Expertise and Focus

My research is focused primarily on the river sediment budget framework; understanding how the nature and rates of sediment contribution from various sources drives system function and morphodynamics. I am particularly interested in the nature of sedimentary disturbance, such as landslide deliveries to river systems, on the smaller scale, or glaciation on a much larger one. Pushing a system to its limits tells us a great deal about the nature of river resilience, its adaption to change in governing variables, and the nature of system recovery.


Key Study Locations

My work has spanned a range of geographic localities and timescales. The map below points to some of my principal research sites, since my MSc work in Northern British Columbia.


Key Publications and Presentations

Brierley, G., Tadaki, M., Hikuroa, D., Blue, B., Šunde, C., Tunnicliffe, J., and Salmond, A. 2018. A geomorphic perspective on the rights of the river in Aotearoa New Zealand. River Research and Applications. doi:10.1002/rra.3343

Tunnicliffe, J., Howarth, J., Upton, P. and Massey, C. 2018. Landslide-induced aggradation dynamics in the fluvial system: A high-resolution topographic record of river change in the wake of the Nov 2016 Kaikōura Earthquake. American Geophysical Union Meeting. Dec 10-15, 2018, Washington DC.

Tunnicliffe, J., Fuller, I., Eaton, B., Peacock, D., and Marden, M. 2018. Reconstructing the sediment dynamics of an overloaded gravel bed river, East Cape, N.Z. Binghamton Symposium on Geomorphology. October 5-7, 2018. Syracuse, NY.

van der Sluijs, J., Kokelj, S.V., Fraser, R.H., Tunnicliffe, J., and Lacelle, D. 2018. Permafrost dynamics and infrastructure impacts revealed by UAV-derived terrain information. Remote Sensing (10, 954). doi:10.3390/rs10060954.

Leenman, A., and Tunnicliffe, J. (2018). Genesis of a major gully mass-wasting complex. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 129. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.10.029

Tunnicliffe, J., Brierley, G. J., Fuller, I. C., Leenman, A., Marden, M., & Peacock, D. (2017). Reaction and relaxation in a coarse-grained fluvial system following catchment-wide disturbance. Geomorphology. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.11.006

Walley, Y., Tunnicliffe, J., & Brierley, G. (2017). The influence of network structure upon sediment routing in two disturbed catchments, East Cape, New Zealand. Geomorphology. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.10.029

Tunnicliffe, J. and Brierley, G. (2016). Sediment Regime and River Morphodynamics. Oxford Bibliographies in Geography, doi:10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0061.

Brierley, G. and Tunnicliffe, J. (2016). Sediment Budgets and Sediment Delivery Ratios in River Systems. Oxford Bibliographies in Geography, doi:10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0058.

Kokelj, S.V., Lantz, T.C., Tunnicliffe, J., Segal, R., & Lacelle, D. (2016). Climate-driven thaw of permafrost preserved glacial landscapes, northwestern Canada. Geology. doi: 10.1130/G38626.1

Tunnicliffe, J., & Church, M. (2015). A 1-D morphodynamic model of postglacial valley incision. Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface, 120(11), 2253-2279. doi:10.1002/2014JF003370

Kokelj, S. V., Tunnicliffe, J., Lacelle, D., Lantz, T. C., Chin, K. S., & Fraser, R. (2015). Increased precipitation drives mega slump development and destabilization of ice-rich permafrost terrain, northwestern Canada. Global and Planetary Change, 129, 56-68. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2015.02.008


Tunnicliffe, J., Fuller, I., Eaton, B., Peacock, D., Marden, M. Reconstructing the sediment dynamics of an overloaded gravel bed river, East Cape, N.Z. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.




An example of a ‘DEM of Difference’, showing net change of a river reach along the Tapuaeroa River between 2015 and 2016. Red indicates erosion – generally depths are on the order of 1m; this example features the truncation of a tributary fan, leaving a 3m-high cut bank.