Aaron Zettler-Mann

I have been playing and working in and around rivers for more than half my life.  My personal interest in rivers has morphed into an academic interest, first completing a masters degree at the University of Denver (2014) and currently as a post doctoral researcher at the University of Oregon.

My azm_riverfun_smallresearch interests are related to how people interact with fluvial systems as they pertain to river morphology, at reach to watershed scales.  I am  interested in the development of methods for the generation of high resolution data in fluvial settings, including DEMs and digital gravelometry. I focus on using Structure-from-Motion and other optical remote sensing techniques.  I completed my M.A. at the University of Denver.  My thesis used digital photogrammetry to quantify changes in river bar morphology along a popular whitewater run, in some cases correlating river erosion with recreational river uses.

I continue to play outdoors on rivers  as much as possible.

Post Doctoral Research

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.

Doctoral Research

Lateral Channel Confinement, Tributaries, and Their Impact on Channel Morphology

My National Science Foundation DDRI funded research studies how channel morphology is impacted by natural and human alterations of channel margins; specifically through lateral channel constrictions such as roads, railroads and levees and natural controls including tributaries, debris flows and landslides. Specifically, I will apply optical remote sensing techniques and Structure-from-Motion to analyze particle size distributions on exposed channel bars and under water through long reaches of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Within the framework of Sediment Links theory, I will look at how lateral channel constrictions alter the pattern or particle size distributions due to human influence, natural channel variation and sediment sources in addition to tributaries. Additionally, as part of this research I will explore how channel morphology is reflected in specific patterns of water surface elevation and how those patterns may be used to estimate channel morphology and potentially general habitat zones.


Masters Thesis:

Quantifying Human Impacts on River Bar Morphology Using Digital Photogrammetry – Abstract


Butte Creek Falls, Butte Creek, Oregon


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