Department / group: Geography, School of Social Sciences (Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience)

Research interests:

My research has an emphasis on water and sediment dynamics, and more generally the sensitivity and resilience of environmental systems to perturbations including climate change. The most significant contributions range from new conceptual frameworks linking lake behaviour to landscape setting; use of innovative modelling approaches including Bayesian, data-based mechanistic and minimum information models; use of environmental radionuclides for sediment fingerprinting and dating long-term landform development, and more recently new hydromorphological assessment and decision-support tools. A conscious move towards systems-based approaches is reflected in current projects which explore the utility of ecosystem-based adaptation the ecosystem services concept with respect to natural flood management; development of cross-sectoral indicators of climate change adaptation; exploring the linkages between soil erosion and biodiversity in agro-ecosystems, and elucidating the biophysical linkages between hydromorphological pressures and ecological response – increasingly using remote sensing techniques. Funding exceeding £2.5 M has been won a range of sources including research councils UK, the EU, Government, environment and conservation agencies and industry. As of June 2015 my group in Dundee comprises two PostDocs and six full-time PhD students – all externally funded.

Career history:

2015 Dean of the School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee, UK

2014 Director MSc Sustainability Programme, University of Dundee, UK

2012 Professor of Physical Geography, University of Dundee, UK

2009 – Founding Director Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), University of Dundee

2008 – 2011 Head of the Environmental Systems Research Group (ESRG), in the School of the Environment

2006 – Reader in Physical Geography, University of Dundee

1998-2006 Lecturer & Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Dundee, UK

1990-98 Lecturer in Environmental Management, Lancaster University, UK

1987-90 PhD University of Exeter, Devon, UK

Active research projects:

Subset of recent grants:

-Sustainable land use management for the conservation of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel. PI, Walsh Fellowship funded by Teagasc (2015-2019).

-Delivering food security on limited agricultural land (DEVIL). Co-I, funded by the Belmont Forum under the aegis of the Scottish Food Security Alliance-crops (2015-2018, PI Pete Smith, Univ. of Aberdeen).

-Integrated river basin management framework through the lens of ‘Loss and Damage’. PI, funded by Hydro Nation Scholarship Programme (2014-2018).

-Global observatory of lake responses to environmental change (GloboLakes). Co-I, funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (2012-2016, PI Andrew Tyler, University of Stirling).

-Development of national climate change adaptation indicators for Scotland. PI, funded by the Scottish Government through the Centre of Expertise on Climate Change (2011-2016).

Recent publications:

Brown, I., Berry, P., Everard, M., Firbank, L., Harrison, P., Lundy, L., Quine, C., Rowan, J.S. & Wade, R. 2015. Identifying robust response options to manage environmental change using an Ecosystem Approach II: a stress-testing case study for the UK. Environmental Science & Policy (in press).

Politi, E., Cutler, M.E.J. & Rowan, J.S. 2015. Evaluating the spatial transferability and temporal repeatability of remote sensing-based lake water quality retrieval algorithms at the European scale: a meta-analysis approach. International Journal of Remote Sensing (in press).

Sherriff, S.C., Franks, S.W., Rowan, J.S. Fenton, O. & ÓhUallacháin, D.O. 2015. Uncertainty-based assessment of tracer selection, tracer non-conservativeness and multiple solutions using synthetic and field data. Journal of Soils and Sediments (in press).

Sherriff, S.C., Rowan, J.S., Melland, A.R., Jordan, P., Fenton, O. & ÓhUallacháin, D. 2015. Identifying the controls of soil loss in agricultural catchments using ex situ turbidity-based suspended sediment monitoring. Hydrology and Earth Systems Science (in press).

Iacob, O., Rowan, J.S., Brown, I. & Ellis, C. 2014. Evaluating wider benefits of natural flood management strategies: an ecosystem-based adaptation perspective. Hydrological Research, 45, 774-787.