The River, Watershed, and Landscape Dynamics Program builds upon the foundations of physical geography as an integrating science that examines the origins, contemporary development, and processes of the Earth’s natural and human-modified landscapes. All participating faculty place strong emphasis on the theoretical underpinnings of their research and teaching. The principal research themes of the program reflect the specialties of participating faculty and include the morphodynamics of rivers and streams, human impacts on river systems and stream restoration/naturalization, watershed hydrological processes and linkages between these processes and human activity, connections between the ecology and geomorphology of river systems, and biophysical remote sensing of forests and other plant communities.
Faculty and graduate students have strong connections to other departments and/or programs on campus, including water-related research programs in Geology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois State Water Survey, the Illinois Natural History Survey, and the Illinois Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. Accordingly, a high proportion of the research conducted in the program is interdisciplinary in nature. Resources for the program include an extensive set of equipment for measuring processes in watersheds, rivers, and streams; as well as state-of-the-art computer infrastructure for biophysical remote sensing.