Module Catalogues

Fluvial Systems: from headwaters to the coast

Module Title Fluvial Systems: from headwaters to the coast
Module Level Level 3
Module Credits 5.00
Academic Year 2020/21
Semester SEM1

Aims and Fit of Module

Fluvial systems are among the most dynamic systems on the planet. Understanding the structure, functions and processes of fluvial systems, and developing effective plans for their management, are crucial to our society. This module will provide a critical insight into the major components of fluvial systems, paying particular attention to geomorphic, hydrologic, and ecosystem processes, and human influences and management. The module will link abiotic and ecological processes in fluvial systems through lectures, discussions, practicals and fieldtrips. It will provide students with the fundamental knowledge and experience to help them understand (1) how fluvial systems operate, (2) how fluvial systems are impacted by anthropogenic influences, and (3) how fluvial system health can be restored and managed. This module aims to deliver an excellent background to fluvial systems and their management.

Learning outcomes

A. Have a critical understanding of how water flows and is stored in river catchment areas, how to deal with the measurement of particular hydrological processes, and understand the linkages between these processes.
B. Gain an understanding of relationships between (1) the structure of fluvial systems and the main forces and physical conditions that control the movement of water and sediment transport, (2) the longitudinal profile and changes in geomorphic, hydrologic and ecosystem processes, (3) an appreciation of research approaches used in fluvial systems
C. Improve data analysis, interpretation and presentation skills through analysing environmental and experimental data and writing scientific reports
D. Have an understanding of the impacts of human disturbances on the environmental state of fluvial systems from headwaters to the coast
E. Gain skills in providing reasoned suggestion, judgements, and possible solutions to particular river management and restoration problems

Method of teaching and learning

Lectures and tutorials are integrated, i.e. each lecture contains new theoretical topics, worked examples and opportunities for students to solve problems. Some lectures are used as pure tutorials. Coursework, which enable students to use the acquired knowledge in an integrated manner, are given in essential parts of the syllabus. Practical laboratory experiments and field-trip surveys are carried out by the students.
*Should the University decide to cancel or postpone the field trip due to unforeseen environmental and/or political circumstances, the Department will either plan an appropriate substitute activity to meet the intended learning outcomes of the trip or make necessary arrangements to organise the trip at a later time, as appropriate.