Contact Dr Robert Grabowski
Areas of expertise
Dr Robert (Bob) Grabowski is an interdisciplinary scientist specialising in the interactions between physical processes, ecological communities and humans within river-floodplain systems.
Bob’s background lies in quantitative aquatic ecology. He received a BSc in Biology (Illinois Wesleyan University) and an MSc in Marine Biology (University of Maine – Orono). His interest in biological-physical interactions, particularly for organisms living within and on the sediment bed, led him to fluvial geomorphology and a PhD investigating fine sediment transport processes in vegetated chalk streams (Queen Mary, University of London). Later, Bob was a Research Fellow on the EU-funded project REFORM (Restoring rivers FOR effective catchment Management), where he helped to develop an open-ended, pan-European framework to assess and monitor river hydromorphology in line with the Water Framework Directive. The REFORM website and wiki are an excellent resource of information on river restoration, hydromorphological assessment, and the ecological effectiveness of restoration (www.reformrivers.eu; wiki.reformrivers.edu). He joined Cranfield as Lecturer in Catchment Science in 2014.
Bob leads a variety of pure and applied research projects in fluvial geomorphology, aquatic ecology, and integrated land and water management. His expertise lies in fine sediment transport, for which 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.
Bob and his research students are working on a range of topics in fluvial geomorphology, aquatic ecology and catchment science. Current and recent projects include:
- Social, economic and environmental trade-offs in managing the land-river-interface (PI, NERC, Towards a Sustainable Earth, 2019 - 2021) - The project is investigating how land and river management can be harnessed to achieve sustainable development goals.
- Improved prediction of cohesive sediment erosion based on inter-particle forces (PI, EPSRC, 2020-2022)
Current research students
- Ben Exton - Transport, fate and aquatic ecological impact of airport de-icers (PhD CENTA2 DTP, NERC, 2019-2023)
- Katy Wiltshire - Tracing the origin of sediments and carbon across the terrestrial-aquatic continuum (PhD, STARS CDT, NERC/BBSRC, 2018-2022)
- Selena Zang - Hydrological and contaminant transport modelling of permeable paving sustainable urban drainage systems (PhD, 2017-2020)
- Emily Dowdeswell - Feedback mechanisms on soil susceptibility to erosion processes in a changing climate (PhD, STARS CDT, NERC/BBSRC, 2016-2020)
- 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)
- Mickaël Dubois - Eco-hydromorphology applied to fish communities of chalk stream and management perspectives (PhD, Affinity Water and Environment Agency, 2016-2019)
Previous research students
- Dr Chiara Magliozzi - Hydroecological investigations on the hyporheic zone to support river management from reaches to catchments (PhD, Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN, 2015-2018)
- Dr Kim Vercruysse - Processes controlling the sources and transport dynamics of suspended sediment in rivers (PhD, Arup and Leeds City Council, 2014p2017)
- Affinity Water
- Anglian Water
- Canal and River Trust
- Environment Agency
- European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN)
- Leeds City Council / Arup
- Luton Borough Council
Articles In Journals
- 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.
- 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
- Vercruysse K & Grabowski RC (2019) Temporal variation in suspended sediment transport: linking sediment sources and hydro-meteorological drivers, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Early online. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.5903923
- 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.
- 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 and Software, 111 (January) 311-323.
- 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
- 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 & 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
- 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.
- 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, 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 (2015) A multi-scale hierarchical framework for developing understanding of river behaviour to support river management, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1).
- Grabowski RC & Gurnell AM (2015) Diagnosing problems of fine sediment delivery and transfer in a lowland catchment, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1) 1-12.
- Bizzi S, Demarchi L, Grabowski RC, Weissteiner CJ & Van de Bund W (2015) The use of remote sensing to characterise hydromorphological properties of European rivers, Aquatic Sciences - Research Across Boundaries, 78 (1) 1-14.
- 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.
- 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.