The annual BSG Conference – Southampton

This year the BSG Annual meeting was hosted by Southampton University and geomorphologists from across the globe descended upon Glen Eyre halls. Map reading skills were put to the test straight away, as the first challenge was to locate the Shackleton building for registration. Strolling through the campus it was evident that this was no easy task, however; after following a rather convoluted route, the BSG registration desk was a welcome sight. All delegates were given a ‘goody bag’ upon registration, which included the very popular BSG mug!

The conference kicked off for us postgrads with the Early Career Researcher Workshop, with some very insightful hints and tips on grant applications and publishing from Steve Darby and Paul Carling, respectively. The talks were really useful for becoming acquainted with all the key jargon and best practice, especially for those who had not yet approached either activity.

The first day’s afternoon session played host to some really great talks from postgrads and early career researchers investigating fluvial geomorphology themes. This was plenty to whet (or maybe even wet? Sorry for the terrible pun!) our appetites for the drinks reception where we were treated to the finest local wines and beers. In true geomorphology style, the various options were placed onto a geological map and provided with the odd Munsell soil colour value – the red wine was a lovely 10RP 2/8! For those questioning the quality of British wines, we are pleased to report that the Southampton area is in fact able to produce something quite nice (keep your eyes peeled for a DOP classification any day now). Suitably merry we were then treated to an enjoyable Frost lecture from Prof. Paul Carling, who commented on the journey to geomorphological success and warned of the potential for Boojums along the way (!).

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Following a night of sampling the local produce (by the bottle), the second morning saw a few weary eyes sat around the breakfast tables. The first session of the day kicked-off with the Wiley award lecture delivered by Dr Liran Goren, who discussed the characteristics of migrating water divides and the potential of landscape evolution models to evaluate adjustment timescales within drainage basins. This great award lecture was followed by a number of interesting talks covering hillslope processes, sediment transfer and the modelling of sediment transfer in a wide range of environments.

After a short coffee break the morning sessions resumed, this saw the return of a fluvial geomorphology theme, with the session having a particular focus on bed form and fluvial deposits. Included within the talks was the Gordon Warwick Award Lecture which was given by Dr Kirstie Fryirs. The award lecture explored current understanding of river sensitivity on different scales, including landform, reach and catchment scale. As well as considering issues from a geomorphological perspective the talk highlighted the perspective of land owners and authorities, with examples provided from Australian river catchments. This award lecture concluded the excellent morning sessions and paved way for a wonderful cooked lunch.

The afternoon sessions began with the Dick Chorley Medal Lecture from Dr Michelle Johnson, who discussed the potential of OSL dating and 10Be inventories to assess bioturbation within Australian soil profiles. This award lecture was followed by talks covering luminescence and cosmogenic dating, all of which focused on field sites in Southern Africa- which must be the place to go! It was wonderful to see a number of these talks were from current BSG postgraduates. The afternoon sessions were rounded off by the Awards and Fellows presentation ceremony.

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The conference dinner was a real highlight: aboard the Princess Caroline on a cruise about the Solent! We were also lucky with the weather, which resulted in not-so-choppy waters and helped to ensure any of those without sea legs were able to fully enjoy their dinners! We were accompanied by a saxophonist who somehow was able to continue playing, quite impressively, for the duration of the ride. After the wine with dinner and drinks from the bar, navigating the jetties back to safe ground was a potentially dangerous activity but thankfully no geomorphologists found themselves swimming in the harbour that evening.

Wednesday morning started with sore heads and a poster session, where postgrads were very well represented and the room was full of very high quality posters. There was a lot of engagement with the posters, further enhanced by the arrival of teas, coffees and pastries mid-morning. The posters demonstrated the wide reach of geomorphology and demonstrated the really exciting research currently ongoing in the field.

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The posters were followed by Prof. Keith Richards, recipient of this year’s David Linton award, who delivered an engaging lecture on the use of different scales and methods in geomorphological science, drawing on a wide range of examples from his extensive experience. After this the penultimate session investigated coastal, dryland and dune geomorphology, with three really interesting talks for us to enjoy.

Lunch included the the BSG’s annual general meeting, where the finances, grants and future locations of the BSG conferences were discussed. The final session of the conference hosted a more varied mix of geomorphological interests: from peatlands to landslides and terrestrial laser scanning to palaeorivers. This kept people on their toes for the last few talks of the conference and, through the presentation of some really interesting research, demonstrated the breadth of geomorphological inquiry today.

At the very end of the conference it was announced that there is a Bernie Smith Postgraduate prize for the best poster and best talk. The best talk was awarded to Alexander Horton for his work titled ‘Modification of river meandering caused by tropical deforestation’. The best poster was awarded to Poonperm Vardhanabindu for his work titled ‘Measuring topographic change due to splash erosion using Structure from Motion’. Well done to both of you! There was a great representation from the postgraduate membership this year. A huge well done to all those that presented talks and posters, all were of very high quality! Overallthe BSG Annual meeting was very enjoyable and a great success, and a big thank you goes to Southampton University and the organising committee!

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