Welcome to the Pasternack Lab.
We help society manage and restore hydrogeomorphic processes in support of enhanced ecosystem functioning. We do this through a combination of (i) basic physical and ecological science to understand how the naturally complex landscape works, (ii) development of methods and software for designing more natural, functional environments, and (iii) technology transfer to get concepts, methods, and results into the hands of practitioners, regulators, and stakeholders. Research is also balanced with teaching, service, and outreach.
This website's development was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project number CA‐D‐LAW‐7034‐H.
Please choose an item from the menu to the left or click on any image or link on this page to learn more.
For more information on the science and activity behind the gravel augmentation project shown in the video above, see the gravel/cobble injection web page.
Professor Pasternack has a YouTube channel at this link.
Latest Research Developments:
The Pasternack Lab currently has 12 active members and multiple collaborations nationally and internationally. As a result, this website cannot keep up with all of that on-going work. Also, it is often best to perform major additions to the website when a project has concluded, so that the results and conclusions can be presented in high quality and with high confidence in their veracity. It takes a lot of time to do that, so that progress is intermittent, sorry
Here is a list of some of the specific research questions we are actively pursuing at this time, in no particular order:
- What is the geomorphic sustainability and ecological functionality of commonly engineered river restoration features?
- What environmental flows should be released to support rivers of different types?
- How can we design more natural rivers for the many situations in which we need to build rivers from scratch or significantly recontour existing rivers?
- How accurately can remote sensing data, especially airborne LiDAR, and derivative data products predict detailed spatial patterns of grain size distributions on the ground in a river corridor that includes sand, gravel, and cobble?
- What are the details of the mechanisms by which rivers change their shape and to what extent does hydrology and topography control these mechanisms?
- What physical habitats do aquatic and riparian organisms need and how do those habitats change as a funciton of river discharge and topographic change?
- How accurately can machine learning algorithms predict the type of channel that is present at any location?
- What is the role of organized variability in river form, process, and links with ecology?
The above list is not all-inclusive, but it highlights the big picture of the scope of work we are actively doing.
Links to all projects can be found on the Projects web page. Here are some direct links to some projects we are doing right now.
Python platform for ecohydraulic and geomorphic river & river design analysis.
Spatially explicit, process studies using 1-m scale as the basic building block for river science.
Classification and analysis of California's channel types to aid river management.
Latest Teaching Developments
Classes that will be taught in 2020-2021 will include SAS004 (fall) and a new course in winter 2021. Fall 2020 instruction will be fully online due to the pandemic. No decision is known for after that.
HYD151 has been discontinued. It was a great journey over 21 years, but now it is time to create a new class to teach and pass the torch of the field methods class on to the next generation of colleagues.
Latest Lab Group Developments
- Currently there are 2 postdoctoral researchers, 4 PhD students, 4 MS students, and 2 undergrads working in our lab group. This is bigger than usual, but we have so much great synergy going on among members of the group.
- Recent articles have been addressing characterizing channel types in California, applications of machine learning to predicting channel types, presenting new software for geomorphic and ecohydrualic applications, and synthesizing currnet knowledge about river restoration.
- There are no new incoming graduate students starting in Fall 2020 in light of the pandemic and the current size of the lab group. The goal right now is to do the best work we can with the size we have.
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Book for Practitioners
Video podcasts to go with the book are freely available at this link.