Small Scale Morphological Evolution of Coastal, Estuarine & River Systems


Local processes, BANK EROSION and meandering

International Conference


Venue : Ifremer Centre Atlantique

Rue de l'Ile d'Yeu
B.P. 21105
44311 Nantes Cedex 03

Nantes, 6-7 October 2014



The morphological evolution of coastal, estuarine or river systems result from coupling mechanisms between sediment movement and hydrodynamic processes. Biota can interfere, either by altering substratum mechanical properties or by impacting hydrodynamics and resulting sediment processes.

Since the 19th century, anticipating morphological changes has been required for many purposes: land occupation, coastal stability, improvement of waterways navigability, inundation risks, bank erosion. Recently, this need has been enhanced for environmental concerns : for instance, European directives require the identification of hydromorphological indicators which are likely to allow a good ecological status. Preserving biodiversity and resulting ecosystem services requires to improve our capacity to forecast morphological equilibriums, or their evolution according to environmental changes (natural, anthropic, either natural or induced by climate change or human use of systems).


Forecasting morphological changes has been most often achieved through expert evaluations by engineers or geomorphologists. Recently, knowledge and mathematical formulation of sediment processes, as well as computer capacity have progressed considerably, and hydrodynamics simulations are becoming more and more accurate, so that modelling morphodynamics of natural systems improves noticeably. The conference aims to face some locks of this discipline, mainly :

- the lateral channel dynamics: lateral erosion, morphological instabilities, vegetation impact

- plan-forms evolution: meandering, braided and/or multiple channel processes,

- determinism of drainage patterns, in particular creeks in intertidal flats or inundation plains.

Attention will be focused on the following items :   

-        propose and describe mechanisms for generating and changing morphological patterns such as meanders and islands, at different scales,

-        characterize the patterns rhythmicity, propose invariants,

-        list and describe processes controlling these pattern formations, such as dessication, drainage, sedimentation, lateral deposition and erosion, scouring, flushing, bank collapses, slidings, secondary flows

-        identify effects of sand and mud mixing, pebbles and silts, and those resulting from size sorting

-        specify the role of rocky outcrops, of riparian vegetation, in particular on river or shore banks stability

-        characterize the effects of small scale structures on large scale morphological patterns

-        improve sub-grid representation or parameterization of these structures in large scale regional models

-        account for restoration plans on fluvial and coastal forms


One specificity of the conference will consist in considering the diversity of environments (beaches, coastal embayments, estuaries, tidal flats, rivers and Alpine torrents...), reviewing the diversity of approaches (observations, hyperspectral optical images, acoustic images, field measurements, experimental modelling, conceptual modelling, stability analysis, mathematical modelling...), and gathering different communities of searchers and engineers (geomorphologists, sedimentologists, structural geologists, geophysicists, engineers in hydraulics, soil mechanics, rheology ...). In particular, it is aimed to promote bridges between different audiences and cultures, exchanging ideas and views.

The conference language will be English, with supporting documents in French or English, or both. All oral sessions will be plenary, and poster sessions are planned, all posters being exhibited during the whole conference


Terms and conditions for the submission of oral communications or posters

SHF - or by submission to SHF website:

It is planned to publish proceedings in scientific journals,  following peer-reviewing processes.



* End of september : Power point presentation

* 6-7 October 2014 : conference in Nantes

* 30 november 2014 : full papers submission

* september  2015 : targeted period for full papers publication


Organizing and Steering Committee

-        Pierre-Louis Viollet (SHF),

-        Jean-Georges Phillips (SHF),

-        Neda Sheibani (SHF), Conference Secrertary

-        Régis Walther (Artelia)

-        Philippe Davy (Géosciences-Rennes)

-        Benoît Camenen (Irstea-Lyon)

-        Pablo Tassi (Laboratoire St-Venant)

-        François Métivier (IPGP)

-        Jean-René Malavoi (EDF),

-        Hervé Piégay (ENS of Lyon))

-        Anton Schleiss (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

-        Pierre Le Hir (Ifremer)

-        Florence Cayocca (Ifremer)

-        Stéphane Rodrigues (GéHCo, Université de Tours)

-        Michaele Tal (CEREGE) 


Practical informations