Aberystwyth University

​Aberystwyth University has a proud history dating back to 1872 – when the people of Wales established it as the first Welsh University. Since its early days the University has developed areas of great strength. We have exceptional commitment and results in both research and teaching and a firm friendship with the town and local community, on which we must build for the future. Those strengths, of course, come directly from the involvement and efforts of a whole range of exceptional people; with outstanding contributions from academic and professional support staff and students, working together to provide an excellent student experience and a fantastic place to work.

Two Aberystwyth research groups are jointly working with the COBWEB team;

  • River Basin Dynamics and Hydrology Research Group
  • The Earth Observation and Ecosystems Dynamics group

The RBDHRG aims to advance understanding of the functioning of the catchment system, its processes, drivers of change and patterns of response. Our research addresses disparate environments and spans a wide range of time and space scales; working from the instantaneous, local controls on particle entrainment to the influence of climate and land-use on shaping rivers and their basins over millennia. The group has particular strengths in three overlapping areas:

  • Monitoring and Modelling Catchment Processes: Developing earth observation tools for monitoring morphodynamics and flow resistance; multi-scale characterization of morphology; dynamics of mixed bedrock-alluvial rivers; reduced complexity models of hydraulics and landscape evolution.
  • River System and Catchment Response to Environmental Change: Application of geochronology to fluvial deposits; quantifying and interpreting fluvial sedimentary archives; assessing the drivers and controls of river and catchment response; impacts of metal mining on the fluvial system.
  • Catchment and Coastal Water Quality: Modeling fluxes of indicator bacteria and pathogens in bathing and drinking water and coastal fisheries; linking catchment and coastal fluxes and circulations of pathogens; quantifying health effects due to contact with 'environmental' waters.


The Earth Observation and Ecosystems Dynamics Group’s primary focus is to advance the use and integration of ground, airborne and spaceborne remote sensing data for better understanding the direct and indirect impacts of anthropogenically-induced and climate change on ecosystems and environments. Our research is worldwide and covers a diversity of environments from tropical rainforests and mangroves to high altitude glaciers.

The computer and field-based facilities of the Unit also represent a major resource within the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES), which gives staff, undergraduate and postgraduate (Masters and Ph.D) students access to some of the most up-to-date computing facilities and software available for data processing.  The group’s research focuses primarily on the following areas:

  • Vegetation carbon dynamics in wooded savannahs
  • Characterising mangroves and monitoring response to coastal environmental change
  • Dynamics of tropical forest regeneration and degradation
  • Remote sensing for assessing biodiversity
  • Habitat classification and vegetation condition assessment.
  • Glacial hazards