Contact Dr Robert Grabowski
Areas of expertise
- Natural Capital
- Sustainable Land Systems
- Water Science and Engineering
Dr Robert (Bob) Grabowski is an
interdisciplinary scientist specialising in the interactions between physical
processes, ecological communities and humans within river-floodplain systems.
Bob leads a variety of pure and applied research projects in fluvial
geomorphology, aquatic ecology, and integrated land and water management.
core area of his research is fine sediment erosion and transport. He uses a
broad range of tools and approaches to quantify erosion from land surfaces,
transport fluxes and dynamics through river networks, and ecological impacts in
rivers and floodplains, including remote sensing data, field surveys and
monitoring, laboratory experiments, and hydrological and hydraulic modelling. This
work includes fundamental research on cohesion to develop transferable
predictive models of erosion thresholds and rates for cohesive sediment
More recently, Bob has begun to link geomorphology processes in
river/floodplains with social and economic issues to support the attainment of
sustainable development goals (NERC) and the development of new participatory
models of governance (AHRC).
Bob received a BSc in Biology (Illinois Wesleyan University), an MSc in Marine Biology (University of Maine – Orono), and a PhD in Physical Geography (Queen Mary, University of London). He was a Research Fellow on the EU-funded project REFORM (Restoring rivers FOR effective catchment Management). He joined Cranfield as Lecturer in Catchment Science in 2014, and has since contributed actively to teaching in the Water MSc programme (course director, module convenors, lecturing) and research through funding from UKRI (NERC, EPSRC, & AHRC), European Commission, government agencies, and industry. For more details, see the Current Activities section.
For funded research opportunities, please see the
University's current listing (https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/research-opportunities). Self-funded students or those with funding from their home country are invited to contact Bob to discuss their PhD or MRes research plans
The Water Science Institute welcomes visiting students and
academics. If you are interested in a short internship or secondment and have
funding to cover your travel and living expenses, please get in touch by email.
Bob and researchers in his group are working on a range of topics in fluvial geomorphology, aquatic ecology and catchment science.
Current and recent projects include:
Defragmenting the fragmented urban landscape (DEFRAG) (Natural Environment Research Council - UKRI, NE/W003031/1, 2021-2025, Co-Investigator)
The future of Rights of Nature: an interdisciplinary scoping analysis (Arts and Humanities Research Council - UKRI, AH/V00574X/1, 2020-2021, Co-Investigator)
Improved prediction of cohesive sediment erosion based on inter-particle forces (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - UKRI, EP/T001100/1, 2020-2022, Primary Investigator)
Social, economic and environmental trade-offs in managing the land-river-interface (Natural Environment Research Council - UKRI, NE/S01232X/1, 2019 - 2022, Primary Investigator)
HypoTRAIN: Hyporheic Zone Processes – A training network for enhancing the understanding of complex physical, chemical and biological process interactions (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, European Commission, 2015-2018, Institutional Lead)
Current research students
Jae hun Shin - Impacts of climate change of suspended sediment dynamics in rivers (PhD, 2020 - 2023)
Ben Exton - Transport, fate and aquatic ecological impact of airport de-icers (PhD, Heathrow Airport, CENTA2 DTP, NERC, 2019-2023)
Previous research students
Dr Katy Wiltshire - Tracing the origin of sediments and carbon across the terrestrial-aquatic continuum (PhD, STARS CDT, NERC/BBSRC, 2018-2022). First position: Research Associate, Cranfield University.
Dr Selena Zang - Hydrological and contaminant transport modelling of permeable paving sustainable urban drainage systems (PhD, 2017-2021). First position: Civil Engineer, Arup.
Dr Emily Dowdeswell - Feedback
mechanisms on soil susceptibility to erosion processes in a changing climate
(PhD, STARS CDT, NERC/BBSRC, 2016-2020). First position: Policy Advisor at
the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Dr Charles Mazivanhanga - Near real-time correction of flood forecasting using high-resolution satellite data for multi-hazard risk assessment in lowland tropical regions (PhD, DREAM CDT, NERC/ESRC, 2016 – 2019)
Dr Mickaël Dubois - Eco-hydromorphology applied to fish communities of chalk stream and management perspectives (PhD, Affinity Water and Environment Agency, 2016-2019)
Dr Chiara Magliozzi - Hydroecological investigations on the hyporheic zone to support river management from reaches to catchments (PhD, Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN, 2015-2018). First position: National Research Council of Italy CNR-Pisa
Dr Kim Vercruysse - Processes controlling the sources and transport dynamics of suspended sediment in rivers (PhD, Arup and Leeds City Council, 2014-2017). First position: Postdoctoral researcher, University of Leeds
- Affinity Water
- Anglian Water
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC - UKRI)
- Canal and River Trust
- Central Bedfordshire Council
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC - UKRI)
- Environment Agency
- European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN)
- Heathrow Airport
- Leeds City Council / Arup
- Luton Borough Council
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC - UKRI)
- Mott MacDonald
Articles In Journals
- Azhoni A, Holman I & Grabowski RC (2022) Identifying evolving priorities in national river governance from Parliamentary Questions, Water Policy, Available online 02 September 2022.
- Beale J, Grabowski RC, Lokidor PL, Vercruysse K & Simms DM (2022) Vegetation cover dynamics along two Himalayan rivers: drivers and implications of change, Science of the Total Environment, 849 (November) Article No. 157826.
- Vercruysse K, Grabowski RC, Holman I, Azhoni A, Bala B, Meersmans J, Peng J, Shankar V, Mukate S, Poddar A, Wang X & Zhang Z (2022) Placed-based interpretation of the sustainable development goals for the land-river interface, Sustainability Science, 17 (4) 1695-1714.
- Wang X, Peng J, Luo Y, Qiu S, Dong J, Zhang Z, Vercruysse K, Grabowski RC & Meersmans J (2022) Exploring social-ecological impacts on trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services, Ecological Economics, 197 (July) Article No. 107438.
- Grabowski RC, Vercruysse K, Holman I, Azhoni A, Bala B, Shankar V, Beale J, Mukate S, Poddar A, Peng J & Meersmans J (2022) The land-river interface: a conceptual framework of environmental process interactions to support sustainable development, Sustainability Science, Available online 13 May 2022.
- Wiltshire C, Glendell M, Waine TW, Grabowski RC & Meersmans J (2022) Assessing the source and delivery processes of organic carbon within a mixed land use catchment using a combined n-alkane and carbon loss modelling approach, Journal of Soils and Sediments, 22 (May) 1629-1642.
- Chen W, Muller P, Grabowski R & Dodd N (2022) Green nourishment: an innovative nature-based solution for coastal erosion, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8 Article No. 814589. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.17005480
- Chen WL, Grabowski RL & Goel S (2022) Clay swelling: role of cations in stabilizing/destabilizing mechanisms, ACS Omega, 7 (4) 3185-3191. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.15049314
- Chazdon RL, Falk DA, Banin LF, Wagner M, Wilson S, Grabowski RC & Suding KN (2021) The intervention continuum in restoration ecology: rethinking the active-passive dichotomy, Restoration Ecology, Available online 21 August 2021 Article No. e13535.
- Vercruysse K & Grabowski RC (2021) Human impact on river planform within the context of multi-timescale river channel dynamics in a Himalayan river system, Geomorphology, 381 (May) Article No. 107659.
- Cornacchia L, Wharton G, Davies G, Grabowski RC, Temmerman S, van der Wal D, Bouma TJ & van de Koppel J (2020) Self-organization of river vegetation leads to emergent buffering of river flows and water levels, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287 (1931) Article No. 20201147.
- Magliozzi C, Meyer A, Usseglio-Polatera P, Robertson A & Grabowski RC (2020) Investigating invertebrate biodiversity around large wood: taxonomic vs functional metrics, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 82 (4) Article No. 69. Dataset/s: https://doi.org/10.17862/cranfield.rd.7539305.v1
- Vercruysse K, Grabowski RC, Hess T & Lexartza-Artza I (2020) Linking temporal scales of suspended sediment transport in rivers: towards improving transferability of prediction, Journal of Soils and Sediments, 20 (12) 4144-4159. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.5903923
- Vercruysse K & Grabowski RC (2019) Temporal variation in suspended sediment transport: linking sediment sources and hydro-meteorological drivers, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 44 (13) 2587-2599. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.5903923
- Magliozzi C, Coro G, Grabowski R, Packman AI & Krause S (2019) A multiscale statistical method to identify potential areas of hyporheic exchange for river restoration planning, Environmental Modelling & Software, 111 (January) 311-323.
- Magliozzi C, Usseglio-Polatera P, Meyer A & Grabowski RC (2019) Functional traits of hyporheic and benthic invertebrates reveal importance of wood-driven geomorphological processes to rivers, Functional Ecology, 33 (9) 1758-1770. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.7539305.v1
- Grabowski R, Gurnell A, Burgess-Gamble L, England J, Holland D, Klaar M, Morrissey I, Uttley C & Wharton G (2019) The current state of the use of large wood in river restoration and management, Water and Environment Journal, 33 (3) 366-377.
- Cornacchia L, Folkard AM, Davies G, Grabowski R, van de Koppel J, van der Wal D, Wharton G, Puijalon S & Bouma T (2019) Plants face the flow in V-formation: a study of plant patch alignment in streams, Limnology and Oceanography, 64 (3) 1087-1102.
- Lewandowski J, Arnon S, Banks E, Batelaan O, Betterle A, Broecker T, Coll C, Drummond JD, Gaona Garcia J, Galloway J, Gomez-Velez J, Grabowski RC, Herzog SP, Hinkelmann R, Höhne A, Hollender J, Horn MA, Jaeger A, Krause S, Prats AL, Magliozzi C, Meinikmann K, Mojarrad BB, Mueller BM, Peralta-Maraver I, Popp AL, Posselt M, Putschew A, Radke M, Raza M, Riml J, Robertson A, Rutere C, Schaper JL, Schirmer M, Schulz H, Shanafield M, Singh T, Ward AS, Wolke P, Wörman A & Wu L (2019) Is the hyporheic zone relevant beyond the scientific community?, Water (Switzerland), 11 (11) Article No. 2230.
- Magliozzi C, Grabowski R, Packman AI & Krause S (2018) Toward a conceptual framework of hyporheic exchange across spatial scales, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22 (12) 6163-6185.
- Vercruysse K & Grabowski RC (2018) Using source-specific models to test the impact of sediment source classification on sediment fingerprinting, Hydrological Processes, 32 (22) 3402-3415. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.5903923
- Marcinkowski P, Grabowski R & Okruszko T (2017) Controls on anastomosis in lowland river systems: towards process-based solutions to habitat conservation, Science of the Total Environment, 609 (December) 1544-1555.
- Vercruysse K, Grabowski RC & Rickson RJ (2017) Suspended sediment transport dynamics in rivers: multi-scale drivers of temporal variation, Earth-Science Reviews, 166 (March) 38-52.
- Janes VJ, Grabowski R, Mant J, Allen D, Morse JL & Hayes H (2017) The impacts of natural flood management approaches on in-channel sediment quality, River Research and Applications, 33 (1) 89-101. Dataset/s: 10.17639/nott.29
- Bizzi S, Demarchi L, Grabowski RC, Weissteiner CJ & Van de Bund W (2016) The use of remote sensing to characterise hydromorphological properties of European rivers, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1) 57-70.
- Gurnell AM, Rinaldi M, Belletti B, Bizzi S, Blamauer B, Braca G, Buijse AD, Bussettini M, Camenen B, Comiti F, Demarchi L, Garcia de Jalon D, Gonzalez del Tanago M, Grabowski RC, Gunn IDM, Habersack H, Hendriks D, Henshaw AJ, Klosch M, Lastoria B, Latapie A, Marcinkowski P, Martinez-Fernandez V, Mosselman E, Mountford JO, Nardi L, Okruszko T, O’Hare MT, Palma M, Percopo C, Surian N, van de Bund W, Weissteiner C & Ziliani L (2016) A multi-scale hierarchical framework for developing understanding of river behaviour to support river management, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1) 1-16.
- Grabowski RC & Gurnell AM (2016) Diagnosing problems of fine sediment delivery and transfer in a lowland catchment, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1) 95-106.
- Camenen B, Grabowski RC, Latapie A, Paquier A, Solari L & Rodrigues S (2016) On the estimation of the bed-material transport and budget along a river segment: application to the Middle Loire River, France, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1) 71-81.
- Grabowski RC & Gurnell AM (2016) Hydrogeomorphology-ecology interactions in river systems, River Research and Applications, 32 (2) 139-141.
- Gurnell AM, Corenblit D, Garcia de Jalon D, Gonzalez del Tanago M, Grabowski RC, O'Hare MT & Szewczyk M (2015) A conceptual model of vegetation-hydrogeomorphology interactions within river corridors, River Research and Applications, 32 (2).
- Gurnell AM & Grabowski RC (2015) Vegetation-hydrogeomorphology interactions in a low-energy, human-impacted river, River Research and Applications, 32 (2).
- Summers MF, Holman IP & Grabowski RC (2015) Adaptive management of river flows in Europe: A transferable framework for implementation, Journal of Hydrology, 531 (3) 696-705.
- Grabowski RC, Surian N & Gurnell AM (2014) Characterizing geomorphological change to support sustainable river restoration and management, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 1 (5) 483-512.
- Grabowski RC, Wharton G, Davies GR & Droppo IG (2012) Spatial and temporal variations in the erosion threshold of fine riverbed sediments, Journal of Soils and Sediments, 12 (7) 1174-1188.
- Grabowski RC, Droppo IG & Wharton G (2011) Erodibility of cohesive sediment: The importance of sediment properties, Earth-Science Reviews, 105 (3-4) 101-120.
- Grabowski RC, Droppo IG & Wharton G (2010) Estimation of critical shear stress from cohesive strength meter-derived erosion thresholds, Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 8 678-685.
- Grabowski RC, Windholz T & Chen Y (2005) Estimating exploitable stock biomass for the Maine green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) fishery using a spatial statistics approach, Fishery Bulletin, 103 (2) 320-330.
- Grabowski R & Chen Y (2004) Incorporating uncertainty into the estimation of the biological reference points F0.1 and Fmax for the Maine green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) fishery, Fisheries Research, 68 (1-3) 367-371.
- Wiltshire C, Waine T, Grabowski R, Glendell M, Thornton B, Addy S & Meersmans J (2022) Assessing the source and delivery of organic carbon at a catchment scale using a combined sediment fingerprinting and carbon loss modelling approach. In: EGU General Assembly, 2022, Vienna, 23-27 May 2022.
- Chen W, Grabowski R & Goel S (2022) Modelling short-range interaction of clay particles to improve erodibility prediction. In: EGU General Assembly, 2022, Vienna, 23-27 May 2022.
- Vercruysse K & Grabowski B (2021) Quantifying how hydrological and geomorphical dynamics in the land-river interface create opportunities and trade-offs for sustainable development. In: EGU General Assembly, 2021, Virtual Event, 19-30 April 2021.
- Wiltshire K, Glendell M, Waine T, Grabowski R, Thornton B & Meersmans J (2021) From field to stream: Tracing streambed organic carbon origins at a catchment scale. In: EGU General Assembly, 2021, Virtual Event, 19-30 April 2021.
- Gurnell AM & Grabowski RC (2020) An example application of the CEN Water quality — Guidance standard for assessing the hydromorphological features of rivers to the River Frome, Dorset, Southern England. Wallingford, UK: UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, ed. 1.
- Grabowski RC & Gurnell AM (2016) Using historical data in fluvial geomorphology. In: Tools in fluvial geomorphology. G.M. Kondolf and H. Piegay (ed.), Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 56-75.
- Gurnell AM, Gonzalez del Tanago M, Rinaldi M, Grabowski R, Henshaw A, O’Hare M, Belletti B & Bujise AD (2014) Development and application of a multi-scale process-based framework for the hydromorphological assessment of European rivers. In: Engineering Geology for Society and Territory, Springer International Publishing Switzerland, p. 339-342.
- Grabowski RC (2014) Measuring the shear strength of cohesive sediment in the field. In: Geomorphological techniques, Oxford: British Society for Geomorphology, ed. Online.