I am a watershed scientist who studies the physical processes and behavior of rivers, as well as the interactions between physical and ecological systems. I am particularly interested in understanding the impacts from and responses to major disturbances within watersheds, such as wildfire. Currently, I work as a Research Scientist in the Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University, and in the summer of 2020, I will be joining the faculty in the School of Environmental Science at Simon Fraser University.
My PhD research, conducted at The University of Texas and completed in 2016, examined how climate-dependent chemical weathering processes can influence the patterns and rates of erosion in mountain rivers. This research was published in the journals Nature and Geology.
Since joining Utah State, I have been researching the wide-ranging impacts after wildfire, with a focus on erosion and sedimentation, water resource impacts, and aquatic ecosystem resiliency. Working toward the goal of better quantifying these environmental risks, I am leading an NSF-funded project, along with Drs. Patrick Belmont and Jon Czuba. We are developing an open-source modeling framework capable of characterizing post-wildfire sediment dynamics and estimating the vulnerability of water reservoirs to sedimentation after wildfire. Additionally, I have been working with fire ecologist Dr. Larissa Yocom to understand how narrow historical perspectives on wildfire in the western US may contribute to an underestimation of future risks (see our Earth’s Futurepaper). We are also just starting a new JFSP-funded project aimed at understanding how targeted forest management could change wildfire behavior and post-fire impacts on watersheds and downstream infrastructure.
To learn more about my work, you can check out the following links to interviews, news media coverage and science podcasts:
Research Interests: fluvial geomorphology, watershed-scale sediment dynamics, wildfire & water security, climatic controls on landscape evolution, bedrock river erosion, weathering processes, population ecology modeling, and river management and restoration
Active Collaborations: Patrick Belmont (USU), Jon Czuba (Virginia Tech), Larissa Yocom (USU), Phaedra Budy (USGS, USU), Tim Walsworth (USU), Peter Wilcock (USU), and Lee MacDonald (CSU).