Research Interests

A hydrologist and fluid mechanicist by training, Rinaldo studies fundamental hydrologic controls on biota by mathematical methods, field observations and laboratory experiments. Examples include the study of the dynamic origins of form and function of river networks, bio-morphodynamics in tidal systems, the role of directional dispersal and river network structure on patterns of biodiversity in fluvial ecosystems. He and his collaborators have identified general properties of the critical self-organization of mature river basin landscapes referred to as the theory of Optimal Channel Networks (OCN). The focus of the Laboratory of Ecohydrology at EPFL, which he established in 2008, is on the unifying framework for theoretical, field and experimental studies of river networks as ecological corridors for species, populations and pathogens of water-borne disease. Recently, Rinaldo has focused on spatially explicit epidemiological models of water-borne disease with a special interest on epidemic cholera inclusive of large-scale applications to hotspots of disease outbreaks. His overarching interests can be subsumed in the quest for a fair distribution of water

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 31: Engineering Sciences