The papers in this special issue reflect several of the major themes and topics from the 7th International Workshop on Gravel-Bed Rivers. The papers focus primarily on aspects of bed material transport in gravel-bed rivers and larger scale morpho-dynamics. Research in gravel-bed rivers is increasingly integrating processes over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales by combining field observation, lab experimentation, numerical modeling and theory testing in a range of river types, aided by new technological developments in particle tracking, computational modeling and high resolution spatial data. This is leading to greater understanding of the processes leading to distinctive morpho-dynamics of river types and a more reliable basis for river management. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.