Professor Stephen Rice

Professor of Physical Geography
Loughborough University


I am a fluvial geomorphologist and sedimentologist, specialising in ecogeomorphology: the physical processes at work in gravel-bed rivers, the sediments and morphologies that those processes produce, and the two-way interactions with freshwater ecological process and patterns. Asking and answering questions in these arenas matters for developing a better understanding of how rivers work and for managing river ecosystems more effectively. Within these themes, recent and current research follows four strands.

  • Ecogeomorphology and freshwater zoogeomorphology - how fish and invertebrates, like crayfish and barbel, affect fluvial sediment transport processes, including work with the Environment Agency, Barbel Society and EC Hydralab IV consortium.
  • The structure and size characteristics of gravelly, river-bed sediments - recent (NERC) flume experiments have focused on the temporal evolution of bed material texture and how bed load intensity, sediment sorting and hydrograph shape affect the development of imbrication and other gravelly, bed structures.
  • The sedimentology, geomorphology and eco-hydraulics of gravel-bed rivers at patch and bar scales, including work on Fraser River, Canada.
  • The routing of sediment through river networks and the role of “sedimentary links” in structuring and explaining fluvial sediments and ecosystems, including work in the UK Peak District for Natural England.

Inaugural professorial lecture at

Read about how crayfish impacts on geomorphology may be affecting flood risk in UK rivershere

Key Papers

Rice SP, Johnson MF, Reeds J, Extence C, Longstaff H (2014). “Diel patterns of suspended sediment flux and the zoogeomorphic agency of invasive crayfish” Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica 40, 7-27

Pledger AG, Rice SP, Millet J (2014) “Reduced bed material stability and increased bedload transport caused by foraging fish: a flume study with juvenile Barbel (Barbus barbus)” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 39:1500-1513

Johnson MF, Rice SP. (2014) “Animal perception in gravel-bed rivers: Scales of sensing and environment controls on sensory information” Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71, 945-957

Rice SP, Buffin-Bélanger T, Reid I. (2014) “Sensitivity of interfacial hydraulics to the microtopographic roughness of water-lain gravels” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms39, 184–199

Thomas RE, Johnson MF, Frostick LE, Parsons DR, Bouma TJ, Dijkstra JT, Eiffs O, Gobert S, Henry P-Y, Kemp P, McLelland SJ, Moulin FY, Myrhaug D, Neyts A, Paul M, Penning E,Rice SP, Puijalon S, Stanica A, Tagliapietra D, Tal M, Tørum A and Vousoukas MI. (2014) Physical modelling of water, fauna and flora: Knowledge gaps, avenues for future research and infrastructural needs. Journal of Hydraulic Research52:311-325

Johnson MF, Rice SP, Reid I. (2014) “The activity of signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) in relation to thermal and hydraulic dynamics of an alluvial stream, UK”Hydrobiologia 724, 41–54.

Toone JA, Rice SP and Piegay H. (2014) “Spatial discontinuity and temporal evolution of channel morphology along a mixed bedrock-alluvial river: contingent responses to external and internal controls”, Geomorphology 205, 5-16

Rice, SP, Johnson, MF, Reid, I (2012) Animals and the geomorphology of gravel-bed rivers. In Church, M, Biron, PM, Roy, AG (ed) Gravel-bed Rivers: Processes, Tools, Environments, John Wiley & Sons, pp.225-241, ISBN: 9780470688908.

Johnson MF, Rice SP and Reid I. (2011) “Increase in coarse sediment transport associated with disturbance of gravel river beds by signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)”, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 36, 1680-1692. DOI: 10.1002/esp.2192

Harvey GL, Moorhouse TP, Clifford NJ, Henshaw AJ, Johnson MF, Macdonald DW, Reid I and Rice SP. (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.