Universität Wien FIND
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290347 SE Master Seminar in Physical Geography: Geographic Approaches to Analysis of River Health (2016W)

5.00 ECTS (3.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 01.12. 13:00 - 19:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Friday 02.12. 13:00 - 19:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Tuesday 06.12. 16:00 - 19:45 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Wednesday 07.12. 10:00 - 13:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Wednesday 07.12. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Friday 09.12. 13:00 - 19:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Saturday 10.12. 09:00 - 15:00 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II


Aims, contents and method of the course

What does a healthy river look like? How does it function? Who decides what is appropriate, and how we manage that river system? This course explores geographic perspectives on these issues, looking at biophysical considerations in their socio-economic, cultural and political (governance) context. Through lectures, readings, discussions, presentations and debates, we will explore multiple dimensions of river health for various rivers in Austria. This course aims to develop your critical thinking skills relating to problem-solving activities in Geography. It will enhance your ability to interpret river health through a place-based approach to analysis that contextualizes findings in relation to general principles, thereby aiding efforts to meaningfully transfer information from one situation to another.

Assessment and permitted materials

There are two assignments for this course:

a) Interpretation of river health for a river system in Austria, based on assessment of its character and behaviour and evolutionary traits. This will include selection and assessment of geoindicators to interpret the health of the chosen river.

b) Derivation of a river management plan to maintain and/or enhance the health of your chosen river, indicating what steps need to be taken and what governance arrangements are required to achieve this.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Assignments will be conducted as group projects, with background readings and research (assignment work) to be completed prior to the commencement of lectures.

Examination topics

Reading list

Required reading

Blue, B., & Brierley, G. (2016). But what do you measure? Prospects for a constructive critical physical geography. Area.

Brierley, G., Fryirs, K., Cullum, C., Tadaki, M., Huang, H. Q., & Blue, B. (2013). Reading the landscape Integrating the theory and practice of geomorphology to develop place-based understandings of river systems. Progress in Physical Geography, 37(5), 601-621.

Brierley, G., Reid, H., Fryirs, K., & Trahan, N. (2010). What are we monitoring and why? Using geomorphic principles to frame eco-hydrological assessments of river condition. Science of the Total Environment, 408(9), 2025-2033.

Fryirs, K. A. (2015). Developing and using geomorphic condition assessments for river rehabilitation planning, implementation and monitoring. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 2(6), 649-667.

Grabowski, R. C., Surian, N., & Gurnell, A. M. (2014). Characterizing geomorphological change to support sustainable river restoration and management. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 1(5), 483-512.

Recommended reading

Ashmore, P. (2015). Towards a sociogeomorphology of rivers. Geomorphology, 251, 149-156.

Belletti, B., Rinaldi, M., Buijse, A. D., Gurnell, A. M., & Mosselman, E. (2015). A review of assessment methods for river hydromorphology. Environmental Earth Sciences, 73(5), 2079-2100.

del Tánago, M. G., Gurnell, A. M., Belletti, B., & de Jalón, D. G. (2016). Indicators of river system hydromorphological character and dynamics: understanding current conditions and guiding sustainable river management. Aquatic Sciences, 78(1), 35-55.

Fox, C. A., Magilligan, F. J., & Sneddon, C. S. (2016). You kill the dam, you are killing a part of me: Dam removal and the environmental politics of river restoration. Geoforum, 70, 93-104.

Fryirs, K., & Brierley, G. J. (2009). Naturalness and place in river rehabilitation. Ecology and Society, 14(1), 20.

Gregory, C., Brierley, G., & Le Heron, R. (2011). Governance spaces for sustainable river management. Geography Compass, 5(4), 182-199.

Gurnell, A. M., Rinaldi, M., Belletti, B., Bizzi, S., Blamauer, B., Braca, G., ... & Demarchi, L. (2016). A multi-scale hierarchical framework for developing understanding of river behaviour to support river management. Aquatic Sciences, 78(1), 1-16.

Gurnell, A. M., Rinaldi, M., Buijse, A. D., Brierley, G., & Piégay, H. (2016). Hydromorphological frameworks: emerging trajectories. Aquatic Sciences, 78(1), 135-138.

Kasprak, A., Hough-Snee, N., Beechie, T., Bouwes, N., Brierley, G., Camp, R., ... & Rosgen, D. (2016). The blurred line between form and process: a comparison of stream channel classification frameworks. PloS one, 11(3), e0150293.

McCormick, A., Fisher, K., & Brierley, G. (2015). Quantitative assessment of the relationships among ecological, morphological and aesthetic values in a river rehabilitation initiative. Journal of Environmental Management, 153, 60-67.

Lave, R. (2016). Stream restoration and the surprisingly social dynamics of science. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 3(1), 75-81.

Reid, H. E., & Brierley, G. J. (2015). Assessing geomorphic sensitivity in relation to river capacity for adjustment. Geomorphology, 251, 108-121.

Tadaki, M., Brierley, G., & Cullum, C. (2014). River classification: theory, practice, politics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 1(4), 349-367.

Wilcock, D., Brierley, G., & Howitt, R. (2013). Ethnogeomorphology. Progress in Physical Geography, 37(5), 573-600.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S1-SE, gilt als modulspezifisches Vertiefungsseminar) (MG-S2-SE, gilt als modulspezifisches Vertiefungsseminar) (L2-a-zSE) (UF MA GW 02)

Last modified: Fr 31.08.2018 08:56