John Pitlick photo portrait
Professor of Geography • Associate Chair, Graduate Studies • Geomorphology; Water Resources; Natural Hazards • Faculty of Hydrologic Sciences • Ph.D. Colorado State University, 1988
Physical Geography
303-492-5906, GUGG 315

Research Interests

My research focuses on linkages between surface-water hydrology and geomorphology in high-gradient river systems. The primary objective of this work is to develop a more complete understanding of the coupling between rivers and their surrounding landscapes. Field work is an important component of my research; the strategy used in many projects is to integrate field data with modeling techniques to quantify the effects of sediment transport on the natural functioning of river systems, often at spatial scales >100 km. Several past projects, done in collaboration with aquatic ecologists, have focused on the role of fluvial-hydraulic processes in modifying habitats for fish and benthic organisms. I have worked extensively in Colorado, also in the Pacific Northwest, the northern Rocky Mountains and the French Alps. I am also the co-director of the Graduate Program in Hydrologic Sciences at CU-Boulder.

Recent Courses Include

  • Fall 2016  GEOG 1011 (4) Env Systems 2 - Landscapes and Water
  • Spring 2016  GEOG 5241-001 (3) Topics: Fluvial Geomorphology

Selected Publications

Anderson, S., and J. Pitlick. (2014). Using repeat lidar to estimate sediment transport in a steep stream . Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, v. 119, p. 621-643. doi:10.1002/2013JF002933

Mueller, E.R. and J. Pitlick. (2014). Sediment supply and channel morphology in mountain river systems: 2. Single thread to braided transitions. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, v. 119, p. 1516–1541.doi:10.1002/2013JF003045

Mueller, E.R., and J. Pitlick. (2013). Sediment supply and channel morphology in mountain river systems: 1. Relative importance of lithology, topography, and climate . Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, v. 118, p. 2325–2342. doi:10.1002/2013JF002843

Pitlick, J., J. Marr, and J. Pizzuto. (2013). Width adjustment in experimental gravel-bed channels in response to overbank flows. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, v. 118, p. 553-570. doi:10.1002/jgrf.20059

Segura C., J. H. McCutchan, W. M. Lewis, and J. Pitlick. (2011). The influence of channel bed disturbance on algae biomass in a Colorado mountain stream. Ecohydrology, v. 4, p. 411-421. doi:10.1002/eco.142

Publications updated August 2014