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Monitoring of morpho-sedimentary dynamics and recovery trajectories of degraded ephemeral rivers in the face of global change.

Principal Investigator: Gerardo Benito

Time Frame: 2021-2024

Budget: 121,000€

Funding Agency: Spanish State Research Agency


The implementation of the EU Water Directive generally applies conventional hydrological and hydraulic studies ignoring sediment load and morphosedimentary dynamics in the assessment of environmental management. In these sensitive rivers it is critical to know the existing natural and anthropogenic risks to anticipate how they will respond to future changes (extreme floods, increased dry periods). In the EPHIDREAMS Project we intend to advance in the characterization of the environmental condition of ephemeral rivers based on the analysis of geomorphological units, the structure of riparian vegetation and the associated sedimentary dynamics. We have identified four key points that represent a clear advance in the conservation and improvement of the hydro-morphological conditions of ephemeral rivers: (1) characterization of flood-drought patterns in river morphogenesis in the context of climate change, (2) development of new methods for temporal and spatial analysis of morphological adjustments and responses to floods or dry periods, as well as to human disturbances, (3) analysis of sediment connectivity as an indicator of river dynamics and recovery, and (4) understanding of river recovery trajectories under different Global Change scenarios. These advances will create new approaches to river analysis that will improve the environmental diagnosis and management of ephemeral rivers, as well as increase the resilience of rivers to anticipate future climatic and environmental changes.

Related Publications

Rabanaque MP, Martínez-Fernández V, Calle M, Castillo O, Benito G. 2024. Spatio-temporal analysis of geomorphic recovery along an altered ephemeral stream using automated image processing. Geomorphology 450 : 109069. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2024.109069

Rabanaque, M.P., Martínez-Fernández, V., Calle, M. & Benito, G. 2022. Basin-wide hydromorphological analysis of ephemeral streams using machine learning algorithms. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 47(1), 328344.

Rabanaque, M. P., Martínez-Fernández, V., Calle, M., Sanchis-Ibor, C., Segura-Beltrán, F., Sánchez-Moya, Y., and Benito, G. 2022. Monitoring channel response and recovery of ephemeral Mediterranean streams using diachronic orthophotography analysis with machine learning (Rambla de Cervera, Spain), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-579,

Rabanaque, M. P., Martínez-Fernández, V., Benito, G. 2021. Caracterización diacrónica de formas y cambios fluviales mediante análisis automatizado de ortofotografías y técnicas de machine learning. Cuadernos de Geografia de la Universitat de Valencia, 107, 49-67.

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