Connectivity in Geomorphology Working Group

Geomorphic (dis-)connectivity in an alpine environment (Ghandaki valley, Nepal): Low hillslope-channel connectivity can be seen in the lower right, high hillslope-channel connectivity in the centre of the picture. (Courtesy of Ronald Pöppl, 2016)

WG Chairs:

Dr. Ronald Pöppl
Vienna (Austria)

Prof. Anthony Parsons
Sheffield (United Kingdom)

Dr. Laura Turnbull
Durham (United Kingdom)


Introduction to WG activity

In the past two decades, connectivity has emerged as a relevant conceptual framework for understanding the transfer of water and sediment through landscapes. In geomorphology, the concept has had particular success in the fields of fluvial geomorphology and soil erosion to better explain rates and patterns of hydro-geomorphic geomorphic change in catchment systems. Although much progress has been made in the understanding of the physical processes that control the flows of matter through the landscape, applying this understanding across a range of scales has long hampered progress. Moreover, as most of the funding bodies and research programmes do not have strong linkages between each other, progress in the field of connectivity has mostly been developing separately in diverse areas of geomorphological research. In bringing together the experience and expertise of researchers in the emerging field of connectivity in geomorphology, an IAG-WG on connectivity in geomorphology aims to enable the transitions:

  • from parallel projects to concerted research (incl. a transdisciplinary framework with strong linkages to practitioners/applied aspects, e.g. management of water and sediment in catchments),
  • from a plethora of case studies to more generic, comparable research,
  • from a multiplicity of definitions, concepts and methodological approaches to coordinated, theory-guided research activity along agreed lines, which will provide both immediate benefit for existing projects and a springboard for the development of future research projects.

The overarching aim of this WG is to form an international network of Connectivity scientists, to share expertise and develop a consensus on the definition and scientific agenda regarding the emerging field of connectivity in geomorphology.

The specific objectives of this WG are to foster international scientific exchange related to:

  • advancement of the theory of connectivity in geomorphology;
  • method development (measurement, indices, GIS/remote sensing, modelling etc.);
  • concept implementation for sustainable land and water management; and
  • encouraging new students in geomorphology to develop skills and knowledge in geomorphological connectivity research.

These objectives will be achieved through the following actions:

  • organisation of sessions and field excursions on geomorphological connectivity research at international conferences;
  • coordination of training schools for young geomorphologists;
  • editing of a book/special issue on connectivity in geomorphology; and
  • creation of a web page/blog/wiki that should: (1) provide opportunities to link up scientists and update members on upcoming projects, surveys, conferences, etc., and (2) act as a forum on themes of geomorphological connectivity research between our working group and other communities of scientists and professionals.

Last WG Annual Reports:

Annual report 2023

Annual report 2020