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Geological Sciences Seminar: Jane Willenbring, UC San Diego: "Rocks, Regolith, Rain and Rivers: The Dynamic Interaction of Life and Landscape"

Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018 12:00 PM
GeoCorner 220 - 450 Serra Mall, Building 320
Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Department of Geological Science

Natural landscapes are often viewed as the scenic backdrop on which life grows; when the landscape changes, biota responds passively to this change. A new view is emerging in which landscapes represent an ever-changing canvas shaped by dynamic interactions between life and landscape, through processes as diverse as rainfall interception, erosion, sediment transport, and alteration of rock to produce soil. Life probably strongly influences the evolution of topography at all scales although evidence of the impact of life in mountains has been elusive. The converse is also true–the landscape affects life through bottom-up controls. Substrate composition and connectivity of topographic elements can act as fundamental controls on biomass, productivity and biodiversity. In this talk, I will discuss our approach exploring these topics by coupling geochemical techniques, remotely sensed data and models to show how biota can control landscape evolution and how tectonics and topography impacts life.

Jane Willenbring is an Associate Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. She joined Scripps in the summer of 2016 and is the Director of the Scripps Cosmogenic Isotope Laboratory. She received her B.Sci. from North Dakota State University, where she was a McNair Scholar. She received a Master’s degree from Boston University and her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada and was named an Izaak Walton Killam Laureate. She was a Synthesis Postdoctoral Fellow through the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics, and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at GFZ Potsdam, Germany. Jane was previously a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and, in 2016, was awarded an NSF Career grant.  

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