University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geology

Paul Bierman

Paul Bierman

Paul BiermanProfessor

  • Ph.D., University of Washington, 1993
  • C.V.
Area of expertise

Cosmogenic Nuclide Lab and the Landscape Change Program

Contact Information
Email: Paul Bierman
Phone: (802) 656-4411

Office Hours: by appointment
Delehanty Hall, Room 307

Website: Paul's website

Teaching and Research

I am a geologist with broad, interdisciplinary interests in both research and teaching. I have been at the University of Vermont since 1993. I oversee the Cosmogenic Nuclide Lab and the Landscape Change Program. Since coming to UVM in 1993, my students and I have published more than 60 refereed papers and presented more than 140 abstracts on research ranging from the erosion of Africa to teaching hydrology via service learning. Our work has been supported by grants from the NSF, DoD, USGS, UVM, and private foundations.

One theme ties my research and that of my students together: erosion. Over the past decade, my students and I have used a variety of techniques to figure how, where, and how quickly material is shed from Earth's surface. We have used 10-Be to track sediment from its origin on bedrock outcrops to its resting place in sedimentary deposits all over the world. In the arctic, we've examined the influence of ice temperature on glacial erosion in Baffin Island. In the deserts of Australia, we've demonstrated that rock surfaces remain nearly unchanged over millions of years. In Vermont, we've used lake cores, alluvial fan trenches, and the historic image record to document how 10,000 years of mega storms and 200 years of human impact have changed the face of our landscape.

I enjoy teaching and mentoring at a variety of levels. Since coming to UVM, I have advised three doctoral and 19 master's students, all of whom have gone on to work in geoscience fields or pursue additional degrees and most of whom have published their work in refereed, professional journals including Nature and Science. Each year, I coordinate a graduate seminar that stresses the importance of communication and which has always included students from a wide variety of natural science disciplines including Geology, Natural Resources, Botany, Soil Science, and Engineering. My undergraduate teaching includes Geomorphology, a course that with support from NSF's distinguished teacher scholar program, I am completely overhauling to incorporate pedagogical best practices. Each year I teach Earth Hazards to 200+ students; it's a course dedicated to sharing my excitement about the importance and societal relevance of science while teaching introductory students how Earth works. Several weeks each summer, I am the lead instructor working with high school teachers and students in the science strand Governor's Institute of Vermont, a residential program for highly motivated Vermont high school students.

Selected Publications

Bierman, P.R., Howe, J., Stanley-Mann, E., Peabody, M., Hilke, J., and Massey, C.A., (2005). Old images record landscape change through time GSA Today. V. 15, n. 4, 10:1130/1052-5173(2005)015, p.1 -6.

Bierman, P. R. and Nichols, K.K. (2004) Rock to sediment - Slope to sea with 10Be - Rates of landscape change, Annual Review of Earth Science. v. 32. p. 215-255.

Matmon, A., Bierman, P.R., Larsen, J., Southworth, S., Pavich, M., and Caffee, M., (2003) Temporally and spatially uniform rates of erosion in the southern Appalachian great Smoky Mountains, Geology. v. 31; no. 2; p. 155-158.

Reusser, L., Bierman, P.R., Pavich, M., Zen, E., Larsen, J., and Finkel, R. (2004) Rapid Late Pleistocene Incision of Atlantic Passive-Margin River Gorges, SCIENCE, v. 305, 409-502.

Nichols, K.K., Bierman, P.R., Persico, L., Bosley, A., Melillo, P., and Kurfis, J. (2003) Quantifying land use and urban run off changes through service learning hydrology projects. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 51, n. 4, p.365-372.

Education

  • B.A., 1985, Williams College
  • M.S., 1990, University of Washington
  • Ph.D., 1993, University of Washington