Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

Sarah Peirce

Graduate Studies, Western University - Sarah Peirce (Geography)

PhD Candidate, Geography
Vanier Scholar 

Characterization of the Active Width in Gravel-Bed Braided Rivers

Peirce's research will investigate the relationship between sediment transport and river morphology in gravel-bed rivers. These rivers can have a multi-channel, or braided form, and are common in many areas of Canada and around the world. Peirce's research aims to develop a theory for the reliable prediction of sediment transport rates in these rivers by quantifying the active width, defined by the channel width experiencing active sediment transport at a given time.

Since these relationships are difficult to observe and quantify in real rivers, the majority of Peirce's data collection will be done in a small-scale physical model, or river flume. The river flume at Western University is the largest in Canada and is designed specifically for this type of experimental fluvial geomorphology research. Overall the hope is that this research will contribute to the greater understanding of river dynamics and contribute to improving watershed and river management, hazard assessment and river restoration practices.

"I am an active member of the London Western Track and Field Club and I train with the varisty team on campus. I am also a member of the GeoGrad committee in the geography department," she notes.