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Boston College

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Environmental Studies Program

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I am a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College. My research interests include fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, ecology, and river restoration. I am particularly interested in the interaction of surface processes with human activities and climate. I teach courses both in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences - River Restoration and Management (EESC 3312), Ecosystems (EESC 2202), and Water Resources (EESC 2203) - and as part of the Environmental Studies Program - Senior Seminar for Minors (EESC 508).


My fascination with geology began at a young age when I first stood looking up at the magnificent peaks and glaciers of the French Alps. I grew up in Virginia exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, playing in the local creeks, and tubing down the James River every summer. I attended the College of William and Mary, where I earned a degree in Environmental Geology. I gained an even greater appreciation of geology through our many field trips in Virginia and a three week course exploring the Colorado Plateau. I broadened and gained further field experiences by attending a 6 week Earth System Science field course at Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center in Arizona.

After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to begin my graduate work at Colorado State University. My first summer in Colorado, I lived for three months in the Rocky Mountains, hiking through the wilderness in the White River National Forest and subsequently investigating the impacts of ski slope development on small mountain streams. The USDA Forest Service Stream Technology Center funded this project to help in the development of better management practices. I found that I enjoyed working on a project that had a direct application to management, thus beginning my interest in developing research projects related to understanding the best practices for river restoration. After completing my Masters degree, I continued my exploration of the Rocky Mountains and began my PhD work in Fraser Experimental Forest, which is managed by the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. I shifted focus from investigating the larger scale impacts of watershed development on a stream channel to understanding the process of energy loss to flow resistance in a mountain channel. This work can help in building better predictive models for determining velocity and discharge in these channels.

Once I finished with my PhD work, I spent some more time in Fort Collins working for the USDA Forest Service Stream Technology Center. I investigated methods that had been implemented for mitigating impacts of channel incision in streams around the world.

I continued to broaden my research interests into studies linking ecology and geomorphology when I moved to Brunswick, ME to work as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bowdoin College. I began to explore New England geomorphology and was able to continue this exploration in my current position at Boston College. My current work is focused on linking ecological and physical processes in a channel by investigating the impacts of beaver versus man-made dams on streams in Massachusetts.



Gabrielle C. L. David

Gabrielle C. L. David on the Colorado River (2008).
Rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Mill River, Taunton, MA

Ground-based LiDAR on East St. Louis Creek, Colorado
Field work in Colorado. Photograph courtesy of Steven Yochum.