Physical Geography


Applied geomorphology stands out as one of the key focus areas of contemporary geomorphology, as its role is highlighted by the evolution of human society and by its pragmatic demands in terms of an ever more efficient use of landforms. Research efforts in applied geomorphology aim to develop applicative methodologies and approaches that will support researchers and professionals in substantiating the best solutions related to landforms and to their relationship with human society. This covers topics that relate to riverbed and slope dynamics, landforms as support for human activities (including tourism), the relationship between landforms and the wide range of anthropogenic structures (transportation infrastructure, ski slopes etc.), the study of geomorphological heritage, the role of landforms in designing, planning and developing mountain areas.

Ph.D. Leaders: Prof.univ.dr. habil. Laura Comănescu, Prof.univ.dr. habil. Alexandru Nedelea, prof.univ. Florina Grecu


Natural disasters are expected to increase in frequency as a result of climate change. Therefore, after 1990 a major approach in dynamic geomorphology worldwide is focused on evolving slope behaviours, governed by river response mechanisms to climate change and tectonic conditioning, in relation to man-made pressure. Especially in recent years, a new sub-direction of research applied in geomorphology is based on the theory of chaos. This research field benefits from the technological support of high precision, repeated, and large-scale ground displacement measurements like InSAR techniques. The increasingly interdisciplinary character in geomorphological research is reflected in the analytical chain Hazard – Vulnerability – Risk, which involves addressing the relationship of perceived threat and the adaptive risk-related behavior, based on the analyses of socio-economic, psychological and environmental vulnerabilities.

Ph.D. Leader: Prof.univ.dr. Iuliana Armaș


The research axis Water Resources and Hydrological Risks focuses on the development of fundamental and applied research on water bodies and related risks, in order to provide products of a scientific and methodological nature, useful for the proper management of water resources and associated risks.

The researches under this axis addresses the following main topics:

  • hydrogeographic approaches on water resources and their spatio-temporal variability at the catchment scale, with the analysis of the factors controlling the hydrological processes and phenomena;

  • human pressures on water bodies and their impacts on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of water resources, with identification of solutions and recommendations aiming at the preservation and protection of the aquatic units;

  • water related risks and their management, allowing a better knowledge of hydrological hazards and vulnerability of society to these hazards, in order to provide information of interest for the development / improvement of the natural risk management plans and territorial development strategies at local and regional spatial scale;

  • water-society relationship in the context of environmental change;

  • batimetry of aquatic units, with the analysis of their relationship with natural and anthropogenic control factors.

Ph.D. Leaders: Prof. dr. Liliana ZAHARIA, Assoc. prof. habil. Daniel DIACONU


These vast and fascinating areas of science provide a wide variety of exploratory themes and applied directions of research regarding both the most dynamic component of the environment – atmosphere, and its most obvious long-term spatial expression – Earth climates, at different scales (global, regional, local). Therefore, the weather and climatic events and / or processes can be approached from different perspectives, depending on the top-priority requirements of action and intervention included in various dedicated national and international strategies, on the concrete demands of applied analyses imposed by certain urgent scientific, operational, technical contexts and situations, as well as on the doctorate attendants’ specific likes and aptitudes of research. Overall, the themes of doctoral research focus on the analysis of generic causes and mechanisms of various risk weather and climatic phenomena on the basis of meteorological data obtained from both instrumental measurements and climatologic archives, on the assessment of diverse synoptic, dynamic, physical-geographical contexts in which they may occur with varying degrees of probability, especially including representative case studies supported by various modern monitoring means (synoptic maps, aerologic diagrams, radar charts, satellite images etc.), on the quantitative analysis of the frequency and intensity of the respective phenomena by means of a wide array of statistical indices and measures, on the spatial extent of the studied phenomena expressed by GIS techniques and, nonetheless, on the impact that weather and climate risk phenomena can have on the other components of the natural environment, on human health and on different types of human activities. The rich offer of case studies at any scale of representation, the wide choice of complementary means and methods of scientific research and the relatively easy access to large amounts of digital data allow ambitious Ph.D. followers to complete valuable and consistent research paper-works, which may ultimately become important landmarks of affirmation in the field.

Ph.D. Leader: Prof. IONAC NICOLETA, Ph.D.


 Within this research field, a series of complex topics are approached in an interdisciplinary manner. These include:

  • analysis of the characteristics of renewable sources and of their energy potential (Studies and research on the characteristics of the potential of wind / wave / solar energy conversion, etc.);
  • analysis and research on environmental components using an interdisciplinary approach: Quantitative and qualitative models regarding various environmental parameters; Numerical and experimental modelling of dynamic geographic system components (characteristics of the dynamic and thermal atmospheric boundary layers, mean speed profiles and turbulent intensity profiles in the atmospheric boundary layer, etc.);
  • analysis and research on ocean-atmosphere interactions (wind field in the atmospheric boundary layer, sea-atmosphere heat exchange, climate response to sea-atmosphere interaction processes, etc.)

Ph.D. Leader: Prof. univ.dr. habil. Georgeta Bandoc


  • COASTAL GEOMORPHOLOGY, respectively i) Long-term coastal behaviour through the reconstruction of shores and deltaic systems evolution on large time and space scales; ii) Coastal morphodynamics: The evolution of beaches, sand dunes, submerged bars or barrier-islands; iii) Fluvial-marine interactions and The coupled morphodynamics and hydrodynamics of the river mouths. The last two themes assume the monitoring of landforms dynamics in parallel with estimating of the sedimentary dynamics and budgets in relation with environmental factors such as wind, waves, shore currents or the extreme events such as coastal storms and the floods recorded on the Danube river.

  • GEOARCHAEOLOGY AND PALAEO-ENVIRONMENTS, respectively i) Geoarchaeology studies that reconstruct the evolution of landscapes in the area of archaeologicals sites, including the impact of the environmental changes (from the coastal and fluvial areas) on the development of human comunities in different historic periods; ii) The Holocene evolution of the Danube Floodplain, with accent on the transformation of this space after the reconnection of the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea; iii) The history of glaciation and deglaciation of Făgăraș and Bucegi massifs, based on the mapping and absolute dating of the glacial landforms, and also using numerical and statistical modeling; iv) The human impact and the role of history on the evolution of Danube Delta.

  • PERIGLACIAL PROCESSES, focusing on: i) assessment of the magnitude and frequency of periglacial processes such as rockwalls weathering, creep, permafrost, debris-flows; ii) formation of rock glaciers, debris slopes and cones.

Ph.D. Leader: Prof. univ. dr. habil. Alfred Vespremeanu-Stroe


The field of Geomatics opens large possibilities for the innovative geospatial information collection and integration for the analysis of the terrain reality, to the interface between natural and social features at local, regional and continental scales. A current research direction in this field is oriented towards the identification of advanced and robust models of the biggest part of the environmental characteristics, starting from Earth Observation data and focusing on the Big Data from space collected by passive and active remote sensing sensors, like those from the ESA Copernicus programme, collected from 2014. This spatial data can be converted into valuable geographical information within models, to be validated with the help of independent data from field measurements and observations and to be integrated as a basic level for application and products of a real social and economic values. The main research directions we propose are:

  • Development of models and algorithms for remote sensing data calibration, processing and analysis from optical and radar sensors with a special focus on natural and social phenomena (Data mining).

  • Analysis of the geographical environments using the satellite imagery time series with a focus on the Romanian territory (ex. deforestation, quarrying and mining, urban dynamics, natural hazards and risk).

  • Digital photogrammetric approaches integrating historical aerial photos for landscape change analysis after the evaluation of geometric data accuracy and precision.

  • Landscape change analysis integrating historical cartography and historical archive data.

  • GIS model development for practical purposes in the solution of social and economic issues like transport infrastructure development and management, urban planning, rural and urban system management.

Ph.D. Leader: Prof.dr. Bogdan-Andrei Mihai