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Lyman Persico

Associate Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies, Chair of Geology

Professor Persico is a broadly trained Earth Scientist and teaches in the Geology and Environmental Studies. He is interested in how humans and climate change shape the surface of the Earth. A native of Vermont, it was there that his passion for undergraduate research was sparked as a student. After taking a course in geomorphology at the University of Vermont, he joined a research lab studying how military vehicles alter rates desert landforms. Since that formative experience he has been perpetually fascinated by the processes that shape the surface of the Earth and loves introducing students to field-based research.

Professor Persico strives to engage and excite students by teaching from an Earth systems and human-earth interaction viewpoint. He approaches teaching from an applied and interdisciplinary perspective and highly values educational experiences outside of the traditional classroom including field-based experiential learning. He teaches students sound scientific habits of mind and practice prepare them to make scientifically literate decisions that are essential for participation in civil society. He teaches classes in geomorphology (the evolution of topography), environmental geology, paleoclimatology, hydrology, and western water issues.

Professor Persico involves students in research and infuses mentorship with lessons of ethics and justice. He prioritizes his efforts to make classrooms, field trips, and research inclusive experiences inclusive where all feel welcome and can flourish. His research lab studies surficial processes in a variety of systems including the maritime arctic, the desert southwest, the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and the Pacific Northwest. In the desert southwest they study the climate change effects on hillslope-soil-vegetation interactions. In the Aleutian Islands, they study the links between geomorphic process, climate, and human settlement. In greater Yellowstone, their research focuses on rivers and how climate change and trophic cascades have influenced how rivers. In the Pacific Northwest, they study stream restoration and how Miocene climate influenced weathering of the Columbia River Flood Basalts. Professor Persico’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Keck Geology Consortium. Professor Persico is committed to sustaining a research program that cultivates student enthusiasm toward scientific research and provides scientific knowledge that is valued not only in academic circles but also by land managers, industry leaders, and municipalities.

GEOL 125 - Environmental Geology

An introductory geology course focused on human interaction with the environment and earth resources.

ENVS 120 - Introduction to Environmental Studies

An introduction to interdisciplinary themes in environmental studies, including perspectives from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

GEOL/ENVS 258/260 - Geology in the Field

An exploration of the geology of an area, followed by a field trip to the area. The Geology of Yellowstone National Park and the Mojave Desert are frequent topics and destinations.

ENVS 305 - Water in the West

A course using a diverse suite of case studies to highlight western water issues including water resource management, power generation, water law, water economics, and climate change.

GEOL 350 - Geomorphology 

An exploration of the relationships of soils, surficial materials, and surficial landforms to rocks, structures, climate, geologic processes, and time.

Persico, L.P., McFadden, L.D., McAuliffe, J. R., Rittenour, T., *Dunn, S., *Stahlecker, T., *Brody, S., 2022, Late Quaternary geochronologic record of soil formation and erosion: Effects of climate change on Mojave Desert hillslopes, Geology, 50 (1).

Schmidt, A. H., Collins, B.D., Keen-Zebert, A. K., d’Alpoim, Guedes, G. Hein, A., Womack, A., McGuire, C., Feathers, J., Persico, L., Fiallo., D., Tank., Y, Simonson, B., 2022, Implications of the loess record for Holocene climate and human settlement in Heye Catchment, Jiuzhaigou, eastern Tibetan Plateau, Sichuan, China, Quaternary Research 1-15.

McAuliffe, J. R., McFadden, L.P., Persico, L.P., Rittenour, T., 2022, Climate and vegetation change, hillslope soil erosion, and the complex nature of late Quaternary environmental transitions, eastern Mojave Desert, USA, Quaternary, 5(4) 28 p.

Persico, L.P., 2021, The importance of geomorphic controls on hydraulic processes in Northern Yellowstone National Park, Proceedings – Keck Research Symposium in Geology 2019-2020.

Persico, L P., *Lanman, H., Nicolaysen, K., *Loopesko., Bruner, K., 2019, Geomorphic processes influence human settlement on two islands in the Islands of Four Mountains, Quaternary Research, 91 (3) 953-971.

Lang, N. P. and Persico, L. P., 2019, Challenges and approaches for creating inclusive field courses for students with an autism spectrum disorder, Journal of Geoscience Education, 67 (4) 345-350.

Virginia L Hatfield, Kirsten Nicolaysen, Dixie L West, Olga A Krylovich, Kale M Bruner, Arkady B Savinetsky, Dmitry D Vasyukov, Breanyn T MacInnes, Bulat F Khasanov, Lyman Persico, Mitsuru Okuno, 2019, Human Resilience and resettlement among the Islands of Four Mountains, Aleutians, Alaska, Quaternary Research, 91 (3) 917-933.

Okuno, M., Izbekov, P., Nicolaysen, K. P., Nakamura, T., Savinetsky, A. B. Vaysyukov, D., Krylovich, O. A., Khasanov, Mirand, J., Persico, L., Hatfield, V., West, D., Bruner, K., 2017, AMS Radiocarbon Dates on Peat Section Related with Tephra and Archaeological Sites in Carlisle Island, The Islands of Four Mountains, Alaska, Radiocarbon, 59 (6), p. 1771-1778.

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