Abstract : The models for the erosion and transport of sediments that are currently used rely on empirical data obtained from experiments with sediments having a uniform or unimodal distribution. But there are many practical situations for which the size distribution is significantly different from this assumed distribution, and laboratory and field experiments have shown that the erosion threshold and the transport rate depend on the size distribution and the range of particle sizes. The aim of this study is therefore to investigate and explain the influence of size distribution on erosion and transport rates, using a numerical model that has been developed specifically to study this problem. The sediment bed is assumed to consist of individual, non-cohesive, spherical particles, and the physical interactions between the particles are modelled explicitly, using the Discrete Element Method developed by Cundall and Strack (1979). The flow above the bed is computed using the FLOWSTAR model (Carruthers et al 2000) which was originally developed to compute the flow in the atmospheric boundary layer above arbitrary topography. These two models are coupled, and the resulting numerical code has been used to investigate the temporal evolution of erosion and transport rates agree well with experimental measurements, and the DEM provides additional information concerning the temporal evolution of the particle size distribution within the bed.