Stephen Rice

Professor Stephen Rice

PhD (University of British Columbia)

  • Associate Dean (Research)
  • Professor of River Science

Academic career

  • 2018-present: Associate Dean (Research), School of Social Sciences & Humanities, Loughborough University
  • 2016-2018: Head of Department of Geography, Loughborough University
  • 2011-present: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor of River Science, Loughborough University
  • 1996: Ph.D. Geography, University of British Columbia
  • 1990: M.Sc. Geography, University of British Columbia
  • 1988: B.A. Geography, Oxford University, G.W. Gilbert Prize

Professional responsibilities

  • Previously: Bureau, International Association of Sedimentologists; Vice-Chair British Society for Geomorphology; NERC Peer Review College; Chief Editor Sedimentology
  • Currently: Editorial Board RGS-IBG Book Series; Editorial Board IAHR Journal of Ecohydraulics

Professor Stephen Rice gives his inaugural professorial lecture

Stephen is a fluvial geomorphologist interested in the physical processes at work in gravel-bed rivers and the interactions between fluvial processes and river ecosystems. His research has two main strands:

  • Ecogeomorphology, ecohydraulics and freshwater zoogeomorphology, particularly the role of biotic energy in driving and conditioning geomorphological processes in rivers and the interactions between organisms, sediment transport and near-bed hydraulics. This includes recent work on the zoogeomorphic roles of crayfish, freshwater fish and aquatic insect larvae using a combination of field investigations and experiments at Loughborough’s River Science Laboratory.
  • The sedimentary structures and size characteristics of gravelly, river-bed sediments including sediment sorting and water-worked structures, bar formation processes and the links between fluvial sediments and lotic ecology. This includes ongoing work on emergent rocks as a key oviposition resource for aquatic insects, recent work on fine sediment ingress into river beds and a longstanding interest in the role of “sedimentary links” and geomorphologically significant confluences in structuring and explaining sediment characteristics and biodiversity at network scales.

Professor Rice teaches undergraduate and MSc classes in physical geography, mainly in fluvial geomorphology and river science, including river management.

Professor Rice is excited to supervise students interested in the themes listed on his research page.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Richard Mason: “The geomorphic impact of cased caddis flies on sediment dynamics in gravel-bed rivers” (NERC funded), expected 2020
  • Harry Sanders: “Biotic and abiotic controls of burrowing by signal crayfish and the implications for sediment recruitment to rivers”, expected 2020
  • Bethany Worley: “Biocontrol of invasive crayfish using european eels and the implications for river geomorphology and flood risk” (EA funded), expected 2020
  • Amelia Bulcock: “The geomorphic and hydraulic impacts of complex weir removals: Evaluating risk in river restoration” (NERC funded), expected 2019

Recent postgraduate research students

  • Dr James Smith (2019) “Ecosystem engineering by Bream in lowland rivers”
  • Dr Kate Mathers (2017) “Signal crayfish impacts on fauna and fine sediment dynamics in lowland rivers”
  • Dr Andrew Pledger (2015) “Zoogeomorphology of selected UK freshwater fish”
  • Dr Richard Gravelle (2014) “Temporal variability of meltwater and sediment transfer dynamics at an Arctic glacier, Storglaciären, Northern Sweden”
  • Mason R, Rice SP, Wood PJ, Johnson MF (Accepted, May 2019) The zoogeomorphology of case-building caddisfly: quantifying sediment use, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4670
  • Mathers K, Rice SP, Wood PJ (2019) Predator, prey and substrate interactions – the role of faunal activity and substrate characteristics, Ecosphere, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2545
  • Rice SP, Pledger AG, Toone JA, Mathers K (2019) Zoogeomorphological behaviours in fish and the impact of benthic feeding on bed material mobility in fluvial landscapes, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 44: 54-66,  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4541
  • Mathers K, Rice SP, Wood PJ (2017) Temporal effects of enhanced fine sediment loading on macroinvertebrate community structure and faunal traits. Science of the Total Environment 599: 513-522
  • Rice SP. (2017) Tributary connectivity, confluence aggradation and network biodiversity, Geomorphology, 27: 6-16 10.1016/j.geomorph.2016.03.027
  • 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
  • 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
  • Toone JA, Rice SP and Piegay H. (2014) Spatial discontinuity and temporal evolution of channel morphology along a mixed bedrock-alluvial river: contingent responses to external and internal controls. Geomorphology 205: 5-16