Hugh Smith

Lecturer in Physical Geography


Hugh Smith is a member of the Institute of Risk and Uncertainty and the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool. He received a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science (2003) and a PhD (2007) which examined scale effects on catchment sediment dynamics from the University of Sydney. Following graduation, Dr Smith worked for the Rivers and Wetlands Unit in the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change. He accepted a research fellowship in 2008 at the University of Melbourne and worked on a range of projects investigating wildfire effects on hydrologic and geomorphic processes in forest environments. In 2011, he was awarded an EU-FP7 funded Marie Curie Fellowship based at the University of Plymouth. His work focused on developing approaches for quantifying the sources and residence times of fine sediment and associated metal contaminants in river systems affected by historic mining pollution. Dr Smith joined the University of Liverpool as a lecturer in Physical Geography in 2013.

Dr Smith’s research interests concern river catchment processes, sediment dynamics and hydrology. He utilises process-based approaches to investigate runoff generation, soil erosion, sediment storage and transfer in river catchments spanning a range of spatial scales. He has a particular interest in catchment responses to natural disturbances such as wildfire as well as human impacts. Analysis of risk is an important aspect of investigations into catchment disturbance by wildfire and the occurrence of high magnitude erosion events. His work on human impacts includes understanding the redistribution of environmental contaminants associated with fine sediment. Dr Smith is currently involved in projects on the fluvial redistribution of sediment-associated radiocaesium following the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, modelling spatially-distributed sediment budgets in agricultural catchments and testing geochemical fingerprinting techniques for quantifying catchment sediment sources.

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  • PhD, Scale analysis of sediment dynamics in an upland headwater catchment, south-eastern Australia, 2007, University of Sydney.
  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, 2003, University of Sydney.

Honours & Awards

  • Marie Curie Fellow (2011-2013)

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Professional Activities

Professional Societies

  • European Geosciences Union
  • British Society for Geomorphology
  • International Association of Hydrological Sciences
  • Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group

Editorships / Editorial Boards

  • Subject editor for the Journal of Soils and Sediments

Teaching Areas

  • Hydrology
  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Natural hazards
  • Laboratory methods and techniques

Research Interests

  • Fine sediment and associated contaminant transfer in river catchments
  • Use of fallout radionuclides and other tracers to investigate catchment sediment dynamics
  • Fire and other disturbance effects on hydrologic and geomorphic processes in forest environments
  • Scale and processes in river catchments

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Selected Publications

  1. Nyman, P., Sheridan, G.J., Moody, J. Smith, H.G., Noske, P., Lane, P.N.J. 2013. Sediment availability on burned      hillslopes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface(in press)

  2. Smith, H.G., Blake, W.H. 2013. Sediment fingerprinting in agricultural catchments: a critical re-examination of source discrimination and data corrections. Geomorphology (in press).

  3. Cawson, J.G., Sheridan, G.J., Smith, H.G., Lane, P.N.J. 2013. Effects of fire severity and burn patchiness on hillslope-scale surface runoff, erosion and hydrologic connectivity in a prescribed burn. Forest Ecology and Management, 310: 219-233.

  4. Taylor, A., Blake, W.H., Smith, H.G., Mabit, L., Keith-Roach, M.J. 2013. Assumptions and challenges in the use of fallout beryllium-7 as a soil and sediment tracer. Earth-Science Reviews, 126: 85-95.

  5. Smith, H.G., Blake, W.H., Owens, P.N. 2013. Discriminating fine sediment sources and the application of sediment tracers in burned catchments: a review. Hydrological Processes, 27: 943-958.

  6. Cawson, J., Sheridan, G.J., Smith, H.G., Lane, P.N.J. 2012. Surface runoff and erosion after prescribed burning and the effect of different fire regimes: a review. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21: 857-872.

  7. Smith, H.G., Sheridan, G.J., Nyman, P., Child, D.P., Lane, P.N.J, Hotchkis, M.A.C., Jacobsen, G.E. 2012. Quantifying sources of fine sediment supplied to post-fire debris flows using fallout radionuclide tracers. Geomorphology, 139-140: 403-415.

  8. Smith, H.G., Hopmans, P., Sheridan, G., Lane, P.N.J., Noske, P.J., Bren, L.J. 2012. Impacts of wildfire and salvage harvesting on water quality and nutrient exports from  radiata pine and eucalypt forest catchments in south-eastern Australia. Forest Ecology and Management, 263: 160-169.

  9. Smith, H.G., Sheridan, G.J., Lane, P.N.J., Noske, P., Heijnis, H. 2011. Changes to sediment sources following wildfire in a forested upland catchment, south-eastern Australia. Hydrological Processes, 25: 2878-2889.

  10. Smith, H.G., Sheridan, G.J., Lane, P.N.J., Bren, L. 2011. Wildfire and salvage harvesting effects on runoff generation and sediment exports from eucalypt and radiata pine forest catchments, south-eastern Australia. Forest Ecology and      Management, 261: 570-581.

  11. Smith, H.G., Sheridan, G.J., Lane, P.N.J., Nyman, P., Haydon, S. 2011. Wildfire effects on water quality in forest catchments: a review with implications for water supply. Journal of Hydrology, 396: 170-192.

  12. Nyman, P., Sheridan, G.J., Smith, H.G., Lane, P.N.J. 2011. Evidence of debris flow occurrence after wildfire in upland catchments of south-east Australia. Geomorphology, 125: 383-401.

  13. Mason, C., Sheridan, G.J., Smith, H.G., Chong, D., Tolhurst, K. 2011. Wildfire risk to water supply catchments: a Monte Carlo simulation model. In Chan, F., Marinova, D. and Anderssen, R.S. (eds), MODSIM2011: 19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, pp. 2831-2837.

  14. Smith, H.G., Sheridan, G.J., Lane, P.N.J., Sherwin, C.B. 2010. Paired Eucalyptus forest catchment study of prescribed fire effects on suspended sediment and nutrient exports in south-eastern Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 19: 624-636.

  15. Smith, H.G., Dragovich, D. 2009. Interpreting sediment delivery processes using suspended sediment-discharge hysteresis patterns from nested upland catchments, south-eastern Australia. Hydrological Processes, 23: 2415-2426.

  16. Smith, H.G.,Sheridan, G.J., Nyman, P., Lane, P.N.J, Haydon, S. 2009. A framework for modelling  suspended sediment flux following wildfire in forested water supply catchments, south-eastern Australia. In Anderssen, R.S., Braddock, R.D., and Newham, L.T.H. (eds), MODSIM2009: 18th World IMACS Congress and International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, pp. 3549-3555.

  17. Smith, H.G. 2008. Estimation of suspended sediment loads and delivery in an incised upland headwater catchment, south-eastern Australia. Hydrological Processes, 22: 3135-3148.

  18. Smith, H.G., Dragovich, D. 2008. Improving precision in sediment source and erosion process distinction in an upland catchment, south-eastern Australia. Catena, 72: 191-203.

  19. Smith, H.G., Dragovich, D. 2008. Sediment budget analysis of slope-channel coupling and in-channel sediment storage in an upland catchment, southeastern Australia. Geomorphology,101: 643-654.

  20. Smith, H.G., Dragovich, D. 2008.  Post-fire hillslope erosion response in a sub-alpine environment, south-eastern Australia. Catena, 73: 274-285.

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