mountainous landscape scene with boat in the background

Surface Process Research Group [SPRG]

Dr. Jaclyn Cockburn’s Research

Physical processes and human activities change the landscape and increasingly these factors work in tandem on the Earth’s surface; these interactions are what inspire and drive my research and form the basis for the Surface Processes Research Group (SPRG) at University of Guelph. 

Changing climate, extreme rainfall events, and land use changes influence sediment transport and delivery, and this contributes to water quality degradation. The landscape response to these changes and how earth surface processes work under varying conditions are important for us to study.

The long-term goals for my research program are to measure how surface processes (such as hydrology and suspended sediment transfer) change in response to climate variability, land use change, land management, and extreme events and to quantify the impacts these changes have on the movement of sediment through the watershed (e.g., sediment cascades).  In particular, I am intrigued by opportunities to study these processes within disturbed and/or modified landscapes (e.g., agricultural settings, urban watersheds, following extreme rainfall event). 

To accomplish my research goals, innovative field and laboratory analyses are needed, with a combined focus on contemporary process work (e.g., stream monitoring, field surveys) and paleoenvironmental reconstruction (e.g., annually laminated sedimentary records, dendrogeomorphology).