Geomorphology and Landscape Evolution

I am interested in how landscapes got to where they are and where they are going. In other words, why does a landscape look the way it does, and how is it changing? Different parts of a watershed are controlled by different surface processes and specific processes may differ from one watershed to another. If we can express these processes as equations and quantify how outside forces drive these processes, we can start to understand why a landscape looks the way it does and how it might be changing.

It's a great time to be a geomorphologist! There are so many tools to help us understand how landscapes evolve. No one person can be an expert in all these tools, which means I get to work with lots of fun people. I usually bring a modeling and quantitative understanding to the puzzle, and my colleagues and students bring similar tools plus a bit of everything else.

Fun stuff going on in our research group!

We are recruiting two new graduate students to work with us. More details are here.

Sam Anderson is the AGU Earth and Planetary Surface Processes Young Researcher Spotlight for the month of September, 2019!

Welcome Lizmar Rodríguez-Lugo!!! She will be doing an MS with our group.

The GeoLatinas were interviewed on the Mini Geology radio show and four of the Tulane GeoLatinas participated! Listen here to the entire show, including inspiring words from GeoLatinas around the world. 

Sam Anderson got a UN internship to work on goundwater issues!


Sam Anderson is staying with our group to do a PhD!

Nathan Lyons and I got an NSF project funded to understand source-to-sink sediment routing in Sicily! We are working with a team that includes Frank Pazzaglia, Tammy Rittenour, and Eric Hutton.

Samantha Hilburn, Sabrina Martinez, and I spent a week in Puerto Rico (June 2019) thanks to a Tulane Carol Lavin Bernick award. We explored how landslides have (and have not) changed the landscape since Hurricane Maria, and we joined some Luquillo CZO field trips. Thanks to Stephen Hughes from UPR Mayagüez for taking us on a great field trip!

Sabrina Martinez won a departmental outstanding TA award! The picture on the right is Sabrina with her award.

Sabrina Martinez did a NASA internship over summer 2018, and her groups' work was recently published in JGR Planets - see it here!

Nathan Lyons got a grant funded from CRDF Global to support travel to Brazil! He went to Brazil twice in fall 2018 to get some preliminary samples for understanding drainage rearrangement processes and time scales. He also gave a Landlab short course.

Inclusion in STEM

I strongly believe that the population of scientists should reflect the broader population, and that our discipline will be stronger if we are truly inclusive. But getting there is challenging. In the brilliant words of Karen James (@kejames) science for minoritized people is "all space camp, no space suit." 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal agency that funds scientific research in the United States. I have received research grants from the NSF, so I wondered, because I am female, did I have a disproportionate advantage? Above are data on the proportion of proposals submitted by males and females to the NSF during fiscal year 2015. (NSF is divided into disciplinary directorates, and much, but not all of my work falls under the GEO directorate.) When submitting one can self-identify as male, female, or not identify, hence the "unknown".

The above plot just tells me that a lot more men than women submit proposals.

A male colleague once told me that some of what I think were hard-earned accomplishments were given to me because I am a woman. It is hard to shake that off, especially when comments like that happen early in one's career, when we are all especially vulnerable. It's also hard to test such a hypothesis. Here is one bit of data that I think refutes this hypothesis.

I then broke down the data for each group - female, male, unknown - and asked what percentage within each group are getting proposals funded. In other words, the above plot shows what the success rate of being funded was for women in FY 2015 and what the success rate for being funded was for men. If you look at the data NSF-Wide (blue bars), this states that women had a slightly higher success rate than men did. But if you look at the data for the GEO directorate, men had a slightly higher success rate than women did. 

The above plot tells me that identifying as a female and submitting a proposal does not mean that I will be more likely to get my proposal funded. I have just about the same chance as my male colleagues. 

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