Dr Simon J Dixon BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr Simon J Dixon

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Geography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Simon is an interdisciplinary lecturer in geography with broad research interests around human interactions with water and landscapes.  Much of his work focuses on “Anthropocene geomorphology” - unique landforms resulting from interactions between human activities and natural processes. Examples include how waste plastic is being incorporated into sediments and fluvial transport processes, and the effects of geomorphological processes in cities producing hybrid human/natural landforms.


  • PhD, University of Southampton, 2014
  • MSc (Distinction) River Environmental Management, 2009
  • BSc (Hons.) Chemistry, University of Birmingham, 1997 


Simon was awarded his PhD in fluvial geomorphology from University of Southampton in April 2014, following a career change from financial services. His thesis focused on links between land use and flooding; specifically, whether landscape restoration could be used as a method of natural flood management. After completing his PhD, he joined University of Birmingham as a postdoctoral research fellow on the Megascours project; using modelling and remote sensing to study the confluences of some of the largest rivers in the world. His work on this project demonstrated for the first time large river confluences can be highly mobile in the landscape with profound implications for interpreting river deposits in the rock record, and for the management of infrastructure near large rivers.

In 2015 he started work in a second postdoctoral research fellow position looking at the hydrology and geomorphology of Canada peatlands and their landscape restoration. This project uses groundwater modelling to understand more about the interfaces between peatlands and surrounding forests and factors which influence the hydrological exchanges across these interfaces. His work in this area was recently supported by an EU INTERACT grant to research a peatland/lake interface in Sweden.

In 2018 he was appointed as an interdisciplinary lecturer in geography to work across the existing research groups in the school and to deliver interdisciplinary teaching. He is a member of the GEES Urban Initiative, and the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), and has published a number of papers on forest hydrology and wood in rivers.


  • Second Year – Geomatics and GIS (module leader)
  • Turkey Field Course
  • Third Year - River Processes & Deposits


Research interests

Simon’s principle research interest is at the interdisciplinary boundary between fluvial geomorphology, hydrology & social science. This approach examines the social and political drivers of anthropogenic activities which create, destroy or remake landscapes, and the natural forces which in turn further reshape these landscapes; a hybrid Anthropocene geomorphology. More specifically his research focuses on

  • The design, implications and success of landscape restoration.
  • River management
  • Natural Flood Management
  • Geomorphological processes in cities (e.g. sinkholes, building collapse)
  • The geomorphology and sedimentology of microplastics

Other activities

  • Member of British Society for Geomorphology
  • Member of European Geophysical Union
  • Member of the British Hydrological Society


Dixon, SJ., Kettridge, N., Moore, PA., Devito, KJ., Tilak, AS., Petrone, RM., Mendoza, CA., Waddington, JM. (2017) Peat depth as a control on moss water availability under evaporative stress Hydrological Processes DOI: 10.1002/hyp.11307

Dixon, SJ., Viles, H., Garrett, B. (2017) Ozymandias in the Anthropocene: The city as an emerging landform. Area DOI: 10.1111/area.12358

Tooth, S., Viles, H., Dickinson, A., Dixon, SJ., Falcini, A., Griffiths, H., Hawkins, H., Lloyd Jones, J., Ruddock, J., Thorndycraft, V., Whalley, B. (2016) Visualising geomorphology: Improving communication of data and concepts through engagement with the arts. Earth Surfaces Processes and Landforms, ESEX Commentary DOI: 10.1002/esp.3990

Dixon, SJ., Sear, DA,. Odoni, NA,. Sykes, T,. Lane, SN. (2016) The effects of river restoration on flood hydrology. Earth Surfaces Processes and Landforms, Special Issue: Stormy Geomorphology: 'Evidence of geomorphic solutions to buffer the effects of extremes' DOI: 10.1002/esp.3919

Dixon, SJ. (2016) A dimensionless statistical analysis of logjam form and process. Ecohydrology, DOI: 10.1002/eco.1710

Dixon, SJ. (2014) Investigating the effects of large wood and forest management on flood risk and flood hydrology. Available from: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/365560/

Dixon, SJ., Sear, DA., (2014) The influence of geomorphology on large wood dynamics in a low gradient headwater stream, Water Resources Research, DOI: 10.1002/2014WR015947 

View all publications in research portal