Physical Geography Research Themes
The Physical Geography Research Group at Leicester is made up of nine internationally renowned academics and several post-doctoral researchers and PhD students, supported by a team of experienced technicians. The core academic members of the group are Professor Heiko Balzter (Centre for Landscape and Climate Research), Dr Juan Carlos Berrio, Dr Arnoud Boom, Dr Andy Carr, Dr Jörg Kaduk, Professor Sue Page, Dr Mark Powell, Dr Sue McLaren and Dr Mick Whelan. In addition, the group actively collaborates with Professor David Harper from the Department of Biological Sciences and with members of the GIS Research Group, most notably Dr Kirsten Barrett, Dr Claire Smith, Dr Kevin Tansey and Dr Nick Tate. We also carry out cross-disciplinary studies with members of the Human Geography Research Group (notably with Dr Caroline Upton, Dr Jenny Pickerill and Dr Martin Phillips).
Facilities and Methods
Interdisciplinarity is a key strength and its members exploit a wide range of methodologies including geochemistry, geochronology, Earth observation, GIS, hydrometry and mathematical modelling. We have an excellent set of laboratory facilities including a cutting edge environmental stable isotope laboratory, a paleoecology lab, an Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating facility (OSL), as well as thin section laboratories, a state of the art microscope suite and instruments for nutrient analysis of soil and water samples. We also have a recently-refurbished five-metre high rainfall simulator and flume facilities for work in open channel hydraulics and fluvial geomorphology. In addition, we have advanced field research facilities which include state of the art surveying equipment (total station and terrestrial LiDAR), in situ water quality probes, electromagnetic current meters, meteorological instruments and eddy covariance flux towers with open path CO2 and CH4 infrared gas analysers. Finally, we have advanced data analysis and modelling capabilities including access to the University’s high performance Linux cluster, ALICE. This is being used, for example, to run JULES (the Joint UK Land Exchange Scheme), a state of the art global land surface model which links to the Hadley Centre climate model.