Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

David J Dean

David Dean studies hydrology, geomorphology, and sediment transport of rivers in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. 

As a research hydrologist with the GCMRC and SBSC, I conduct original research linking hydrology and sediment transport to fluvial geomorphic processes.  My research is conducted in the Rio Grande in the Big Bend region of far west Texas, the Green and Yampa Rivers in Dinosaur National Monument, the Green and Colorado Rivers in Canyonlands National Park, the Little Colorado River and its tributaries in northern Arizona, and the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. My research aims to quantify how hydrologic and geomorphic processes respond to factors such as climate change, large-scale water development and management, the widespread establishment of non-native riparian plants, and anthropogenic modifications to fluvial bottomlands. All of these perturbations directly affect how water and sediment are routed through fluvial drainage networks, which controls the geomorphic behavior, and biologic processes of these river systems. 

Much of my work incorporates the use of acoustic instrumentation to passively monitor suspended-sediment transport processes on rivers with high suspended-sediment loads.  This work is paired with measurements of geomorphic change using a variety of data and techniques including: high-resolution topographic data collected with real-time-kinematic GPS and LIDAR, aerial imagery, and analysis of historical hydrologic and geomorphic data. My work is directly relevant to the primary scientific understanding of the hydrologic and geomorphic behavior of these rivers, as well as the management actions that may help mitigate fluvial perturbations that have occurred.  My work also focuses on the biogeomorphic interactions between stream flow, sediment transport, and riparian vegetation, and how those interactions can result in negative and/or positive feedbacks of geomorphic change.