Faculty & Staff

UO River Group Faculty & Staff

Mark Fonstad, Associate Professor

mark-fonstadInterests: fluvial geomorphology, watershed and stream hydrology, interconnections between physical geography and GIScience, river management

I am associate professor of Geography at the University of Oregon where I have taught since 2011. I actively work on research involving the spatial structuring and dynamics of river and mountain environments, the interconnections between rivers and their surrounding landscapes and populations. I have also worked on developing new techniques for monitoring rivers, analyzing the causes for change, and simulating riverscape dynamics. I work at a range of scales from millimeters (3D particle size mapping with photogrammetry) to continents (via my work on the NASA SWOT satellite hydrology mission group). Many of my past and current projects are of areas on the American West, including the Willamette Valley and High Cascade areas of Oregon, Yellowstone National Park, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. I have also worked on river-related projects in Texas, Wisconsin, and Scotland. the primary aims of my work are to develop river science for watershed management, produce river observation and analysis techniques that are easy and inexpensive to use by many people, and to provide geographic education for a wide range of audiences. In the Department of Geography, I regularly teach The Natural Environment, Hydrology and Water Resources, Remote Sensing, and the graduate class sequence related to the Nature, History, and Philosophy of Geography. At UO, I have also taught classes on Mountain Geography, the Willamette Riverscape, and the Physical Geography of Oregon. I helped to develop the university’s “Mapping with Drones” class.

Pat McDowell, Professor

Interests:  fluvial geomorphology, historical changes in river systems, human impacts on river systems, river restoration

I’ve been a faculty member at University of Oregon since 1982.  My past work includes Quaternary fluvial and eolian geomorphology, soils-geomorphology and geoarchaeology.  My current research focuses on processes of channel and floodplain change using historical sources, monitoring effectiveness of river restoration projects, human impacts on rivers, and channel-vegetation interactions.  I have done field work in most parts of Oregon, as well as Wisconsin, New England and Alaska.

I teach GEOG 322: Geomorphology, GEOG 4/527: Fluvial Geomorphology, and GEOG 360: Watershed Science and Policy, as well as graduate seminars, field methods, and topical courses.  Policy aspects of geomorphology, rivers, and watersheds are interwoven into much of my teaching.  I take an interdisciplinary approach to my teaching and research in fluvial geomorphology, incorporating aquatic ecology, fisheries management, and human/policy aspects.

Andrew Marcus, Professor

andrew1I work with students studying disturbance impacts on the hydrology, geomorphology and riparian vegetation of streams, and on methods for documenting and modeling those impacts. Much of this work and that of my students has been in the Yellowstone ecosystem and in mountain environments. I supervise student work in the following general research areas: (1) disturbance impacts on stream habitats, (2) hydraulic, geomorphic, and sediment transport processes in streams, (3) Remote sensing, mapping and modeling of streams and riparian vegetation, (4) fate and effects of mining sediments in stream systems, (5) Environmental education.


Aaron Zettler-Mann, Post-doctoral Researcher

aaronInterests: fluvial geomorphology, river restoration, anthropogenic impacts on fluvial environments, Structure-from-Motion, community engagement

My post-doctoral research project is funded by a National Science Foundation EAGER grant in collaboration with Mark Fonstad (University of Oregon) and James Dietrich (University of Northern Iowa). Together, we are developing and testing a suite of tools which can be used monitor fluvial systems at high spatial resolutions at full-river spatial extents. There are two platforms, a drone boat which can be operated autonomously or pulled behind a larger boat, and large cataraft. The suite of tools include geomorphic measures of channel form and hydrologic characteristics. The research project seeks to develop the drone boat sensor suite so that it can be operated by volunteer scientists, such as members of a watershed council, conservation group or local paddling club. This enhances a groups ability to collect meaningful data for the rivers they are interested in. Data collected by the volunteer scientists will be compared to the data collected by us, as trained professionals to differences in accuracy and precision.

Associated Faculty

Patrick Bartlein
Scott Bridgham
Shaul Cohen
Dan Gavin
David Hulse
Alec Murphy
Josh Roering

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