PhD Researcher Profile: Eleanore Heasley

Eleanore Heasley began her PhD investigating patterns of river habitats with King’s Water this April.

Before coming to King’s, El completed an undergraduate degree in physical geography from the University of Southampton in 2015, where she was awarded the RGS Fieldwork Apprentice grant in her first year. The grant allowed El to join a research group studying the geomorphology of the Lower Mekong River during the monsoon. This experience sparked her interest in rivers. She went on to work as an intern and consultant for the FreshWater Watch project at the Earthwatch Institute funded by the HSBC water programme, where her team collected water quality information from global community of citizen scientists in order to better understand the drivers of local water quality across the globe.

Rising Mekong flood levels spill onto the floodplain carrying high levels of suspended sediment, monsoon storm clouds brewing in the background (September 2013)

Rising Mekong flood levels spill onto the floodplain carrying high levels of suspended sediment, monsoon storm clouds brewing in the background (taken by El during her trip in September 2013)

In September 2016, El became part of the second cohort of the London NERC DTP. She chose King’s for her PhD because “I loved the Geography Department’s interdisciplinary approach”.

PhD researcher El Heasley on a whike in forested mountains El’s PhD is working to find a way to better explain how instream habitats are arranged throughout the stream networks of England and Wales. Currently, methods that explain the spatial arrangement of habitats depend heavily on oversimplification of characteristics of river catchments. In contrast, El will explore the spatial arrangement of river networks and catchment land covers and estimate the hydrological response of the river and how this influences the distribution of river habitats. Using this approach, she aims to identify areas in river catchments where habitats may be vulnerable to changes in the catchment or flow regime to inform river management practises in the UK. You can read more about El’s work with England’s chalk streams in this blog post with the NERC DTP.

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