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Heike JönsProfessor Ian Reid

B.A., Ph.D. (Hull)


Professor of Physical Geography



Tel : +44 (0)1509 222794
Fax: +44 (0)1509 223930


Martin Hall building, East Park



Research Interests


Arid-Zone River Hydrology and Sedimentology


This research stems from the 1970s when I made my first field expedition to dryland environments – at that time, semi-arid northern Kenya. The aims are to solve fundamental problems of sediment transport that bear implications for engineering management of river channels and water reservoirs. Present projects include an investigation of bedload sediment transport during the passage of flash floods in desert rivers in collaboration with Israeli geographers from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, particularly Jonathan Laronne, Yulia Alexandrov and Hai Cohen. A field station was established in the northern Negev Desert in the early 1990s and has now accrued more than a decade of data. The station deploys a number of sensors, in particular five large automatic bedload sediment monitoring devices of a type designed by me while at Birkbeck College, London. In addition, a detailed investigation of suspended sediment dynamics is continuing. Amongst other things, this has revealed the importance of rainfall storm-type (convectional, frontal) in determining the extremely high sediment yields of semi-arid environments.


Significant publications:


Laronne, J.B. & Reid, I. 1993. Very high bedload sediment transport in desert ephemeral rivers. Nature 366, 148-150.


Reid, I. & Laronne, J.B. 1995. Bedload sediment transport in an ephemeral stream and a comparison with seasonal and perennial counterparts. Water Resources Research 31, 773-781.


Reid, I., Powell, D.M. & Laronne, J.B. 1996. Prediction of bedload transport by desert flash-floods. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers 122, 170-173.


Reid, I., Laronne, J.B. & Powell, D.M. 1998. Flash-flood and bedload dynamics of desert gravel-bed streams. Hydrological processes 12, 543-557.


Powell, D.M., Reid, I & Laronne, J.B. 1999. Hydraulic interpretation of cross-stream variations in bed-load transport. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers 125, 1243-1252.


Powell, D.M., Reid, I, and Laronne, J.B. 2001. Evolution of bedload grain-size distribution with increasing flow strength and the effect of flow duration on the caliber of bedload sediment yield in ephemeral gravel-bed rivers. Water Resources Research 37, 1463-1474.


Alexandrov, Y., Laronne, J.B. and Reid, I., 2002. Suspended sediment concentration and its variation with water discharge in a dryland ephemeral channel, northern Negev, Israel. Journal of Arid Environments 53, 73-84.


Alexandrov, Y., Laronne, J.B. and Reid, I. 2007.  Intra-event and inter-seasonal behaviour of suspended sediment in flash floods of the semi-arid northern Negev, Israel.  Geomorphology 85, 85-97, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.03.013.


Garcia, C., Cohen, H., Reid, I., Rovira, A., Úbeda, X. and Laronne, J. B. 2007.  Processes of initiation of motion leading to bedload transport in gravel-bed rivers, Geophysical Research Letters 34, L06403, doi:10.1029/2006GL028865.


Alexandrov, Y., Cohen, H., Laronne, J.B. & Reid, I. 2009. Suspended Sediment Load, Bedload and Dissolved Load Yields from a Semi-Arid Drainage Basin: a 15-year Study. Water Resources Research 45, W08408, doi: 10.1029/2008WR007314. Cohen, H., Laronne, J.B. & Reid, I. 2011. Simplicity and complexity of bedload response during flash floods in a gravel-bed ephemeral river: a 10-year field study, Water Resources Research 46, W11542, doi:10.1029/2010WR009160



Temperate-Zone River Sediment Transport and Benthic Ecology


My interest in sediment transport in gravel-bed rivers goes back to the establishment of two permanent monitoring stations on Turkey Brook in southern England in the 1970s. It was here that six Birkbeck automatic bedload samplers were installed, along with two electromagnetic bedload initial motion sensors and two banks of interstice traps for assessing the flux of fine-grained bed matrices. Amongst a host of new findings, these revealed the complex nature of bedload response to hydraulic stress, the importance of pebble clusters in delaying sediment entrainment, the controls on matrix flux, etc. Other stations have been developed on other rivers, particularly the Rio Tordera in the Catalan Coastal Ranges, NE Spain, in association with Celso Garcia, Jonathan Laronne and Maria Sala, where fine-grain patches have been shown to exert considerable control over sediment supply to the bedload process. In addition to field-based projects, several laboratory flume studies are underway. These are designed variously to: (i) investigate details of flow structures which develop over organized gravel-bed microforms and in pocket patches in the hope of elucidating further the fundamental mechanics of sediment entrainment; (ii) examine bedload sediment transport pathways through the microtopography of gravel beds; and (iii) understand the use of inter-granular refugia by macro-invertebrates during spate.


Significant publications:


Brayshaw, A.C., Frostick, L.E. &  Reid, I.  1983.  The hydrodynamics of particle clusters and sediment entrainment in coarse alluvial channels. Sedimentology 30, 137-143.


Frostick, L.E., Lucas, P.M. &  Reid, I.  1984.  The infiltration of fine matrices into coarse-grained alluvial sediments and its implications for stratigraphical interpretation.  Journal Geological Society London  141, 955-965.


Reid, I., Frostick, L.E. & Layman, J.T.  1985.  The incidence and nature of bedload transport during flood flows in coarse-grained alluvial channels.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms  10, 33-44.


Reid, I. & Frostick, L.E.  1986.  Dynamics of bedload transport in Turkey Brook, a coarse-grained alluvial channel.  Earth Surface Processes & Landforms  11, 143-155.


Buffin-Bélanger, T., Rice, S., Reid, I. and Lancaster, J. 2006.  Spatial heterogeneity of near-bed hydraulics above a patch of river gravel.  Water Resources Research  doi: 10.1029/2005WR004070.


Lancaster, J., Buffin-Bélanger, T., Reid, I. and Rice, S. 2006.  Flow and substrate-mediated movement behaviour of a stream insect.  Freshwater Biology 51, 1053-1069, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2006.01554.x .


Johnson, M.F., Rice, S.P. and Reid, I. 2010. Topographic disturbance of subaqueous gravel substrates by signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus). Geomorphology 123, 269-278. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.07.018.



Automated Grain-Sizing of Natural Coarse Sediments


In association with David Graham and Steve Rice, I have had a long-standing interest in rapid, automated characterization of in situ river gravel grain-size, particularly in connection with predicting bedload sediment flux. The upshot has been the development of the Digital Gravelometer™. Further work is planned, including extension of the method for use in submerged locations.


Significant publications:


Graham, D.J., Reid, I. and Rice, S.P.  2005.  Automated sizing of coarse-grained sediments: Image-processing procedures. Mathematical Geology 37(1), DOI: 10.1007/s11004-x.


Graham, D.J., Rice, S.P. and Reid, I.  2005.  A transferable method for the automated grain sizing of river gravels.  Water Resources Research 41, DOI: 10.1029/2004/WR, ISSN 0043 1397.



Rift Sedimentation - Triassic North Sea, Pleistocene Dead Sea


This research area evolved from my long association with palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists in the East African Rift and the search for evidence of Early Man. It reflects my general interest in deserts and is attempting to apply the lessons that can be learnt in today's dryland rifts to those of the past. It has obvious connotations for hydrocarbon exploration, but the work in the Dead Sea Rift also bears implications for understanding the impact of future climate change on the world's drylands by establishing the changing patterns of rainfall-runoff that have resulted from previous long-term shifts in regional climate.


Significant publications:


Frostick, L.E., Reid, I., Jarvis, J. & Eardley, H. 1988. Triassic sediments of the    Inner Moray Firth, Scotland: early rift deposits. Journal Geological Society London 145, 235-248.


Frostick, L.E. & Reid, I. 1989. Climatic versus tectonic controls of fan sequences: lessons from the Dead Sea, Israel. Journal Geological Society London 146, 527-538.


Frostick, L.E. & Reid, I. 1990. Structural control of sedimentation patterns and implications for the economic potential of the East African rift basins. Journal African Earth Science 10, 307-318.


Frostick, L.E., Linsey, T.K. & Reid, I. 1992. Tectonic and climatic control of Triassic sedimentation in the Beryl Basin, northern North Sea. Journal Geological Society London 149, 13-26.


Reid, I. & Frostick, L.E. 1993. Late Pleistocene rhythmite sedimentation at the margin of the Dead Sea trough - a guide to palaeoflood frequency. In: Duck, R. & McManus, J. (eds.) Geomorphology and sedimentology of lakes and reservoirs. J. Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 259-273.



Agricultural and Forest Hydrology


This research has its roots in work carried out as far back as my doctoral research programme. It is of relevance to land management. Previous emphasis has been on the hydrology of cracking clay soils and the efficiency of underdrainage systems, though attention has also focused on other problem soils - specifically structure-poor silts - in collaborative work with the University of Plymouth. Links with BBSRC Silsoe Research Institute have involved an assessment of cropping strategies for soil and water conservation on deforested subtropical steeplands, Honduras, and the modelling of dryland soil water regimes. Ongoing work on forest hydrology involves collaboration with both the Forestry Commission and the University of Newcastle. Here, a large project has been evaluating the potential impact on water resources of the proposed afforestation of a significant fraction of England over the next 30 - 50 years (for details, see TaDPoLE).


Significant publications:


Reid, I. & Parkinson, R.J.  1984.  The nature of the tile-drain outfall hydrograph in heavy clay soils.  Journal of Hydrology 72, 289-305.


Reid, I. & Parkinson, R.J.  1984.  The wetting and drying of a grazed and ungrazed clay soil.  Journal Soil Science  35, 607-614.


Twomlow, S.J., Parkinson, R.J. & Reid, I. 1990. Soil loosening and drainage of structurally unstable silty soils. Journal of Hydrology 121, 63-83.


Twomlow, S.J., Parkinson, R.J. & Reid, I. 1994. Temporal changes in soil physical conditions after deep loosening of a silty clay loam in SW England. Soil & Tillage Research 31, 37-47.


Calder, I.R., Reid, I., Nisbet, T. and Green, J.C. 2003. Impact of lowland forests in England on water resources–application of the HYLUC model. Water Resources Research 39 (11), 1319, DOI: 10.1029/2003WR002042. ISSN 0043 1397.


Green, J.C., Reid, I., Calder, I.R. and Nisbet, T.R. 2006.  Four-year comparison of water contents beneath a grass ley and a deciduous oak wood overlying Triassic sandstone in lowland England.  Journal of Hydrology DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2006.02.004.

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