Photo of Roberto Fernández

Roberto Fernández

Assistant Professor


  • Civil and Environmental Engineering

221A Sackett Building

Research Areas:

Water Resources Engineering




  • Lic., Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Costa Rica, 2008
  • MSc, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012
  • PhD, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2018


Journal Articles

  • Catherine Russell, Roberto Fernández, Daniel R Parsons and Sarah Gabbott, 2023, "Plastic pollution in riverbeds fundamentally affects natural sand transport processes", Communications Earth & Environment
  • Marijke G.W. de Vet, Roberto Fernández, Jaco H Baas, William D McCaffrey and Robert M Dorrell, 2023, "Streamwise turbulence modulation in non-uniform open-channel clay suspension flows", Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
  • Sojiro Fukuda, Marijke G.W. de Vet, Edward W.G. Skevington, Elena Bastianon, Roberto Fernández, Xuxu Wu, William D McCaffrey, Hajime Naruse, Daniel R Parsons and Robert M Dorrell, 2023, "Inadequacy of fluvial energetics for describing gravity current autosuspension", Nature Communications, 14, (2288)
  • Freija Mendrik, Roberto Fernández, Chris Hackney, Catherine Waller and Daniel R Parsons, 2023, "Non-buoyant microplastic settling velocity varies with biofilm growth and ambient water salinity", Communications Earth & Environment
  • Xuxu Wu, Roberto Fernández, Jaco H Baas, Jonathan Malarkey and Dan R Parsons, 2022, "Discontinuity in Equilibrium Wave-Current Ripple Size and Shape and Deep Cleaning Associated With Cohesive Sand-Clay Beds", Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface, 127, (9)
  • Roberto Fernández and Gary Parker, 2021, "Laboratory observations on meltwater meandering rivulets on ice", Earth Surface Dynamics
  • Roberto Fernández, Alejandro Vitale, Gary Parker and Marcelo H Garcia, 2020, "Hydraulic Resistance in Mixed Bedrock-Alluvial Meandering Channels", Journal of Hydraulic Research
  • Roberto Fernández, Gary Parker and Colin P Stark, 2019, "Experiments on patterns of alluvial cover and bedrock erosion in a meandering channel", Earth Surface Dynamics
  • Roberto Fernández, Marcelo H Garcia and Gary Parker, 2018, "Upper Mississippi River Flow and Sediment Characteristics and Their Effect on a Harbor Siltation Case", Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 144, (10)
  • Roberto Fernández and Marcelo H Garcia, 2017, "Input Variable Sensitivity Assessment for Sediment Transport Relations", Water Resources Research, 53, (9), pp. 8105-8119
  • Roberto Fernández and Alejandro Navas, 2012, "Pervious Concrete: Mixture design to assess its uniaxial compressive strength and permeability [In Spanish]", Road Infrastructure, 13, (24), pp. 40-49
  • Xuxu Wu, Jonathan Malarkey, Roberto Fernández, Jaco H Baas, Ellen Pollard and Daniel R Parsons, , "Influence of cohesive clay on wave–current ripple dynamics captured in a 3D phase diagram", Earth Surface Dynamics

Conference Proceedings

  • Roberto Fernández, H Kassem, X Wu and D Parsons, 2022, "Modultaion of sediment transport rates and hydraulic resistance by increasing mud-to- sand ratios"
  • A Lefebvre, M Stammler, G Goodwin, R Bosch, Roberto Fernández and S W. D. Grieve, 2022, "The initiative for a diamond open access journal in the field of geomorphology: an effort grounded on and guided by EDI concepts"
  • C Russell, Roberto Fernández, D Parsons and S Gabbott, 2022, "Plastic pollution impacts riverbed sand transport processes"
  • Roberto Fernández, 2021, "Meandering channels over ice: Cooler and unique?"
  • F Mendrik, Roberto Fernández, C Hackney, C Waller, R Dorrell, G Vasilopoulos and D Parsons, 2021, "Controls of bio-modulated flocculation on the fate of microplastic pollution in river-estuary transition zones"


  • Roberto Fernández and M H García, 2014, "Update Current Methodologies and Implement New Ones to Estimate Transport of Bed Sediment Loads Into Reservoirs in Tropical Mountain Rivers in Costa Rica", pp. 144
  • Roberto Fernández, S Santacruz, T Tokyay, A R Waratuke, M H García and G Parker, 2012, "Holcim Ste. Genevieve Missouri - Harbor Siltation Study. Civil Engineering Studies", (102), pp. 71
  • Roberto Fernández, D Motta, J D Abad, E J Langendoen, N Oberg and M H García, 2011, "RVR Meander - User's Manual. ArcGIS Version", pp. 27
  • Roberto Fernández, D Motta, J D Abad, E J Langendoen, N Oberg and M H García, 2011, "RVR Meander - Tutorials. ArcGIS Version", pp. 31
  • D Motta, Roberto Fernández, J D Abad, E J Langendoen, N Oberg and M H García, 2011, "RVR Meander - User's Manual. Stand-Alone Version.", pp. 21

Research Projects

Honors and Awards

  • Harry West Teaching Award, Harry West, April 2023 - March 2024
  • Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust, September 2020 - September 2022


Service to Penn State:

  • Committee Work, Committee Member, Faculty Search in Environmental Engineering, December 2023

Service to External Organizations:




The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084