background header Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
background header Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
background header Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences

Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences

Peter Wigand


Academic & Research Interest

Dr. Wigand’s research in the Great Basin has been directed toward reconstruction of frequencies and magnitudes of climate episodes during the last 35,000 years using plant micro- and macro- fossil, and stable isotope data. Currently. using both paleobotanical and geomorphologic expertise, he is examining short term late Quaternary climatic changes in the Northern Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, and its effect on landscape dynamics, and people both past, present, and future. He is currently conducting research in southern Italy, the Mezzogiorno, and in Iran. He has visited Iran twice in the last two years, initiating links that will yield long-term research connections with colleagues and students there. He is currently collaborating with scientists in Iran examining Holocene vegetation and climate change. Like the western US, much of Iran is suffering from the effect of long-term drought that is exacerbated by poor water management. He has been examining early Holocene vegetation and climate analogues, which suggest that the prognosis is not good for Iran’s future under global change. During the last four years Dr Wigand has also spent over six months in southern Italy with students whom he has brought in from Iran. In southern Italy poor agricultural practices, and increasingly intense, torrential rains due to global change, are stripping topsoil in the Puglia and Basilicata regions, and exposing underlying Pliocene marine marls turning many areas of the region into badlands. Gullying there continues to expose additional meters of sediment each year and because stream velocities are high and drainages short, the eroded sediments are being swept into the Gulf of Taranto rather than being deposited in valley floors. Dr Wigand has devised a model that allows him to correlate the currently available alluvial erosion history with reconstructed effective precipitation for the last 12,500 years. This model also allows him to identify erosion cycles that are due to human land use and not past climate cycles. He also hopes to be able to scale more recent erosion cycles so that he can differentiate between the contributions of climate and human land use to erosion cycles during the past two millennia. This model will be applicable to future rainfall conditions in southern Italy, and other areas experiencing increasingly arid climates.

Areas of Study

Carbon dating,   Climate science,   Dendrochronology,   Geomorphology,   Global change,   International work,   Paleoecology,   Sediment transport,   Water resources in developing countries,  

Current Students:

Hamideh Hosseini Safa (PhD)

Contact Info

1664 N. Virginia Street, MS 0154
Reno,  Nevada   89557
Office: (775) 338-7113
Cell: 338-7113