Luca -no second name- Mao -no second last name-

Associate Professor

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Santiago, Chile

Líneas de Investigación

River Science Sediment transport in gravel-bed rivers Vegetation-sediment-flow interactions in gravel-bed rivers Geomorphic effectiveness of floods Hydromorphology and river restoration Hydromorphological impacts of human activities in rivers


  •  Forest and Environmental Sciences, UNIVERSIDAD DE PADUA. Italia, 2000
  •  Environmental Watershed Management, Polytechnic University of Madrid. Chile, 2005

Experiencia Académica

  •   Research Associate Full Time

    University of Padua (Italy)


    2004 - 2008

  •   Research Fellow Full Time

    University of Hull (UK)

    Reino Unido

    2008 - 2010

  •   Research Associate Full Time

    University of Padua


    2010 - 2010

  •   Research Fellow Full Time

    Free University of Bozen/Bolzano (Italy)

    Faculty of Science and Technology


    2010 - 2011

  •   Assistant Professor Full Time


    Faculty for Agronomy and Forest Engineering

    Santiago, Chile

    2011 - 2015

  •   Associate Professor Full Time


    Faculty for Agronomy and Forest Engineering

    Santiago, Chile

    2015 - A la fecha

  •   Associate Professor Full Time


    Faculty for Agronomy and Forest Engineering

    Santiago, Chile

    2015 - A la fecha

Formación de Capital Humano

Professor Luca Mao arrived in Chile in November 2011. Since than, he has been directing the following students:
PhD. Fernando Ugalde. Large wood dynamics and eco-morphological efffects in Andean catchments with native and plantation forest cover. To be submitted in 2015.
MsC. Carolina Huingache. Histéresis en el arrastre de fondo de un río de montaña alimentado por un glaciar. Completed in 2013.
MsC. Ricardo Carrillo. Bedload dynamics in a glacier-fed Andean catchment. To be complelted in 2015.

In Chile, Luca Mao has been given the followign course at the undergradate and postgraduate levels:
Since 2012: “Manejo Integrado de Cuencas” at the Diploma en Planificación Ambiental de Proyectos-DIPLAM, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Since 2012: “Manejo Integrado de Cuencas” in Undegraduate in Agronomy and Forestry Engineering, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.
Since 2013: “Ecología y geomorfología Fluvial” in Postgraduate MsC in Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

Difusión y Transferencia

Professor Luca Mao arrived in Chile in November 2011. Since than, he has been working on the following proyects:
2013 – 2015: Principal Investigator, CONICYT Fondecyt Regular: Sediment dynamics and management in small Andean catchments.
2012 – 2014: Principal Investigator, CONICYT Apoyo a proyectos Chile-EEUU, Effect of native forest replacement by pine plantations on biodiversity and ecosystem processes of Andean riparian and riverine habitats in the south of Chile.
2012 - 2013: Principal Investigator, CONYCIT Red Internacional entre centros de investigación, Isotopos e radionúclidos para estudios hidrogeológicos de cuencas de regiones áridas y semiáridas (con School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences- Plymouth University).
2012 – 2013: Co-Investigator, Fondo del Bosque Nativo CONAF, Cuantificación y valoración de los servicios ecosistémicos ofrecidos por el Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón.
2012 – 2015: Co-Investigator, IDRC (Canada research fund), Vulnerabilidad y adaptación a la variabilidad y al cambio climático en la Cuenca del Rio Maipo en Chile Central.

Premios y Distinciones

  •   Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships (219294)


    Reino Unido, 2008

    Flume study of flood history effects on sediment entrainment and transport in gravel-bed rivers

  •   National Scientific Habilitation

    Ministero dell'Istruzione dell'Università e della Ricerca

    Italia, 2012

    National scientific habilitation for position of Associate Professor in Italian Universities by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research, Italy in the scientific-disciplinary sector AGR/08 Agricultural hydraulics and watershed protection.


Article (59)

Bed material transport estimate in large gravel-bed rivers using the virtual velocity approach
Characterising physical habitats and fluvial hydromorphology: A new system for the survey and classification of river geomorphic units
Medium and short term riparian vegetation, island and channel evolution in response to human pressure in a regulated gravel bed river (Piave River, Italy)
Sediment motion and velocity in a glacier-fed stream
Temporal dynamics of suspended sediment transport in a glacierized Andean basin
The Effects of Replacing Native Forest on the Quantity and Impacts of In-Channel Pieces of Large Wood in Chilean Streams
Three decades of monitoring in the Rio Cordon instrumented basin: Sediment budget and temporal trend of sediment yield
An integrated analysis of the March 2015 Atacama floods
Flume and field-based calibration of surrogate sensors for monitoring bedload transport
Linking riparian woody communities and fluviomorphological characteristics in a regulated gravel-bed river (Piave River, Northern Italy)
Relationships between woody vegetation and geomorphological patterns in three gravel-bed rivers with different intensities of anthropogenic disturbance
Spatial analysis of the impacts of the Chaitén volcano eruption (Chile) in three fluvial systems
Bedload transport in a formerly glaciated mountain catchment constrained by particle tracking
Geomorphic effects of wood quantity and characteristics in three Italian gravel-bed rivers
Large wood mobility processes in low-order Chilean river channels
Massive biomass flushing despite modest channel response in the Rayas River following the 2008 eruption of Chaiten volcano, Chile
Physical modelling of the combined effect of vegetation and wood on river morphology
The response of a gravel-bed river planform configuration to flow variations and bed reworking: a modelling study
Tracer-based analysis of spatial and temporal variations of water sources in a glacierized catchment
Use of Remote Imagery to Analyse Changes in Morphology and Longitudinal Large Wood Distribution in the Blanco River After the 2008 Chaiten Volcanic Eruption, Southern Chile
A flume experiment on wood storage and remobilization in braided river systems
Bedload hysteresis in a glacier-fed mountain river
Calibration of an acoustic pipe sensor through bedload traps in a glacierized basin
Medium-term fluvial island evolution in a disturbed gravel-bed river (Piave River, Northeastern Italian Alps)
Regime theories in gravel-bed rivers: models, controlling variables, and applications in disturbed Italian rivers
Scaling relationships between bed load volumes, transport distances, and stream power in steep mountain channels
Short-term geomorphic analysis in a disturbed fluvial environment by fusion of LiDAR, colour bathymetry and dGPS surveys
Tracking log displacement during floods in the Tagliamento River using RFID and GPS tracker devices
A 2D hydrodynamic-sedimentological model for gravel bed rivers. Part II, Case study: The Brenta River in Italy
A 2D hydrodynamic-sedimentological model for gravel-bed rivers. Part I: Theory and validation
Channel adjustments and island dynamics in the Brenta river (Italy) over the last 30 years
Displacement length and velocity of tagged logs in the tagliamento river
Dynamics and management alternatives of in-channel large wood in mountain basins of the southern Andes
Evaluating short-term morphological changes in a gravel-bed braided river using terrestrial laser scanner
Evaluation of short-term geomorphic changes in differently impacted gravel-bed rivers using improved dems of difference
A two end-member model of wood dynamics in headwater neotropical rivers
Rainfall intensity-duration thresholds for bedload transport initiation in small Alpine watersheds
The effect of hydrographs on bed load transport and bed sediment spatial arrangement
The need for a hydromorphological approach to Chilean river management
Channel adjustments and vegetation cover dynamics in a large gravel bed river over the last 200years
Grain size and topographical differences between static and mobile armour layers
Hydraulics, morphology, and energy dissipation in an alpine step-pool channel
Observations on sediment mobility in a large gravel-bed river
Artificial steps to stabilize mountain rivers: a post-project ecological assessment
Channel adjustments and alteration of sediment fluxes in gravel-bed rivers of North-Eastern Italy: potentials and limitations for channel recovery
Morphological effects of different channel-forming discharges in a gravel-bed river
Sediment transfer processes in two Alpine catchments of contrasting morphological settings
Acumulaciones de detritos leñosos en un cauce de montaña de Tierra del Fuego: análisis de la movilidad y de los efectos hidromorfológicos
Field based analysis of sediment entrainment in two high gradient streams located in Alpine and Andine environments
Geomorphic effects of large wood jams on a sub-antarctic mountain stream
LW jams in a mountain stream of Tierra del Fuego: Piece movement and hydro-morphological effects analysis Acumulaciones de detritos leñosos en un cauce de montaña de Tierra del Fuego: Análisis de la movilidad y de los efectos hidromorfológicos
Wood storage in three mountain streams of the Southern Andes and its hydro-morphological effects
Field-derived relationships for flow velocity and resistance in high-gradient streams
Sediment mobility and bedload transport conditions in an alpine stream
Effective discharge for sediment transport in a mountain river: Computational approaches and geomorphic effectiveness
Spatial density and characteristics of woody debris in five mountain rivers of the Dolomites (Italian Alps)
When does bedload transport begin in steep boulder-bed streams?
Magnitude-frequency analysis of bed load data in an Alpine boulder bed stream
Interannual variation of suspended sediment load and sediment yield in an alpine catchment

BookSection (2)

Assessing morphological changes in gravel-bed rivers using LiDAR data and colour bathymetry
Thirty years of vegetation cover dynamics and planform changes in the Brenta River (Italy): implications for channel recovery

ConferencePaper (6)

Analysis of Channel Morphology and Large Wood Characteristics Through Remote Images in the Blanco River After the Eruption of the Chaiten Volcano (Southern Chile)
Large Wood Mobility in Mountain Rivers, Chile
Assessing short term erosion-deposition processes of the Brenta river using LiDAR surveys
Medium term fluvial island evolution in relation with flood events in the Piave River
Riparian forest structure, vegetation cover and flood events in the Piave River
Role and management of in-channel wood in relation to flood events in Southern Andes basins

EditorialMaterial (1)

Morphodynamics of steep mountain channels

Review (1)

The concept of transport capacity in geomorphology
Luca Mao

Associate Professor

Departamento de Ecosistemas y Medio Ambiente

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Santiago, Chile

Roberto Agredano




Talca, Chile

Bruno Mazzorana

Associate Professor



Luis Lara

Director de Proyectos


Santiago, Chile

Rodrigo Cienfuegos


Departamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Ambiental


Macul, Chile

Cristián Escauriaza

Profesor Asociado

Departamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Ambiental



Jose Arumi

Profesor Titular

Water Resources


Chillan, Chile

Shaw Lacy

Resident Lecturer

The School for Field Studies

Puerto Natales, Chile