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Kirstie's work focuses on fluvial geomorphology and river management. She researches the structure and function of rivers, how they adjust and evolve, how they have been impacted by anthropogenic disturbance and how to best use geomorphology in river conservation, recovery and rehabilitation. She also researches how catchment sediment budgets and (dis)connectivity operate and how rivers and catchments may respond to future disturbances, particularly floods and droughts.

She is probably best known as the co-developer of the River Styles Framework and portfolio of professional development short courses (see The River Styles Framework is a geomorphic approach for the analysis of rivers that includes assessment of river type and behaviour, physical condition and recovery potential. These analyses are used to develop prioritisation and decision support systems in river management practice. Uptake of the River Styles Framework has now occurred in many places on six continents.

Kirstie has strong domestic and international collaborations in both academia and industry. She has worked for many years on various river science and management projects as part of multi-disciplinary, collaborative teams that include ecologists, hydrologists, social scientists, practitioners and citizens. 

Kirstie has also been lucky enough to work in Antarctica for two summer seasons, undertaking research on heavy metal contamination at Casey and Wilkes stations.

Kirstie has co-written and co-edited three books titled "Geomorphology and River Management" (Blackwell, 2005), "River Futures" (Island Press, 2008) and "Geomorphic Analysis of River Systems: An Approach to Reading the Landscape" (Wiley, 2013). She holds several research, teaching and postgraduate supervision awards including the international Gordon Warwick medal for excellence in research.

Kirstie is also a Certified Environmental Practitoner in geomorphology, CEnvP(geomorphology),

Education/Academic qualification

Fluvial geomorphology, CEnvP(geomorphology), Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)

Award Date: 8 Sept 2021

Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management, Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University

Award Date: 24 Sept 2002

Fluvial Geomorphology, Bachelor of Science (Honours), Macquarie University

Award Date: 21 Apr 1996

Physical Geography and Resource and Environmental Management, Bachelor of Science, Macquarie University

Award Date: 17 Apr 1995


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • River Styles Framework

    Kirstie Fryirs (Participant) & Gary Brierley (End user)

    Impact: Environment impacts, Policy impacts, Science impacts, Training impacts, Culture impacts, Society impacts, Organisation impacts, Symbolic impacts, Economy impacts