Prof. Dr. Richard Dikau

Retired professor 

Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group

Main research areas 

  • Geomorphometry
  • Geomorphological mapping
  • Sediment budget modeling
  • Slope stability analysis
  • Natural hazards and risk analysis
  • Modeling of permafrost distribution
  • Rock glacier kinematics
  • Stability of permafrost rocks
  • Soil erosion modeling
  • Biogeomorphology
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Prof. Dr. Richard Dikau

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Research and publications 

Research and publications 

The project 'Biogeomorphic dynamics on lateral moraines in the Turtmann glacier forefield, Switzerland' investigates feedbacks between vegetation succession and geomorphic dynamics on Little Ice Age lateral moraines in the Turtmann glacier forefield (Switzerland).

Project information:

BIMODAL is a research project in the field of biogeomorphology, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Our project aims at understanding coupled geomorphic and ecologic dynamics on lateral moraines in space and time. These biogeomorphic feedbacks are an important control for sediment dynamics in glacier forefields and other alpine environments. Therefore, they represent a major interdisciplinary research challenge.

Our conceptual ‘biogeomorphic umbrella’ combines ecologic and geomorphic research and integrates several spatiotemporal scales (plot scale to lateral moraine subsystem scale, months to successional/ paraglacial timescale).

Aims:

  • Ecosystem engineer species: To identify ecosystem engineers with their relevant traits and to quantify their impact on geomorphic sediment transport processes on lateral moraines.
  • Conditions for feedbacks (‘biogeomorphic window’): To determine the geomorphic and vegetation properties relevant for biogeomorphic interactions on lateral moraines, as well as boundary conditions and thresholds.
  • Patterns and dynamics: To understand the decadal, scale-dependent development of biogeomorphic lateral moraine systems.

Study Site:
The Turtmann glacier forefield is located at the southern end of the Turtmann valley in the Swiss Alps. The Turtmann glacier has been retreating since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850, interrupted by advances in the 1980s/ 90s and accelerating since the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Its glacier forefield represents a perfect research area for the investigation of coupled vegetation and geomorphic dynamics due to proceeding vegetation succession and highly active geomorphic processes. These especially act on the 1850 lateral moraines, which are the main research focus.

Methods:

  • Permanent plot surveys (50 plots) on lateral moraine slopes 
  • Geomorphic and vegetation mapping (lateral moraine slopes, turf-banked solifluction lobes)
  • Investigation of plant traits (Dryas octopetala L.)
  • UAV missions (in cooperation with the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, University of Bonn)
  • Geoelectrics (Electrical Resistivity Tomography; in cooperation with D. Draebing, Bonn)
  • Soil sampling and analysis (in cooperation with N. Meyer, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, University of Bonn) 

Publications:
Peer-reviewed:

  • Eichel, J. (accepted): Chapter 7.2: Vegetation succession and biogeomorphic interactions in glacier forelands. In: Heckmann, T. & D. Morche (eds): Geomorphology of proglacial systems - Landform and sediment dynamics in recently deglaciated alpine landscapes.
  • Eichel, J., Draebing, D., Klingbeil, L., Wieland, M., Eling, C., Schmidtlein, S., Kuhlmann, H. & R. Dikau (2017): Solifluction meets vegetation: the role of biogeomorphic feedbacks for turf-banked solifluction lobe development. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. DOI: 10.1002/esp.4102
  • Draebing, D. & J. Eichel (2017): Spatial controls on turf-banked solifluction lobes and their role for paraglacial adjustment in glacier forelands. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 28, 2, p. 446 - 459. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1930
  • Eichel, J., Corenblit, D. u. R. Dikau (2016): Conditions for feedbacks between geomorphic and vegetation dynamics on lateral moraine slopes: a biogeomorphic feedback window. In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 41, p. 406 - 419. DOI: 10.1002/esp.3859
  • Eichel, J., Krautblatter, M., Schmidtlein, S. & R.Dikau (2013): Biogeomorphic interactions in the Turtmann glacier forefield, Switzerland. In: Geomorphology 201, p. 98 - 110. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.06.012

International conference abstracts:

  • Eichel, J., Draebing, D., Wieland, M., Eling, C., Klingbeil, L., Schmidtlein, S., Kuhlmann, H. & R. Dikau (2016): Bridging periglacial geomorpholohy and ecology: a conceptual model of turf-banked solifluction lobe development; talk at the International Conference on Permafrost 2016, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Eichel, J., Meyer, N., Draebing, D., Schmidtlein, S. & R. Dikau (2016): Controls on small-scale biogeomorphic interactions on lateral moraine slopes and their linkage to large-scale geomorphic and vegetation patterns. In: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 18, EGU2016-1860.
  • Draebing, D. & J. Eichel (2016): Controlling factors of turf-banked solifluction lobe evolution in the Turtmann glacier forefield, Switzerland.  In: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 18, EGU2016-479.
  • Eichel, J., Corenblit, D., Schmidtlein, S. & R. Dikau (2015): Linking plant traits to a geomorphic disturbance gradient: the biogeomorphic window concept for lateral moraines; talk at the 58th Annual Symposion of the International Association for Vegetation Science: Understanding broad-scale vegetation patterns; July 2015, Brno, Czech Republic.
  • Eichel, J., Draebing, D., Wieland, M., Eling, C., Klingbeil, L. & R. Dikau (2015): Feedbacks between vegetation and solifluction processes on hillslopes: case study of an alpine turf-banked solifluction lobe In: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 17, EGU2015-1738. 
  • Eichel, J., Corenblit, D. & R. Dikau (2015): The role of feedbacks between geomorphic and vegetation dynamics for lateral moraine slope configuration and development In: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 17, EGU2015-1970. 
  • Eibisch, K., Eichel, J. u. R. Dikau (2015): Root tensile strength assessment of Dryas octopetala L. and implications for its engineering mechanism on lateral moraine slopes (Turtmann Valley, Switzerland) In: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 17, EGU2015.
  • Eichel, J., Schmidtlein, S. & R. Dikau (2014): Interactions between solifluction processes and vegetation on lateral moraines in the Turtmann glacier forefield (Switzerland). 4th European Conference on Permafrost, June 2014, Evóra, Portugal. (Winner of the PYRN-IPA Poster Award)
  • Eichel, J., Schmidtlein, S. & R. Dikau (2014): Biogeomorphic interactions and patterns on Little Ice Age lateral moraines. In: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 16, EGU2014-826, 2014. (Winner of the EGU Geomorphology Division Outstanding student poster (OSP) award)
  • Eichel, J., Schmidtlein, S. & R. Dikau (2013): Paraglacial adjustment and vegetation succession in the forefield of an actively retreating glacier - a biogeomorphological perspective. 8th IAG International Conference on Geomorphology, August 2013, Paris.
  • Eichel, J., Schmidtlein, S. & R. Dikau (2013): Investigating biogeomorphic dynamics in the forefield of an actively retreating alpine glacier In: Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 15, EGU2013-6036, 2013; EGU General Assembly 2013. 

Cooperations:

  • Dr. Dov Corenblit (Équipe ‘Dynamiques géoenvironnementales actuelles’, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France)
  • Dr. Daniel Draebing (Bonn)
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heiner Kuhlmann, M.Sc. Christian Eling, Dr. Lasse Klingbeil and Dipl.-Ing. Markus Wieland (Institute for Geodesy and Geoinformation, University of Bonn, Germany)
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Krautblatter (Monitoring, Analysis and Early Warning of Landslides, Technical University Munich, Germany)
  • M.Sc. Nele Meyer (Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, University of Bonn, Germany) 
  • Priv.-Doz. Dr. Bodo Maria Möseler (Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation University of Bonn, Germany)
Project title Applicant  Researcher Duration  Funding
BIMODAL - Biogeomorphic dynamics on lateral moraines in the Turtmann glacier forefield, Switzerland Prof. Dr. R. Dikau
Prof. Dr. S. Schmidtlein
J. Eichel 11/2014 - 05/2017 DFG
Realisation  of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems GEOSS Dr. Michael Nyenhuis
Prof. Dr. Richard Dikau
Manuela Schlummer
Adrian Strauch
12/2012-
06/2015
Ministry of Transport (BMVBS)
GEOWOW
GEOSS Interoperability for Weather, Ocean and Water
Dr. Michael Nyenhuis
Prof. Dr. Richard Dikau
Manuela Schlummer
Adrian Strauch
09/2011-
08/2014
EU FP7
ISPR
Influences of snow cover on thermal and mechanic processes in steep permafrost rock walls
Part 1: internal response
Part 2: external forcing
Prof. Dr. M. Krautblatter,
Prof. Dr. R. Dikau,
Dr. M. Phillips,
Prof. Dr. M. Hoelzle,
Dr. S. Gruber
Prof. Dr. M. Krautblatter,
D. Draebing,
Dr. M. Phillips,
Prof. Dr. M. Hoelzle,
Dr. S. Gruber
 A. Haberkorn
09/2011-
08/2014
DFG, SNF
Implementation of the Global Earth Observation System of Sytems GEOSS in Germany Dr. M. Nyenhuis  Dr. M. Nyenhuis
S. Göbel
 11/2010-
06/2012
BfG
Human Impact on Colluvial Sediment Storages
in Europe since the Neolithic
(project D3 of the Collaborative Resreach Centre 806 "Our Way to Europe: Culture-Environment Interaction and Human Mobility in the Late Quaternary", German Reasearch Foundation, DFG)
Dr. T. Hoffmann
Prof. Dr. R. Dikau
Dr. T. Hoffmann
M. Schlummer
- DFG

COLARIS (en/de)

COupling and connectivity of LAndslides and RIver Systems

Dr. T. Hoffmann N. Meyer
J. Blöthe
07/2008-
05/2009
DFG
EUGENE
Improving coordination, visibility and impact of European GEOSS contributions by establishing a European Geoss Network
Dr. M. Nyenhuis Dr. M. Nyenhuis
Gero Steup
10/2009-
09/2011
EU FP7
GEOSS studies
Studies on the development of the German national GEOSS Implementation Plan (D-GIP)
Dr. M. Nyenhuis Dr. M. Nyenhuis 2008-
2010

BfG

HSDyn
Holocene Sediment Dynamics in the Study Area
Frankenforst near Bonn (Germany)
Prof. Dr. R. Dikau F. Lippert since 2002

DFG

RheinLUCIFS
Land use and climate impacts on the Rhine river system during the period of agriculture
Prof. Dr. R. Dikau Dr. T. Hoffmann since 2002

DFG

SEDAG
Sediment Cascades of Alpine Geo-Systems
Prof. Dr. R. Dikau Prof. Dr. L. Schrott 04/2000-
03/2006

DFG

SPCC 4 (SORP)
Sensitivity of rock permafrost to regional climate change scenarios and implications for rock wall instability
(Part of the Bündelantrag SPCC: Sensitivity of Mountain Permafrost to Climate Change)
Prof. Dr. R. Dikau M. Krautblatter
S. Verleysdonk
P. Oberender
09/2008-
08/2011

DFG

SPCC 5 (ROCKISM)
Monitoring and process analysis of permafrost creep and failure in changing temperature regimes
(Part of the Bündelantrag SPCC: Sensitivity of Mountain Permafrost to Climate Change)
Dr. I. Gärtner-Roer Dr. I. Gärtner-Roer 09/2008-
08/2011

DFG

Books:

  • Dikau, R., Eibisch, K., Eichel, J., Meßenzehl, K. & M. Schlummer-Held (2019): Geomorphologie. Springer, Heidelberg.

  • Dikau, R. & J. Weichselgartner (2005): 
    Der unruhige Planet. Der Mensch und die Naturgewalten. Darmstadt. 

  • Gündra, H., Jäger, S., Schroeder, M. & R. Dikau (1995): Bodenerosionsatlas Baden-Württemberg. Ministerium Ländlicher Raum, Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten Baden-Württemberg (Hrsg.), Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart.

  • Dikau, R. (1992b): Computergestützte Geomorphographie. Habilitationsschrift an der Fakultät für Geowissenschaften, Universität Heidelberg, Text- und Kartenband, Heidelberg.

  • Dikau, R. (1988c): Entwurf einer geomorphographisch-analytischen Systematik von Reliefeinheiten. Heidelberger Geographische Bausteine,Vol. 5, Heidelberg.

  • Dikau, R. (1986): Experimentelle Untersuchungen zu Oberflächenabfluß und Bodenabtrag von Meßparzellen und landwirtschaftlichen Nutzflächen. Heidelberger Geographische Arbeiten, H. 81, Heidelberg.

Edited Books and Journals:

  • Otto, J.-C. & R. Dikau (2009, ed.): Landform - Structure, Evolution, Process Control. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Landform organised by the Research Training Group 437. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences 115, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.  
  • Egner, H., Ratter, B.M.W. & R. Dikau (2008): Umwelt als System - System als Umwelt? Oekom, München.  
  • Herget, J., Dikau, R., Gregory, K.J. & J. Vandenberghe (2007, eds.): The Fluvial System Past and Present Dynamics and Controls. Geomorphology, 92 (3-4) (special issue), Amsterdam.
  • Herget, J. & R. Dikau (2005, eds.): Natural and Human Impacts in the River Rhine Catchment. In: Erdkunde, 59(3/4) (special issue), Bonn. 
  • Dikau, R. (2003, ed.): Contributions to the Geography of Hazards. Die Erde, 134(2), Berlin. 
    Lang, A., Hennrich, K. & R. Dikau (2003, eds.): Long Term Hillslope and Fluvial System Modelling. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences, 101, Heidelberg. 
  • Dikau, R. & K.-H. Schmidt (2001, eds.): Mass movements in South, West and Central Germany. Z. Geomorph., N.F., Suppl.-Bd. 125, Stuttgart. 
  • Dikau, R. & H. Saurer (1999, eds.): GIS for Earth Surface Systems. Gebr. Bornträger, Stuttgart.
  • Dikau, R., Heinritz, G. & R. Wießner (1998, eds.): Global Change - Konsequenzen für die Umwelt, Stuttgart. 
  • Dikau, R., D. Brunsden, L. Schrott & M. Ibsen (1996, eds.): Landslide recognition. Identification, Movement and Causes, Chichester. 
  • Pike, R. & R. Dikau (1995, eds.): Advances in Geomorphometry. Z. Geomorph., N.F., Suppl.-Bd. 101, Stuttgart.  
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