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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Undergraduate wins national dissertation prize

Published: 7 October 2011

Physical Geography graduate Alexandra Semproni (BSc, 2011) has been awarded a runners-up prize by the British Hydrological Society for her undergraduate thesis 'A morphological investigation of step-pools using flume experiments'.

Abstract: Step-pool systems are predominantly present in steep channels where lateral erosion and incision are high.
To reduce the potential energy of the water, the step-pool sequences encourage tumbling flow, which dissipates energy.
This investigation considers step-pool morphology through a series of flume experiments. The relationships between key variables are investigated and compared with the findings in the literature.
The variables are normalised by other key variables which are thought to have some control, removing scale and dimensions. Dimensionless variables are important as this is the only method by which findings from different studies can be compared adequately.
Without the issue of scale, trends and relationships can be easily identified. This investigation found a number of strong correlations; the strongest of which is between step height and keystone size (R2 = 0.87).

Future research progressing from this study will be to conduct a wider, more in depth comparison of dimensionless variables of previous findings. This has the potential to improve the management and restoration of step-pool systems.

Supervised by Keith Richardson, the reviewers stated that her dissertation thesis was of outstanding quality and she will receive a prize of £200.

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