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Douglas Biow, Director MEZ 3.126, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-3470

Paul F. Hudson

Associate Professor Ph.D., Louisiana State University

Paul F. Hudson



Hudson's main scholarly interests are within fluvial geomorphology and environmental change, particularly along large coastal plain rivers. His work addresses pure and applied problems related to channel adjustment, hydrology, sediment transport, floodplain sedimentology, and human impacts on watershed processes from late-Quaternary to modern time-scales. He primarily utilizes an empirical field based approach, frequently augmented with GIS and remote sensing. Field sites are located along large coastal plain rivers within Mexico, Texas, the Lower Mississippi, and the lower Rhine (The Netherlands). Several recent and ongoing projects include flooding and sedimentation processes and connectivity of floodplain lakes along the lower Guadalupe River (Texas), environmental implications of geomorphic adjustment of the San Marcos River (Texas) to human disturbances, late Quaternary floodplain development of the Rio Panuco (eastern Mexico), response of the Lower Mississippi to flood management, historical floodplain sedimentation along the lower Rhine River (The Netherlands), and anthropogenic driven valley sedimentation in Belgium. Funding has come from a variety of sources, including National Science Foundation, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and a Fulbright Fellowship.

I teach a variety of courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, including The Natural Environment (introductory physical geography), Fluvial Geomorphology, Process Geomorphology, Environmental GIS, and Watershed Systems and Environmental Management.

Hudson received his BS in Geography (with honors) from Jacksonville University in 1991, an MS in Geography from the University of Florida in 1993, and in 1998 he received his PhD in Geography from Louisiana State University.

Selected Publications

Hudson, P.F, Heitmuller, F.T., and Leitch, M.B. 2012. Hydrologic connectivity of two oxbow lakes along the lower Guadalupe River, Texas: Geomorphic controls on the flood pulse concept. Journal of Hydrology 414-415, 174-183.

Hudson, P.F. and Inbar, M. (editors) 2012. Geodiversity and Land Degradation: Anthropogenic and Natural Drivers of Environmental Change. Land Degradation and Development 23 (4), 307-426.

Benito, G. and Hudson, P.F. 2010. Flood hazards: The context of fluvial geomorphology, Ch. 10. In, I. Alcántara-Ayala and A. Goudie (Eds.), Geomorphological Hazards and Disaster Prevention. Cambridge University Press, 111-128.

Hudson, P.F., Butzer, K.W., and Beach, T.P. 2008. Fluvial Deposits and Environmental History: Geoarchaeology, Paleohydrology, Adjustment to Environmental Change. 39th Annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (also published by Geomorphology 101, 1-2), 412 pp. Find it on ScienceDirect

Hudson, P.F., Middelkoop, H., Stouthamer, E. 2008. Flood Management Along the Lower Mississippi and Rhine Rivers (The Netherlands) and the Continuum of Geomorphic Adjustment. Geomorphology 101 (1-2), 209-236. Find it on ScienceDirect

Hudson, P.F. and Alcantara-Ayala, I. 2006. Geomorphology and Land Degradation, Catena 65 (2).

Hudson, P.F., and Kesel, R.H. 2006. Spatial and temporal adjustment of the lower Mississippi River to major human impacts, Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie, Supplementband 143, 17-33.

Hudson P.F., Colditz, R., Aguilar-Robledo, M. 2006. Spatial relations between floodplain environments and land use / land cover in a large lowland tropical river valley, Panuco basin, Mexico. Environmental Management 38, 487-503.

Hudson, P.F. 2004. The geomorphic context of prehistoric Huastec floodplain environments: Panuco basin, Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Science 31, 653-668.

Hudson, P.F. 2003 (Guest editor). Floodplains: Environment and Process. Geomorphology 56 (3/4).

Hudson, P.F. and Colditz, R. 2003. Flood delineation in a large and complex alluvial valley: The lower Pánuco basin, Mexico. Journal of Hydrology 280, 229-245.

Hudson, P.F. and Heitmuller, F.T. 2003. Local and watershed-scale controls on the spatial variability of natural levee deposits in a large fine-grained floodplain: Lower Panuco basin, Mexico. Geomorphology 56, 255-269.

Hudson, P.F. 2003. Event sequence and sediment exhaustion in the Lower Panuco basin, eastern Mexico, Catena, 52, 57-76.


Fluvial geomorphology and environmental change



I teach a variety of courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, including The Natural Environment, Fluvial Geomorphology and Environmental Change, Process Geomorphology, Environmental GIS, Issues in Geography, and Watershed Systems and Environmental Management.

Fluvial Geomorphology and Environmental Change (GRG 338-C)

Fluvial geomorphology is a comprehensive science that examines the evolution, structure, function, and dynamics of river systems. This course exposes students to theoretical and applied approaches to the discipline of fluvial geomorphology and utilizes a process and Quaternary (historical) approach. Because of the many ways in which humans alter rivers and landscapes fluvial geomorphology has numerous environmental applications. A fundamental course goal is for students to gain an appreciation for the practical value of possessing knowledge of fluvial geomorphology, particularly for understanding environmental change. Students should come away from the course with an appreciation for the breadth of fluvial geomorphology as an academic discipline and in the various ways in which it intersects with other disciplines, particularly geography, geology, ecology, planning, and engineering. Specific topics include watersheds, hillslope and stream hydrology, soil erosion and land degradation, river channel dynamics, sediment transport, flooding and flood management, floodplains, and deltas. Frequent examples are provided from rivers in Texas, Mexico, Lower Mississippi, and the Dutch Rhine to illustrate important concepts and environmental applications.

Course web site:

Watershed Systems and Environmental Management (GRG 384-C)

Spring 2010 focus: Management of Large Lowland Fluvial systems in a Changing Environment.

This graduate seminar examines the management of large lowland fluvial systems to environmental change. Large lowland fluvial systems are deceptively complex physical settings, constantly adjusting to various types of natural and human induced environmental change that occurs over local and global scales, including climate change, subsidence, sea level rise, neotectonics, and geomorphic (autogenic) adjustments. Despite the constraints imposed by the physical environment many of Earth’s large fluvial lowlands support high populations and include large cities. Effective management of these systems requires a comprehensive suite of coordinated planning and engineering activities, necessitating an understanding of geomorphic, sedimentologic, and hydrologic processes. Unfortunately many of the various management options imposed by government agencies results in long lasting unintended geomorphic and ecological consequences, which in some instances increases human vulnerability to environmental change. The Lower Mississippi is an intensively modified and studied system that provides excellent opportunities to explore a myriad of topics related to management and environmental change of large lowland fluvial systems.

Course web site:

The Natural Environment (GRG 301-C)

Physical geography is the science that examines the Earth's natural environment, with an emphasis on understanding the spatial distribution and underlying processes. This course traverses a range of environments and emphasizes the interrelationships between different physical settings and processes. Specific topics include: Earth's general circulation; rocks and minerals; plate tectonics and vulcanism; physical and chemical weathering; karst topography, including sinkhole and cave formation; mass wasting, such as landslides and mudflows; watershed hydrology; river channels and floodplains; deltas; coastal forms and processes; glaciers; aeolian landforms; soil formation and soil erosion; and biomes. Throughout the course students will be exposed to important concepts in physical geography, such as equilibrium, systems theory, thresholds, and feedbacks, which are useful for understanding environmental change.

Issues in Geography (GRG 390-K)

The goal of "Issues in Geography" (390-K) is to situate incoming geography graduate students (masters and PhD) within the academic discipline of "geography". The course reviews geography as a pluralistic discipline within the history of thought and experience about the Earth's surface as the human home, introduces the subfields of geography (ontology), and explores the challenges of defining significant actors and drivers in geographical space. The course is the first of a required two-course sequence for all incoming geography graduate students (masters and PhD), providing a basis for "Research in Geography" (390-L), which focuses on epistemology, research design, and the philosophy of science from the standpoint of defining a specific research project.

Environmental GIS (GRG 360-G)

Advances in geographical sciences and the proliferation of environmental databases make Geographers well poised to conduct sophisticated environmental analysis on an array of topics. The purpose of this course is to introduce Geographers to the practice and theory of utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a method for analysis of environmental problems. To this end, the class utilizes a lecture and lab format. Lectures will emphasize general principles and theory in GIS, and the nature of spatial data systems. Labs will be oriented towards concepts discussed in class by employing ArcGIS to the display and analysis of spatial data, particularly environmental data. At the end of the semester students should feel comfortable applying GIS to a range of environmental issues, and have a solid understanding of the procedures and data necessary to conduct the appropriate geographical analysis.

Process Geomorphology (GRG 339)

The Earth's landscapes are a mosaic of individual landforms created by distinct geomorphic processes. This course examines the processes that shape the earth's landforms. We will consider the major components of geomorphology, including fluvial, glacial, aeolian, slope, karst, coastal, and weathering processes. Students will be exposed to fundamental concepts in geomorphology, as well as analytical skills for conducting geomorphic analysis. Particular attention is given to understanding the variability of geomorphic process and form to anthropogenic and climatic controls. A major goal of the course is for students to understand the practical value of possessing a knowledge of geomorphology, especially for understanding environmental change.

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