2008.
September 2007 Murray Darling Basin Commission. AUS $40,000. Feasibility of fluvial surveillance
audit using remote sensing; a pilot investigation. With Michael Stewardson,
University of Melbourne.
January 2008 SEPA, £21000 Catchment scale river restoration in Scotland
July 2009 NERC knowledge transfer grant Carbon Landscape and Drainage (2008-2011 -
£240000) with Ian Grieve
September 2009 Memorandum of agreement for 5 years of baseline monitoring in connection with
SWT/RZSS beaver reintroduction trial (£60,000 approx).
August 2010 SNH/SEPA studentship. Channel adjustment and fluvial hazards in Scotland in
response to climatically induced increases on flood magnitude and
frequency. (worth £48000)
January 2011 Carnegie Travel Grant. Application of LiDAR to the measurement of channel
heterogeneity, Murray-Darling. In connection with visiting research fellow at
University of New England, Australia £2000.
January 2011 University of New England grant (with M.Thoms UNE), Application of LiDAR to
the measurement of channel heterogeneity, Murray-Darling $8000.
September 2012 Hydromorphology of River Mashie. Cairngorm National Park Authority £12000
January 2014 National Farmers Union of Scotland; River flooding on farmland and flood
defence measures (£2000)
March 2014 ISSR Automated mapping of ecosystem services on rivers.
September 2015 SNH River ecosystem services in Scotland £55K
November 2016 NERC Social-ecological resilience to soil erosion during extreme events: East Africa £199K (Co-I led by Will Blake)
September 2018 West Country rivers Trust - Gravel monitoring on the River Avon, Devon (approx £12K
August 2018 West Country rivers Trust - Gravel monitoring below Sutton Bingham reservoir, Devon (approx £12K)
October 2018 Global Challenges Research Fund Hub bid (Named investigator - led by Will Blake) -£850K to Plymouth)
Key publications are highlightedJournals
International Conference on Riverine Hydroecology including 10th International Symposium on Regulated Streams (TISORS II) and 2nd International conference on Wood in World Rivers (ISWWR II). University of Stirling
Member of Scientific Committee to 3rd International Society for River Science Symposium "Achieving Healthy and Viable Rivers", Beijing, China, 2013.
Member of the scientific committee, International Symposium on Ecohydraulics, University of Melbourne, February 2016
Other academic activities
Member of the Editorial Board of River Research and Applications
January 2011 Visiting research fellow, School of Civil Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia
Feb-April 2011 Visiting research fellow, School of Earth Science and Geography, University of
New England, Australia
Outdoor and sports enthusiast interested in football, rugby, tennis, hockey, skiing, kayaking, running and trekking/hillwalking. I am having to resign myself these day, given my age and being a father, to more watching and coaching than playing! My wish is to have visited as many countries as my age and to always run 10km in minutes equivalent to my age!