Joe Wheaton

Associate Professor of Riverscapes, Utah State University

Joe Wheaton is an Associate Professor of Riverscapes at Utah State University, a fluvial geomorphologist and a seasoned restoration practitioner. Joe's research is focused on better understanding the dynamics of riverscapes, how such fluvial processes shape instream and riparian habitats, and how biota modulate and amplify those processes. For example, some of Joe's research focuses on how the dam building activity of beaver alter physical habitat for their own benefit, but also to the benefit of a slew of other fauna and flora.

Much of Joe's work focuses on taking such understandings and translating them into useful applications. For example, Joe has helped pioneer the development of new stream restoration approaches (e.g. low-tech process-based restoration using beaver as a restoration agent), building larges scale monitoring programs that leverage the latest technologies (e.g. Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program and Big Rivers Monitoring Program), and building new analytical software apps (e.g. Geomorphic Change Detection Software) and simulation models (e.g. MORPHEDBRAT) to help scientists and practitioners alike. Joe's work straddles the interface between physical and ecological sciences.

Joe runs the Ecogeomorphology & Topographic Analysis Lab in Utah State University's Department of Watershed Science and his group is a leader in the monitoring and modeling of riverine habitats and watersheds. Joe is also co-owner of Anabranch Solutions, a consulting firm he, Steve Bennett and Nick Bouwes started in response to queries from practitioners needing help doing low-tech process-based restoration.  He worked four years in consulting engineering before completing his B.S. in Hydrology (2002, UC Davis), an M.S. in Hydrologic Sciences (2003, UC Davis), and a Ph.D. in Geography (2008, University of Southampton, UK). He worked as a lecturer in Physical Geography (University of Wales 2006-08), Research Assistant Professor in Geology (Idaho State University, 2008-09) before becoming an Assistant Professor at Utah State University (2009-Present) where he teaches courses


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