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Integrated river morphodynamics

Lecturers: prof. Guido Zolezzi (UNITN/DICAM), prof. Walter Bertoldi (UNITN/DICAM), Prof. Annunziato Siviglia (UNITN/DICAM), dr. David F. Vetsch (ETH Zurich)

Timetable: 12-23 June 2023 

Aim: the general aim of the course is to show how the integration of different approaches can lead to a comprehensive insight into river eco-morphodynamics, also in relation with the mutual interactions among flow, sediment transport, riparian vegetation.The course strategy is to focus on specific morphodynamic patterns, particularly alternate bars in channelized streams, a rather popular subset of patterns related with river eco-morphodynamics that can be taken as an example of other patterns evolving at different time and spatial scales. 



  • Basics of theoretical river morphodynamics
  • Analytical theories of river bars: overview of the existing theories and the recent “eco” component
  • Step-by-step development of a linear stability analysis for free bars in straight channels
  • Bars in real rivers: processes, forms and implications for river behavior
  • Introduction on the use of BASEMENT for morphodynaic simulation in gravel bed rivers
  • Step-by-step development of a numerical simuation with BASEMENT of the development of river bars in a straight channel  
  • Numerical modelling of river bars eco-morphodynamics

At the end of the course, participants are expected to:

  • Have developed an understanding of how to integrate multiple approaches to investigate morphodynamics of river bars
  • Have learned the “machinery” that lays behind the linear stability analysis of free bars, and, more in general, behind stability analyses in eco-morphodynamic problems
  • Have learned to run numerical simulations with BASMENT 2D
  • Are able, individually or in small groups, to develop and use a simple computational tool to predict the main properties of free bars in straight channels.

The course is suitable for graduate students with a background in fluid mechanics, civil and environmental engineering, physical geography, environmental and physical sciences, including young scientists and professionals with an interest in increasing their knowledge of river morphodynamics.

Required background

A basic knowledge of the following is required:

  • Basic calculus, particularly ordinary and partial differential equations
  • Basic of fluid mechanics, particularly equations for momentum and mass conservation
  • (preferred) Basic knowledge of sediment transport processes and fundamental equations
  • Basic programming skills

Duration: 64 hours (8 credits)

Registration: please send an email and CV to dicamphd [at]