Professor Stephen Rice PhD (University of British Columbia)

Photo of Professor Stephen Rice

Head of Department

Professor of Physical Geography

Academic career

2011 onwards: Professor of River Science, Loughborough University. 
1995 - 2007: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Physical Geography, Loughborough University.

Professional responsibilities

2010 onwards: Chief Editor, Sedimentology
2010 - present: Member of the Bureau of the International Association of Sedimentologists
2008 - 2010: Vice-chair (Publications) British Society for Geomorphology
2007 - 2010: Associate Editor, Sedimentology
2006 -2009: NERC Peer Review College 
2003 -2010: Executive Committee of the British Geomorphological Research Group/British Society for Geomorphology .

I am a fluvial geomorphologist and sedimentologist, specialising in ecogeomorphology: the physical processes at work in gravel-bed rivers, the sediments and morphologies that those processes produce, and the two-way interactions with freshwater ecological process and patterns. Asking and answering questions in these arenas matters for developing a better understanding of how rivers work and for managing river ecosystems more effectively. Within these themes, recent and current research follows four strands.

  • Ecogeomorphology and freshwater zoogeomorphology - how fish and invertebrates, like crayfish and barbel, affect fluvial sediment transport processes, including work with the Environment Agency, Barbel Society and EC Hydralab IV consortium.
  • The structure and size characteristics of gravelly, river-bed sediments - recent (NERC) flume experiments have focused on the temporal evolution of bed material texture and how bed load intensity, sediment sorting and hydrograph shape affect the development of imbrication and other gravelly, bed structures.
  • The sedimentology, geomorphology and eco-hydraulics of gravel-bed rivers at patch and bar scales, including work on Fraser River, Canada.
  • The routing of sediment through river networks and the role of “sedimentary links” in structuring and explaining fluvial sediments and ecosystems, including work in the UK Peak District for Natural England.

Read about how crayfish impacts on geomorphology may be affecting flood risk in UK rivers.

My teaching examines river dynamics and river management.

Current postgraduate research students

Kate Mathers: Crayfish Impacts on fine sediment dynamics in lowland rivers
James Smith: Ecosystem engineering by Bream in lowland rivers
Amelia Bulcock: The geomorphic and hydraulic impacts of complex weir removals: Evaluating risk in river restoration

Recent postgraduate research students

Andrew Pledger (2015): Zoogeomorphology of selected UK freshwater fish

Rice SP, Johnson MF, Mathers K, Reeds J, Extence C (2016) The importance of biotic entrainment in base flow fluvial sediment transport, Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, 121, 890–906, doi:10.1002/2015JF003726 

Rice SP  (online April 2016) Tributary connectivity, confluence aggradation and network biodiversity, Geomorphology, 10.1016/j.geomorph.2016.03.027 

Mathers K, Wood PJ, Rice SP, Dunbar M, Extence C, Chadd R, Reeds J. (2016) The long-term effects of invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) on instream macroinvertebrate communities, Science of the Total Environment 556: 207-218. [

Mathers K, Chadd RP, Extence CA, Rice SP, Wood PJ (2016) The implications of an invasive species on the reliability of macroinverterbrate biomonitoring tools used in freshwater ecological assessments, Ecological Indicators 63: 23-28.

Pledger AG, Rice SP, Millet J (2016) Bed disturbance via foraging fish increases bedload transport during subsequent high flows and is controlled by fish size and species,Geomorphology 253: 83-93

Rice SP, Johnson MF, Reeds J, Extence C, Longstaff H (2014). Diel patterns of suspended sediment flux and the zoogeomorphic agency of invasive crayfish, Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica 40, 7-27

Johnson MF, Rice SP. (2014) Animal perception in gravel-bed rivers: Scales of sensing and environment controls on sensory information, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71, 945-957

Inaugural professorial lecture

Professor Stephen Rice gives his Inaugural Lecture, 'Seds, bugs and rocks that roll: how animals create habitat and landscapes'