Colleen Murphy L&S Sciences
Relationships Between Lithology, Vegetation, and Landscape Evolution
The ability to understand and predict how landscapes will evolve enables us to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and to act as stewards of the land by taking appropriate conservation and restoration measures when necessary. Currently, the geomorphic transport laws that we use to express this evolution do not quantitatively consider variations in rock types and the vegetative communities that they host. This project aims to further our understanding of the role that lithologic heterogeneity plays in landscape evolution by mapping and characterizing lithologic variability at two sites in the Northern California Coast Ranges. By combining physical and geochemical analyses of rock samples with maps constraining the spatial extent of rock types, I will be able to investigate the influence of lithology on vegetation distribution, channel morphology, and hillslope relief.