Keynote Speakers


Eric Wolanski | James Cook University, Australia

Dr. Eric Wolanski is a coastal oceanographer and ecohydrologist. He is linking physics and biology in estuarine, coastal, reef and savannah ecosystems. He has 430 publications, including six recent books:

Wolanski, E., Kingsford, M.J. (2024). Oceanographic Processes of Coral Reef. Physical and Biological Links in the Great Barrier Reef. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., USA (in press).
Paris, C. B., Wolanski, E., eds. (2020). The Importance of Behavior in the Recruitment of Marine Fauna and Flora. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/978-2-88963-501-6
Wolanski, E., Day, J., Elliott, M., Ramesh, Ramachandran (2019). Coasts and Estuaries. The Future. Elsevier, Amsterdam. 701 pp.
Perillo, G.M.E., Wolanski, E., Cahoon, D.R., Hopkinson, C.S. (2019). Coastal Wetlands. An Integrated Ecosystem Approach. Springer 2nd ed., Dordrecht, 1097 pp.
E. Wolanski & M. Elliott (2015). Estuarine Ecohydrology - An Introduction. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 310 pp.
E. Wolanski (2014). Estuaries of Australia in 2050 and Beyond. Springer, Dordrecht, 292 pp.

Eric launched in 2020, in collaboration with Professors Michael Elliott at the University of Hull (UK) and Ellen Wohl at the State University of Colorado (USA), a new Elsevier book series "Ecohydrology from catchment to coast" to provide an analysis for key rivers worldwide of the next set of policy and institutional reforms (environmental, social, cultural and economic) needed to ensure that the river basin is managed as an integrated system (including its land use, water resources and estuary) capable to adapt to the human impact and future changes including climate change. The first book has just been published,it is about the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. Being written now are books about the Mekong in SE Asia, the Nile in Africa, and the Scheldt in Belgium/The Netherlands.

Eric is a member of the Scientific and Policy Committee of Japan's EMECS (Environmental Management of Enclosed Seas, focusing on the Seto Inland Sea) and of the European Union DANUBIUS-PP Scientific and Technical Advisory Board (STAB; see;, which will be a pan-European distributed research infrastructure dedicated to interdisciplinary studies of large river–sea systems throughout Europe.

Eric is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Institution of Engineers Australia (ret.), and l'Academie Royale des Sciences d'Outre-Mer (Belgium). He was awarded an Australian Centenary medal for services in estuarine and coastal oceanography, a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, a 2nd Doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of Hull in the UK, a Queensland Information Technology and Telecommunication award for excellence, and the first LifeTime Achievement Award of the Estuarine & Coastal Science Association (ECSA).

Eric is Honourary Editor of Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, a Chief Editor of Wetlands Ecology and Management and of the Elsevier book series Ecohydrology from catchment to coast.

Since 1994 he has been running in Tanzania for Tanzania National Parks Authority yearly ecohydrology field training workshops with ecologists of the Serengeti, Katavi, Arusha, Nkomazi, Ruaha, Tarangire and Saadani National Parks, which are all either suffering or threatened by a water crisis. This is summarised in the recent paper: Mnaya, B., Elisa, M., Kihwele, E., Kiwango, H., Kiwango, Y., Ng’umbi, G., Wolanski, E. (2021). Are Tanzanian National Parks affected by the water crisis? Findings and ecohydrology solutions.Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology 21, 425-442.




Satya Harpalani | Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA


Dr. Harpalani serves as a Professor in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Materials Engineering and Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology and Mathematics at Southern Illinois University. Starting with his PhD dissertation work at University of California Berkeley, he has devoted his entire academic career to studying flow in porous media, with emphasis on production of natural gas, geologic storage of carbon dioxide and bioconversion of coal to natural gas. He has conducted research in the amount of over $20M, with funding from US Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency and large private operators, like British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, Advanced Resources International, VICO Indonesia and IKAV Energy. Recently, he has expanded his research in the area of production of hydrogen in situ, its storage and production. Finally, Dr. Harpalani has authored in excess of a hundred publication, mostly in the area of flow in deep rocks and graduated a large number of graduate students.





Abbas Taheri | Queen's University, Canada


Abbas Taheri is a Tenured Associate Professor at the Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, where he holds the Chair in Mine Design.
Abbas has over 20 years of industry, research, and teaching experience in geotechnical engineering, rock mechanics, and mining engineering. In 1999 he earned a BASc in Mining Engineering and in 2002 an MASc in Rock Mechanics from Amir Kabir University of Technology, Iran. He worked for over four years in the industry in civil and mining engineering projects before moving to Japan in 2005 to a PhD in geotechnical engineering at Yokohama National University. His PhD thesis has been internationally acknowledged as outstanding research work and has been awarded a runner-up certificate (Proxime Accessit) of "ISRM Rocha Medal 2010" from the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (ISRM). In 2008 he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and joined Tokyo University of Science. In 2011 he was appointed as a lecturer and then a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide, Australia, until 2021, when he moved to Queen’s University, Canada, as an Associate Professor.
Abbas is the president of the Commission on Deep Mining of the ISRM. Dr Taheri is/was a member of the Editorial Board of several scientific journals, including “Soils and Foundations”, “Bulletin of Engineering Geology and Environment”, “International Journal of Mining Science and Technology,” “Minerals” etc. Abbas is/was the chair, organizer, and member of the organization committee of many international symposiums and workshops. He has produced more than 160 refereed publications. Dr Taheri has developed and toughed several courses in geotechnical engineering and mining operation.


Speech title"New Innovations in Experimental Rock Mechanics"

Abstract-This keynote speech will present cutting-edge in-situ and laboratory testing methods and technologies, focusing on characterizing both rock masses and intact rocks. A highlight of the presentation is introducing an in-situ triaxial compression test method capable of measuring the stress-strain relation of rock masses in deep ground conditions. This method proves reliable and accurate, offering a single in-situ test that mirrors the effectiveness of a laboratory triaxial compression test.

The lecture will also showcase recent advancements in understanding rock failure mechanisms under diverse stress conditions. Notably, comprehensive stress-strain behavior analysis of rocks in uniaxial compression will be explored through sophisticated laboratory testing, incorporating the application of Digital Image Correlation to investigate localized rock behavior under monotonic and cyclic loading. Additionally, novel techniques for measuring post-failure behavior under cyclic loading will be introduced. A groundbreaking experimental advancement will be unveiled, allowing control over the dynamics associated with the sudden cracking of disc samples under diametrical compression. This innovation enables the accurate determination of intrinsic fracture properties in a simple compression test, effectively excluding or minimizing dynamic effects.

The developed experimental methodology finds applications across various domains, including Civil, Mining, and Petroleum engineering.

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