Morgane Houssais, PhD in Geophysics

        Currently research associate at the Levich Institute (City College of New York), I am generally interested in the material physics involved in landscapes dynamics. In particular I study phenomenons at the grain scale, and how they relate to systems dynamics at the macro-scale, such as the equilibrium shape and grain sizes organization of river channel, the self-organisation of river channels network, the size determination of giant eolian dunes and landslides triggering. 

        I principally conduct my research by setting up physical experiments of sediment transport dynamics observed at the grain scale. I started to do experiments during my PhD program at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), under the supervision of Eric Lajeunesse. My main results demonstrated that it is possible to very simply model bimodal sediment transport by measuring correctly the surface fraction of each size.  As postdoctoral researcher at University of Pennsylvania (department of Earth and Environmental Science) - under the supervision of Douglas Jerolmack and Douglas Durian and in close collaboration with Carlos Ortiz  (U. of Pennsylvania, Department of Physics and Astronomy) - I have developed a unique experiment to visualize bed load sediment transport in 3D. Thus far our results have allowed us to established new links between fundamental questions about river sediment transport and recent discoveries in granular systems rheology. 

       Meanwhile, I'm also part of projects developing new field data analysis. I try to better understand the maximum size  of dunes size and their coupling to the atmospheric boundary layer, using new radar data in collaboration with Federico Falcini (Instituto di Scienze dell'Atmosfera e del Clima, Italy). I am also involved in a fieldwork project in India to characterize the channels dynamics of the Kosi river system, one of the most dynamics river in the world, close to Himalaya, in collaboration with Gaurav Kumar, Francois Métivier and Rajiv Sinha (IIT Kanpur and IPGP).

       As the fellow at the Levich Institute, I am willing to lead my research toward the problem of soil mechanics, and in particular investigate the influence of interstitial fluid flow on soil creep (in collaboration with Joel Koplik, Charles Maldarelli, Jeffrey Morris and Mark Shattuck). In collaboration with the group of Jeffrey Morris I am also interested in connecting the bedload-to-suspension regime transition to the dynamics of shear thickening.