Geography / Geology
School of Environmental Sciences

Daniel Parsons

Professor Parsons

Professor in Process Sedimentology

School of Environmental Sciences

  • Profile
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • PhD Supervision
  • Publications
  • Twitter
  • Projects



Hi there! My name is Dan and I am a Professor in Process Sedimentology here at the University of Hull. I completed my PhD at The University of Sheffield in 2004 before moving to work on a NERC funded Post-Doctoral Research Assistant post in Earth Sciences at the University of Leeds. In 2005 I was awarded a NERC Research Fellowship, which allowed me to follow my own independent research programme for 3 years. Following the completion of my Fellowship term, I spent a year at the Department of Geology at the University of Illinois, USA, before returning to Leeds in 2010 to take up a Lectureship post in Earth System Science at the School of Earth and Environment. In 2011 I moved east down the M62 to the University of Hull, where I hold a Personal Chair as Professor in Process Sedimentology. I am actively researching in several areas related to fluvial, estuarine, coastal and deep marine sedimentology. My research focuses on the interaction between fluid flows and mobile sediment, using a process based approach that combines fieldwork, laboratory experimentation and numerical modelling. I am keen on techniques and methodological developments that enhance substantive understanding of the processes within the field of sedimentology. I teach on modules that align with my research, enabling me to bring cutting-edge research into the lecture theatre. You can find out about my current and recent research projects and my teaching interests on my personal website (link forthcoming), where you can also find a complete list and download information on my publications, and also a fuller biography and CV.



My philosophy to to bring in as much of my research into my teaching, with the aim of engaging students at the forefront of research in the field. I currently teach on the following modules:

  • 16140 : Dangerous Planet
  • 16206 : Field Study Spain
  • 16272 : Dynamic Planet
  • 16279 : Geomorphology: Processes and Landforms
  • 16362: Large River Environments: Past and Future
  • 16443: Research Design


Research Interests

My research interests are based around an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the study of earth surface processes, and investigating process, form and product linkages in hydraulics and sedimentology. I believe that the future of internationally significant research lies in developing research links across traditional subject divides, developing new methodologies and research tools and focusing these activities into the key areas that face the earth and environmental sciences. More details on all of my research interests, ongoing and completed projects and the future directions I see my research moving into can be found on my personal website (link forthcoming).

Research Team: Post-Doctoral Researchers

I am working on several ongoing research projects that involve a number of post-doctoral investigators

  • Dr Rob Dorrell - Modelling the dynamics of gravity driven currents in submarine bends
  • Dr Sally Little - Dynamic Humber Project (Environmental Change Impacts)
  • Dr Jonathan Malarkey - Realistic Sedimentary Bedform Processes: incorporating cohesive forces
  • Jorge Ramirez - Dynamic Humber Project (Numerical Modelling)
  • Dr Arjan Reesink - Monitoring and modelling bedform dynamics in unsteady flows
  • Dr Steve Sandbach - Modelling the morphodynamics and sedimentology of the tidally-influenced fluvial zone
  • Dr Steve Simmons - Environmental impacts of tidal-stream turbines
  • Dr Steve Sandbach - Modelling the morphodynamics and sedimentology of the tidally-influenced fluvial zone 
  • Dr Esther Sumner - Monitoring the dynamics of gravity driven currents in submarine channel bends 
  • Dr Rob Schindler - Realistic Sedimentary Bedform Processes: incorporating cohesive forces
  • Dr Tao Wei - Plunging dynamics of gravity driven flows
  • Dr Chris Skinner - Dynamic Humber Project (Numerical Modelling) 
  • Dr Timothy Marjoribanks - Modelling flows within vegetation canopies
  • Dr Chris Hackney - STELAR-S2S Project - Alluvial sediment transfers in a mega-river

PhD Supervision

Research Team: Post-Graduate Research Students

I have a team Postgraduates, who I am supervising and guiding in their research projects. I would welcome the opportunity to supervise new projects in any of the areas broadly related to my present research themes. See Opportunities section on my personal website (forthcoming). The present team include:

  • Claire Keevil - Estuarine sediment transport processes and morphodynamics
  • David Jordan - Flow-vegetation interactions 
  • Chris Unsworth - Unsteady bedform dynamics
  • Daowei Yin (Leeds) - Erosive bedform evolution and dynamics
  • Leiping Ye - Sediment transport and bedforms in unidirectional flow over cohesive substrates
  • Xuxu Wu - Wave induced sediment transport and bedform generation over cohesive substrates  
  • Kevin Woodbridge - Fluvio-tectonic interactions


My full citation record can be found online.


  • SD Sandbach, SN Lane, RJ Hardy, ML Amster, PJ Ashworth, JL Best, O Orfeo, DR Parsons, Reesink, A.J.H., Sambrook Smith, G.H. and Szupiany, R.N (2012) Application of a roughness-length representation to parameterize energy-loss in 3D numerical simulations of large rivers. Water Resources Research (forthcoming).
  • RN Szupiany, ML Amsler, J Hernandez, DR Parsons, JL Best, E Fornari, A Trento (2012) Flow fields, bed shear stresses, and suspended bed sediment dynamics in bifurcations of a large river, Water Resources Research 48 (11), W11515.
  • DR Parsons, J Best (2012) Bedforms: views and new perspectives from the third international workshop on Marine and River Dune Dynamics (MARID3). Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (online early).
  • X Liu, G Parker, JA Czuba, K Oberg, JM Mier, JL Best, DR Parsons, P Ashmore (2012) Sediment mobility and bed armoring in the St Clair River: insights from hydrodynamic modeling. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (online early).
  • AP Nicholas, SD Sandbach, PJ Ashworth, ML Amsler, JL Best, RJ Hardy, SN Lane, Oscar Orfeo, Daniel R Parsons, Arnold JH Reesink, Gregory H Sambrook Smith, Ricardo N Szupiany (2012) Modelling hydrodynamics in the Rio Paraná, Argentina: An evaluation and inter-comparison of reduced-complexity and physics based models applied to a large sand-bed river. Geomorphology (online early).
  • K Blanckaert, MG Kleinhans, SJ McLelland, WSJ Uijttewaal, BJ Murphy, Anja Kruijs, Daniel R Parsons, Qiuwen Chen. (2012) Flow separation at the inner (convex) and outer (concave) banks of constant‐width and widening open‐channel bends. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (online early).


  • RE Thomas, DR Parsons, SD Sandbach, GM Keevil, WA Marra, RJ Hardy, JL Best (2011) An experimental study of discharge partitioning and flow structure at symmetrical bifurcations. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms - DOI: 10.1002/esp.2231.
  • JA Czuba, JL Best, KA Oberg, DR Parsons, PR Jackson, MH Garcia, P Ashmore (2011) Bed morphology, flow structure, and sediment transport at the outlet of Lake Huron and in the upper St. Clair River. Journal of Great Lakes Research 37 (3), 480-493.
  • Hardy, RJ; Best, JL; Parsons, DR; Keevil, GM (2011) On determining the geometric and kinematic characteristics of coherent flow structures over a gravel bed: a new approach using combined PLIF-PIV, EARTH SURF PROC LAND, 36, pp.279-284. doi:10.1002/esp.2118


  • Edmonds, D; Slingerland, R; Best, J; Parsons, D; Smith, N (2010) Response of river-dominated delta channel networks to permanent changes in river discharge, GEOPHYS RES LETT, 37, . doi:10.1029/2010GL043269
  • Parsons, DR; Peakall, J; Aksu, AE; Flood, RD; Hiscott, RN; Besiktepe, S; Mouland, D (2010) Gravity-driven flow in a submarine channel bend: Direct field evidence of helical flow reversal, GEOLOGY, 38, pp.1063-1066. doi:10.1130/G31121.1
  • Best, J; Simmons, S; Parsons, D; Oberg, K; Czuba, J; Malzone, C (2010) A new methodology for the quantitative visualization of coherent flow structures in alluvial channels using multibeam echo-sounding (MBES), GEOPHYS RES LETT, 37, . doi:10.1029/2009GL041852
  • Shugar, DH; Kostaschuk, R; Best, JL; Parsons, DR; Lane, SN; Orfeo, O; Hardy, RJ (2010) On the relationship between flow and suspended sediment transport over the crest of a sand dune, Rio Parana, Argentina,SEDIMENTOLOGY, 57, pp.252-272. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3091.2009.01110.x


  • Kay, P; Armstrong, A; McDonald, A; Parsons, D; Best, J; Peakall, J; Walker, A; Foulger, M; Gledhill, S; Tillotson, M (2009) A pilot study of the efficacy of residuum lodges for managing sediment delivery to impoundment reservoirs, WATER ENVIRON J, 23, pp.52-62. doi:10.1111/j.1747-6593.2008.00111.x
  • Szupiany, RN; Amsler, ML; Parsons, DR; Best, JL (2009) Morphology, flow structure, and suspended bed sediment transport at two large braid-bar confluences, WATER RESOUR RES, 45, . doi:10.1029/2008WR007428
  • Kostaschuk, R; Shugar, D; Best, J; Parsons, D; Lane, S; Hardy, R; Orfeo, O (2009) Suspended sediment transport and deposition over a dune: Rio Parana, Argentina, EARTH SURF PROC LAND, 34, pp.1605-1611. doi:10.1002/esp.1847
  • Smith, GHS; Ashworth, PJ; Best, JL; Lunt, IA; Orfeo, O; Parsons, DR (2009) THE SEDIMENTOLOGY AND ALLUVIAL ARCHITECTURE OF A LARGE BRAID BAR, RIO PARANA, ARGENTINA, J SEDIMENT RES, 79, pp.629-642. doi:10.2110/jsr.2009.066


  • Lane, SN; Parsons, DR; Best, JL; Orfeo, O; Kostaschuk, RA; Hardy, RJ (2008) Causes of rapid mixing at a junction of two large rivers: Rio Parana and Rio Paraguay, Argentina, J GEOPHYS RES-EARTH, 113, . doi:10.1029/2006JF000745
  • Corney, RKT; Peakall, J; Parsons, DR; Elliott, L; Best, JL; Thomas, RE; Keevil, GM; Ingham, DB; Amos, KJ (2008) Reply to Discussion of Imran et al. on "The orientation of helical flow in curved channels" by Corney et al., Sedimentology, 53, 249-257, SEDIMENTOLOGY, 55, pp.241-247. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3091.2007.00925.x


  • Hardy, RJ; Lane, SN; Ferguson, RI; Parsons, DR (2007) Emergence of coherent flow structures over a gravel surface: A numerical experiment, WATER RESOUR RES, 43, . doi:10.1029/2006WR004936
  • Parsons, DR; Best, JL; Lane, SN; Orfeo, O; Hardy, RJ; Kostaschuk, R (2007) Form roughness and the absence of secondary flow in a large confluence-diffluence, Rio Parana, Argentina, EARTH SURF PROC LAND,32, pp.155-162. doi:10.1002/esp.1457


Corney, RKT; Peakall, J; Parsons, DR; Elliott, L; Amos, KJ; Best, JL; Keevil, GM; Ingham, DB (2006) The orientation of helical flow in curved channels, SEDIMENTOLOGY, 53, pp.249-257. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3091.2006.00771.x

A full list of my publications is available in pdf format.

Outside Interests

Outside of work I enjoy playing and watching many sports including football, squash, rugby and snooker, having played County standard Association Football for the past 11 years. I also used to play Futsal, playing in the FA Futsal Cup and English National Finals in 2008 and 2009 - but am getting too old to keep up at that high intensity form of the game! I often go hiking in the Peak Distinct and Snowdonia National Parks and I also enjoy watching films and reading books, particularly biographies.



Amongst others, I am currently leading or involved with the projects detailed below:

NERC Project - Quantifying Fluvial Bedform Unsteadiness

EU Project - HydralabIV

NERC Project - S2S: Sediment Transfer in Large Rivers

NERC Project - Tidally-Influenced Fluvial Zone Sedimentology

EPSRC Project - SUPERGEN MARINE - Interactions of flow, tidal stream turbines and local sediment bed conditions under combined wave and tidal conditions

NERC Project - Dynamics and deposits of the world's largest rivers

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