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Dr Alex Henshaw

Alex

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Email: a.henshaw@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5436
Room Number: Geography Building, Room 105

Profile

I am a river scientist with research interests in the prediction of land use and climate change impacts on fluvial systems; analysis and characterisation of river morphodynamics; and understanding bidirectional interactions between biota and hydrogeomorphological processes. I attempt to resolve knowledge gaps in these areas by developing novel field and remote sensing methods, conducting empirical research in both the field and laboratory, and numerical modelling. I have worked in a diverse range of fluvial environments from steep, upland streams in the UK to large braided river systems in Italy, and my research is informing the development of more sustainable approaches to flood risk management and river restoration and decision support tools for ecosystem service provision.  

Key publications:

  • Henshaw, A.J., Gurnell, A.M., Bertoldi, W. and Drake, N.A. (2013) An assessment of the degree to which Landsat TM data can support the assessment of fluvial dynamics, as revealed by changes in vegetation extent and channel position, along a large river. Geomorphology, 202, 74-85.   
  • Jackson, B., Pagella, T., Sinclair, F., Orellana, B., Henshaw, A.J., Reynolds, B., McIntyre, N., Wheater, H. and Eycott, A. (2013) Polyscape: a GIS mapping framework providing efficient and spatially explicit landscape-scale valuation of multiple ecosystem services. Landscape and Urban Planning, 112, 74–88. 
  • Henshaw, A.J., Thorne, C.R., and Clifford, N.J. (2012) Identifying causes and controls of river bank erosion in a British upland catchment. Catena, 100, 107–119.

Teaching

I teach across a range of subject areas including fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, river management, field techniques, statistical methods and GIS.  Wherever possible, I try to enhance student learning through the illustration of concepts and demonstration of techniques at active field sites and by providing opportunities to work with real research data.  Examples of skills developed by students who take the modules I currently teach include:

  • Flood frequency analysis
  • Land cover classification using multispectral satellite data
  • Statistical analysis of environmental data sets
  • Environmental reconstruction using dendrochronology
  • River habitat assessment

Interested in studying river science in the School of Geography at Queen Mary?  Take a look at the following articles and field course blog for an insight into what, where and how you might study…

Modules taught:

Research

Research Interests:

Recent/ongoing research:


Prediction of land use and climate change impacts on fluvial systems:
Recent research includes science base advancement through analysis of sediment transport dynamics and bank erosion processes in headwater streams affected by historical land use changes (Henshaw et al., 2012; McIntyre et al., in press); stochastic forecasting of geomorphological responses in upland catchments to anticipated future climate and land use changes using landscape evolution models (McIntyre et al., in press); and development of GIS-based decision-support tools to assist ecosystem service provision through strategic land use management (Jackson et al., 2013).

Analysis and characterisation of river morphodynamics:
Recent research includes analysis of vegetation and channel planform dynamics along the near-natural Fiume Tagliamento, Italy, using multi-spectral satellite imagery, dendrochronology and field surveys (Henshaw et al., in press).  I am currently leading a British Society for Geomorphology-funded project to develop an improved methodology for the characterisation of river ecomorphodynamics using imagery collected by NASA’s recently launched Landsat 8 satellite.  Landsat 8’s potential as a tool to quantify spatio-temporal changes in vegetation and channel characteristics will be explored in the Tagliamento catchment during Summer 2013.

For more information on NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/main/index.html

Understanding bidirectional interactions between biota and hydrogeomorphological processes:
Recent research includes field and laboratory studies into the effects of invasive signal crayfish on river channel morphology and fine sediment dynamics (Harvey et al., 2011); and quantifying the influence of large wood on hydrogeomorphological processes, habitat complexity and ecology along the River Bure, Norfolk.

Publications

  • Harvey, G., Henshaw, A., Parker, C. and Sayer, C. (in press) Re-introduction of structurally complex wood jams promotes channel and habitat recovery from overwidening: Implications for river conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.
  • Parker, C., Henshaw, A.J., Harvey, G.L. and Sayer, C.D. (2017) Reintroduced large wood modifies fine sediment transport and storage in a lowland river channel. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.4123
  • Politti, E., Bertoldi, W., Gurnell, A.M. and Henshaw, A.J. (in press) Feedbacks between the riparian Salicaceae and hydrogeomorphic processes: A quantitative review. Earth Science Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.07.018
  • Trinci, G., Harvey, G.L., Henshaw, A.J., Bertoldi, W. and Hölker, F. (2017) Life in turbulent flows: interactions between hydrodynamics and aquatic organisms in rivers. WIREs Water, 4, e1213. doi:10.1002/wat2.1213
  • He, F., Zarfl, C., Bermerich, V., Henshaw, A.J., Darwall, W., Tockner, K. and Jähnig, S.C. (2017) Disappearing giants: a review of threats to freshwater megafauna. WIREs Water. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1208
  • Faller, M., Harvey, G.L., Henshaw, A.J., Bertoldi, W., Bruno, M.C. and England, J. (2016) River bank burrowing by invasive crayfish: Spatial distribution, biophysical controls and biogeomorphic significance. Science of the Total Environment, 569-570, 1190-1200.
  • Gurnell, A.M., Rinaldi, M., Belletti, B., Bizzi, S., Blameur, B., Braca, G., Buijse, T., Bussenttini, M., Camenen, B., Comiti, F., Demarchi, L., Garcia de Jalon, D., Gonzalez, del Tanago, M, Grabowski, R., Gunn, I., Habersack, H., Hendriks, D., Henshaw, A.J., Klosch, M., Lastoria, B., Latapie, A., Marcinkowski, P., Martinez-Fernandez, V., Mosselmann, E., Mountford, J.O., Nardi, L., Okruszko, T., O’Hare, M.T., Palma, M., Percopo, C., Surian, N., van de Bund, W., Weissteiner, C. and Ziliani, L. (2016) A multi-scale hierarchical framework for developing understanding of river behaviour to support river management. Aquatic Sciences, 78, 1-16.
  • Politti, E., Bertoldi, W. and Henshaw, A.J. (2016) Extending a hydromorphodynamic reduced complexity model with riparian vegetation dynamics, in, Webb, J.A., Costelloe, J.F., Casas-Mulet, R., Lyon, J.P. and Stewardson, M.J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics. Melbourne, Australia, 7-12 February 2016. The University of Melbourne, ISBN: 9780734053398.
  • Politti, E., Bertoldi, W. and Henshaw, A.J. (2016) Developing allometric relationships for riparian vegetation friction characterization, in Webb, J.A., Costelloe, J.F., Casas-Mulet, R., Lyon, J.P. and Stewardson, M.J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics. Melbourne, Australia, 7-12 February 2016. The University of Melbourne, ISBN: 978-0-7340-5339-8.
  • Garcia Lugo, A.G., Bertoldi, W., Henshaw, A.J., Gurnell, A.M. (2015) The effect of lateral confinement on gravel bed river morphology. Water Resources Research, 51, 10.1002/2015WR017081.
  • Gurnell, A.M., Rinaldi, M., Belletti, B., Bizzi, S., Blameur, B., Braca, G., Buijse, T., Bussenttini, M., Camenen, B., Comiti, F., Demarchi, L., Garcia de Jalon, D., Gonzalez, del Tanago, M, Grabowski, R., Gunn, I., Habersack, H., Hendriks, D., Henshaw, A.J., Klosch, M., Lastoria, B., Latapie, A., Marcinkowski, P., Martinez-Fernandez, V., Mosselmann, E., Mountford, J.O., Nardi, L., Okruszko, T., O’Hare, M.T., Palma, M., Percopo, C., Surian, N., van de Bund, W., Weissteiner, C. and Ziliani, L. (in press) A multi-scale hierarchical framework for developing understanding of river behaviour to support river management. Aquatic Sciences.
  • Henshaw, A.J., Bertoldi, W., Harvey, G.L., Gurnell, A.M., Welber, M. (2014) Large wood dynamics along the Tagliamento River, Italy: insights from field and remote sensing investigations. In: Lollino G., Arattano M., Rinaldi M., Giustolisi O., Marechal J.C., Grant G. (Eds), Engineering Geology for Society and Territory, Volume 3, Proceedings IAEG XII Congress, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
  • Gurnell A.M., Gonzalez del Tanago M., Rinaldi M., Grabowski R., Henshaw A.J., O’Hare M., Belletti B., Bujise A.D. (2014) Development and application of a multi-scale process-based framework for the hydromorphological assessment of European rivers. In: Lollino G., Arattano M., Rinaldi M., Giustolisi O., Marechal J.C., Grant G. (Eds), Engineering Geology for Society and Territory, Volume 3, Proceedings IAEG XII Congress, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
  • Harvey, G.L., Henshaw, A.J., Moorhouse, T.P., Clifford, N.J., Hoolah, H., Grey, J. and Macdonald, D.W. (2014). Invasive crayfish as drivers of fine sediment dynamics in rivers: field and laboratory evidence. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39, 259-271.
  • Henshaw, A.J., Gurnell, A.M., Bertoldi, W. and Drake, N.A. (2013) An assessment of the degree to which Landsat TM data can support the assessment of fluvial dynamics, as revealed by changes in vegetation extent and channel position, along a large river. Geomorphology, 202, 74-85.
  • Henshaw, A.J., Dangerfield, S., and Thorne, C.R. (2013) Sediments and geomorphology. In: McIntyre, N. and Thorne, C.R. (Eds), Land use management effects on flood flows and sediments – guidance on prediction. CIRIA.
  • Jackson, B., Pagella, T., Sinclair, F., Orellana, B., Henshaw, A.J., Reynolds, B., McIntyre, N., Wheater, H. and Eycott, A. (2013) Polyscape: a GIS mapping framework providing efficient and spatially explicit landscape-scale valuation of multiple ecosystem services. Landscape and Urban Planning, 112, 74-88.
  • Henshaw, A.J., Thorne, C.R., and Clifford, N.J. (2013) Identifying causes and controls of river bank erosion in a British upland catchment. Catena, 100, 107–119.
  • Harvey, G.L., Moorhouse, T.P., Clifford, N.J., Henshaw, A.J., Johnson, M.F., Macdonald, D.W., Reid, I., and Rice, S.P. (2011) Evaluating the role of invasive aquatic species as drivers of fine sediment-related river management problems: the case of the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus). Progress in Physical Geography, 35, 517–533.

PhD Supervision

Postgraduate research opportunities in Earth Surface Science

Current research students:

  • Maria Vasilyeva (2013-present) Exploring interrelationship between floods and ecomorphodynamics in braided rivers using multispectral satellite data
    Co-supervised with Dr Gemma Harvey (QMUL), Prof. James Brasington (QMUL) and Dr Walter Bertoldi (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Bishnu Raj Baral (2013-present) Morphodynamic modelling of braided rivers
    Co-supervised with Prof. James Brasington (QMUL) and Dr Walter Bertoldi (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Matej Faller (2012-present) Impact of invasive plant and invertebrate species on bank stability and sediment dynamics
    Co-supervised with Dr Gemma Harvey (QMUL)
  • Prima Sekarsari (2011-present) Meandering rivers: styles and dynamics
    Co-supervised with Prof. Angela Gurnell (QMUL) and Prof. Guido Zolezzi (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Alejandra Garcia Lugo (2011-present) Understanding braided-single thread river transitions across Europe
    Co-supervised with Prof. Angela Gurnell (QMUL) and Dr Walter Bertoldi (University of Trento, Italy)

Former research students: 

  • Giuditta Trinci (2013-2017) Improved hydromorphological assessment methods for European river systems
    Co-supervised with Dr Gemma Harvey (QMUL)

I welcome expressions of interest and enquiries from potential PhD students who would like to work on projects related to my fields of expertise.

Public Engagement


I engage with local communities and industry in order to promote best practice in river management and restoration.

  • McIntyre, N., Ballard, C., Bulygina, N., Cluckie, I., Dangerfield, S., Ewen, J., Frogbrook, Z., Geris, J., Henshaw, A.J., Jackson, B., Marshall, M., Pagella, T., Park, J-S., O’Connell, E., O’Donnell, G., Reynolds, B., Sinclair, F., Solloway, I., Thorne, C.R. and Wheater, H. (in press) Land use management effects on flood flows and sediments – guidance on prediction. CIRIA.
  • Henshaw, A.J. (2005) Restoration of the Pontbren catchment (mid-Wales) for flood risk and sediment management. River Restoration News, 22, 2–3.
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