Quinn Lewis

Assistant Professor

Dr. Lewis

EV1-233, ext. 48158


Quinn joined the department in 2020 after a 2-year post-doc at Indiana University, where he used UAVs to study erosional processes on rivers and the effects of tree uprooting on hillslope morphology. His previous work spans from studies on the fluid dynamics of river confluences to using citizen-produced imagery datasets in physical geography. Quinn’s current research focuses on morphology and evolution of fluvial landscapes, with the unifying theme of research on process, form, and the transfer of material and energy that links the two.

Key Areas of Graduate Supervision
fluvial geomorphology, water resources, hillslope erosion and watershed processes, remote sensing of rivers, UAVs

Recent Courses Taught


Research Interests
My research is focused broadly on the trinity of physical process, physical form, and energy and material transfer that links the two. A current project that demonstrates this theme is research on the process of river cutoff – when rivers suddenly take a more efficient path downslope and abandon their former channels. This process results in characteristic landforms, which I study with field and remote sensing techniques. A fundamental goal of this research is to better understand how and when rivers take their new course by studying their form before and after river cutoff. I combine these analyses of form with data on water discharge and sediment transport during, before, and after cutoff, which provides a more complete understanding of the entire cutoff process. I am actively translating these results to the global scale to elucidate how the river cutoff process changes with space and time.

Much of my past and current research has leveraged state-of-the-art technology to improve our understanding of dynamic and interrelated physical processes and landforms. Although my work occurs mainly in the field, I also use and work with those who use remote sensing and modeling. I also focus on interdisciplinary research that crosses scales. Some examples of my active research projects include studying how trees directly influence hillslope morphology using field data and modeling, using citizen science to assess human-induced erosion and vandalism at rock outcrops, and developing new techniques to study lake and reservoir water levels globally with remote sensing.

See Dr. Lewis' personal website here.

Recent Publications

  • Lewis, Q.W., Edmonds, D.A., and Yanites, B.J. in press. Integrated UAS and LIDAR Reveals the Importance of Land Cover and Flood Magnitude on the Formation of Incipient Chute Scours and Chute Cutoff Development. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.
  • Park, E., Lewis, Q.W., and Sanwlani, N. 2019. Large Lake Gauging using Fractional Imagery. Journal of Environmental Management. 231, 687-693. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.10.044.
  • Lewis, Q.W., and Rhoads, B.L. 2018a. LSPIV Measurements of Two-dimensional Flow Structure in Streams using Small Unmanned Aerial Systems: 1. Accuracy Assessment based on Comparison with Stationary Camera Platforms and In-stream Velocity Measurements. Water Resources Research. doi.org/10.1029/2018WR022550.
  • Lewis, Q.W., and Rhoads, B.L. 2018b. LSPIV Measurements of Two-dimensional Flow Structure in Streams using Small Unmanned Aerial Systems: 2. Hydrodynamic Mapping at River Confluences. Water Resources Research. doi.org/10.1029/2018WR022551.
  • Lewis, Q.W., Lindroth, E.M., and Rhoads, B.L. 2018. Integrating Unmanned Aerial Systems and LSPIV for Rapid, Cost-effective Stream Gauging, Journal of Hydrology, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.008.
  • Wang, Y., Wang, D., Lewis, Q.W., Wu, J., and Huang, F. 2017. A framework to assess the cumulative impacts of dams on hydrological regime: a case study of the Yangtze River, Hydrological Processes, 31: 3045-3055. doi:10.1002/hyp.11239.
  • Lewis, Q.W., and Park, E. 2017. Volunteered Geographic Videos in Physical Geography: Data Mining from Youtube, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 5: 1-19. doi:10.1080/24694452.2017.1343658.
  • Rhoads, B. L., Lewis, Q.W., and Andresen, W. 2016. Historical Channel Change in an Intensively Managed Landscape: Natural versus Human-induced Effects, Geomorphology, 252: 17-31. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.04.021.
  • Lewis, Q.W., and Rhoads, B.L. 2015b. Resolving two-dimensional flow structure in rivers using large-scale particle image velocimetry: An example from a stream confluence, Water Resources Research. 51.10: 7977-7994. doi:10.1002/2015WR017783.
  • Lewis, Q.W., and Rhoads, B.L. 2015a. Rates and Patterns of Temperature Mixing at a Small Stream Confluence under Variable Incoming Flow Conditions, Hydrological Processes, 29:20, p. 4442-4456. doi:10.1002/hyp.10496.