Dr Tory Milner


Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography/ Geography Course Leader

Geography and Archaeology

Contact Details

email: v.milner@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 542 831 (Room EEG 037)

Dr Tory Milner joined the University of Worcester in 2011, and has research and teaching interests in hydroecology, fluvial geomorphology, ecogeomorphology, river restoration and flood management. Tory is the Geography Course Leader and is also a member of the University's River Science Research Group. Her research and teaching interests are in:

  • The interactions between riverbed morphology and invertebrate communities in natural settings.
  • The effect of anthropogenic activities (i.e. flow regulation, influxes of fine sediment) on physical habitat heterogeneity and benthic invertebrates.
  • The influence of streambed drying on flow intermittence gradients and aquatic biota.

Tory has provided research and and scientific policy support to governmental organisations (e.g. the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)), and environmental consultancies (e.g. Halcrow, Atkins, Entec, Dougall Baillie Associates, Rural Planning Services, and Scottish Coal). Tory is also a member of the Universitys River Science Research Group.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (University of Worcester, 2013)
  • PhD Assessing the performance of morphologically based river typing in Scotland using a geomorphological and ecological approach (University of Stirling, 2010)
  • MSc Environmental Management (University of Stirling, 2004)
  • BSc (Hons) Geography (University of Leicester, 2002)

Teaching & Research

Current Teaching


BSc Environmental Science
BSc Geography
BSc Physical Geography
MRes in River Science


GEOG 1110 Earth Systems, Processes and Landscapes (module leader)
GEOG 1112 Introduction to River Science (module leader)
GEOG 2122 River Monitoring and Assessment
GEOG 3001/02 Independent Study
GEOG 3120 River Conservation and Management (module leader)
MRSC 4001 Research Methods in River Science

Research Interests

  • The ecological dynamics of mixed-bedrock alluvial streams.
  • Pebble clusters as a refuge for benthic invertebrates.
  • The resistance and resilience of freshwater invertebrates in temporary streams.
  • The biodiversity and conservation value of intermittent rivers.
  • The impact of fine sediment on benthic invertebrate distribution pathways.

Please contact Dr Milner if you are interested in carrying out a MRes or a PhD studentship within river science and/or freshwater ecology, especially on the influence of sediment in shaping invertebrate community composition, flow intermittency or hydrological disturbances and refuges in bedrock/alluvial streams.

Current PhD Student Supervision

George Bunting: The influence of a fine sediment pulse on benthic and hyporheic invertebrate communities. Commenced September 2014. Supervisors: Dr Tory Milner (Director of studies), Dr Ian Maddock (second supervisor), and Dr Iwan Jones (Queen Mary, University of London).

Current Post-Doctoral Supervision

Dr Matt Hill: The impacts of flow intermittency on invertebrate diversity and community composition in a temporary river network. Commenced March 2016. Supervisors: Dr Tory Milner (Director of studies) and Dr Rachel Stubbington (Nottingham Trent University).

Research Projects

Influence of tributary junctions on physical habitat conditions and macroinvertebrate communities in upland cobble-gravel bed rivers

Funded by the University of Worcester and the University of California-Davis

Tributary junctions are key discontinuities in river networks that interrupt longitudinal geomorphological and ecological gradients. Transitions in hydraulic and geomorphic properties at tributary junctions can trigger abrupt changes in water quality and habitat availability, with effects for in-stream primary productivity and biodiversity. The influence of tributary junctions on mainstem physical habitat and biotic communities is complex, varying both spatiotemporally within and between drainage basins. This study identified whether tributaries influence physical habitat characteristics and macroinvertebrate communities in mainstems in low flow conditions. Three tributary junctions of upland cobble-gravel bed streams were surveyed in an unregulated and regulated river (i.e. affected by hydropower) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. The outputs of this study aimed to further understand the magnitude of ecological impacts due to flow regulation, assess the contribution of tributaries to maintain connectivity within river catchments, and determine the effect of increased physical habitat and ecological heterogeneity to regulated environments.

Linkages between reach scale physical habitat and invertebrate assemblages in upland streams

Funded by NERC and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Partners: University of Worcester, University of Stirling, Plymouth University & SEPA

Determining the influence of physical habitat on biological structure in undisturbed settings is important if the effects of alterations to physical habitat are to be understood. This study tested whether reach-scale differences in physical habitat influence macroinvertebrate community composition at 24 sites in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. Stream reaches were classified into channel types within the Montgomery and Buffington (1997) process-based geomorphic typology (i.e. step-pool, bedrock, plane-bed and pool-riffle). Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) indicated an overall significant relationship between the geomorphic typology and macroinvertebrate species level composition, and between all combinations of channel types (e.g. step-pool and pool-riffle, step-pool and bedrock etc). Geomorphic typing of rivers is a useful basis for the initial assessment of ecological status while abundance-based biological data processed at the appropriate taxonomic resolution should be sensitive to physical habitat modifications.

The Dick Chorley Medal for Postgraduate Research

Richard Chorley was an influential geomorphologist with an interest in quantitative dynamic, systems based studies in geomorphology. In recognition of Dicks commitment to serving the future of the discipline, the British Society for Geomorphology (BSG) decided to honour his memory and created the Dick Chorley Medal for Postgraduate Research. The award is presented annually to a recent postgraduate or an early career scientist for their contribution to geomorphology.

BSG Latest winner:
The 2013 award was to Dr Victoria Milner, for the paper Characterisation of hydraulic habitat and retention across different channel types: introducing a new field based technique, published in Hydrobiologia, 2012 (doi 10.1007/s10750-012-1164-3; with D.J. Gilvear). The paper introduces a new technique for classifying hydraulic habitat in stream channels and is novel in examining the validity and significance of geomorphic river typing as applied to UK streams, and is intended for audiences in both geomorphology and stream ecology. Dr Milner was presented with her award by BSG President Ken Gregory at the BSG Annual Conference at Royal Holloway University of London (9-11th September 2013).

For more information, please see:

The Dick Chorley Medal for Postgraduate Research

Worcester Lecturer Scoops Top Award for Postgraduate Research


Milner VS, Gilvear DJ and Thoms MC (2016) Characterising Riverine Landscapes; History, Application and Future Challenges. In Gilvear D, Greenwood M, Thoms MC and Wood P. (Eds) River Science: Research and Applications for the 21st Century. Wiley-Blackwell: 239-258.

Milner VS, Willby NJ, Gilvear DJ and Perfect C. (2015) Linkages between reach scale physical habitat and invertebrate assemblages in upland streams. Marine and Freshwater Research, 66: 438-448.

Milner VS, Yarnell SM and Peek R. (2014) Influence of tributary junctions on physical habitat and macroinvertebrate communities. Proceeding of the 10th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 23rd-27th June 2014.

Milner VS, Gilvear DJ and Willby NJ (2013) An assessment of variants in the professional judgement of geomorphologically based channel types. River Research and Applications. 29: 236-249.

Milner VS and Gilvear DG (2012) Characterization of hydraulic habitat and retention across different channel types; introducing a new field-based technique. Hydrobiologia, 694 (1): 219-233.

Consultancy reports

Gilvear, D.G. and Milner, V. S. (2006) A Hydrological Assessment of Morton Lochs, Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve. Centre for River Restoration Science, University of Stirling, Scotland.

Milner, V. S. and Gilvear, D.G. (2006) River Habitat Surveys (RHS) at the Glenmucklock Open Cast Coal Site. Centre for River Restoration Science, University of Stirling, Scotland.

Gilvear, D.G. and Milner, V. S. (2005) Appraisal of the Westercraigs Residential Development – Burn Diversion Works. Centre for River Restoration Science, University of Stirling, Scotland.

Gilvear, D.G. and Milner, V. S. (2005) CASS Life Project: River Tay SAC Sediment Audit. Centre for River Restoration Science, University of Stirling, Scotland.

Milner, V.S. and Gilvear, D.G. (2005) A Geomorphological Audit of the River South Esk in Glen Clova. Centre for River Restoration Science, University of Stirling, Scotland.

University Roles and External Responsibilities

University Roles

  • Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Geography, BA (Hons) Human Geography and BSc (Hons) Physical Geography
  • A member of the EU COST Action CA15113 Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams (SMIRES), and Working Group 4: Biomonitoring of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams.
  • Institute of Science and the Environment (ISE) Student Academic Representative (StAR) Co-ordinator
  • Independent Study, PhD and Postdoctoral Supervisor

Research and Consultancy links:

Research with Dr Rachel Stubbington (Nottingham Trent University): Assessing the impacts of flow intermittence on invertebrate diversity and assemblage composition in intermittent streams.

Research with Dr Sarah Yarnell and Ryan Peek (University of California, Davis, USA): The influence of unregulated tributaries to longitudinal trends of benthic macroinvertebrates in a regulated river.

Research with Dr Nigel Willby (University of Stirling), Prof. David Gilvear (Plymouth University) and Dr Charles Perfect (Scottish Environment Protection Agency): Linkages between reach-scale physical habitat and invertebrate assemblages in upland streams.

Consultant for Rural Planning Services (RPS): River Habitat Surveys at the Glenmuckloch Open Cast Coal Site. Consultant for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH): Geomorphological audit of the River Esk in Glen Clova.

Consultant for the Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum For Environmental Research (SNIFFFER): Trialling of the Morphological Impact Assessment System (MimAS) and proposed Environmental Standards.

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • British Hydrological Society
  • British Society for Geomorphology
  • International Association of Geomorphologists