Joel B Sankey, Ph.D.


I am a Research Geologist for the USGS, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, and the Southwest Biological Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. I am also an adjunct professor of the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability at Northern Arizona University. Previously, I was a Mendenhall Fellow with the USGS Western Geographic Science Center located at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I have a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from the Geosciences Department at Idaho State University.

My research expertise spans the disciplines of geomorphology (aeolian, hillslope, fluvial processes), soil science, ecology, remote sensing (ground-based and airborne LiDAR, multispectral, hyperspectral), GIS and geospatial science. I conduct interdisciplinary science using remote sensing, field methods, and instrumentation to detect, monitor, and provide bio-geo-physical explanation for disturbance, resilience, and changes in soil, sediment, and vegetation. My research is primarily focused on resource management and conservation issues throughout the western USA and particularly in arid and semi-arid systems and rivers.

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East, AE, Jenkins, KJ, Happe, PJ, Bountry, JA, Beechie, TJ, Mastin, MC, Sankey, JB, Randle, TJ, 2016. Channel‐planform evolution in four rivers of Olympic National Park, Washington, USA: the roles of physical drivers and trophic cascades. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms DOI: 10.1002/esp.4048

East, A.E., Collins, B.D., Sankey, J.B., Corbett, S., Fairley, H., Caster, J.J., 2016. Conditions and Processes Affecting Sand Resources at Archaeological Sites in the Colorado River Corridor Below Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1825, 104 p.,

Caster, J.J., Sankey, J.B., 2016. Variability in Rainfall at Monitoring Stations and Derivation of a Long-Term Rainfall Intensity Record in the Grand Canyon Region, Arizona, USA: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5012, 40 p.,

Sankey, T.T., Sankey, J.B., Bedford, A., Horne, R., 2016. Remote sensing of tamarisk biomass, insect herbivory, and defoliation: novel methods in the Grand Canyon region, Arizona, USA: Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 82(8), pp. 645-652, doi: 10.14358/PERS.82.8.645

Sankey, JB, Ralston, B, Grams PE, Schmidt, JC., Cagney, L., 2015. Riparian vegetation, Colorado River and climate: Five decades of spatio-temporal dynamics in the Grand Canyon in response to river regulation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 120(8), 1532-1547; doi: 10.1002/2015JG002991 [Link]

Sankey, JB, Munson, SM, Webb, RH, Wallace, CSA, Duran, CM., 2015. Remote sensing of Sonoran desert vegetation structure and phenology with ground-based LiDAR. Remote Sensing, 7(1), 342-359; doi:10.3390/rs70100342 [Link]

Sankey, J.B., McVay, J., Kreitler, J., Hawbaker, T., Vaillant, N., Lowe, S., 2015, Predicting Watershed Post-fire Sediment Yield With The InVEST Sediment Retention Model: Accuracy and Uncertainties, in Garsjo, M. M. and Hoeft, C., technical program chairs, SEDHYD 2015, joint 10th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference and 5th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference, Reno, 2015 [Proceedings], 12 pp. [Link]

Sankey, J.B., East, A.E., Collins, B. D., Caster, J., 2015, Gully Annealing By Fluvially-sourced Aeolian Sand: Remote Sensing Investigations Of Connectivity Along The Fluvial-Aeolian-Hillslope Continuum On The Colorado River, in Garsjo, M. M. and Hoeft, C., technical program chairs, SEDHYD 2015, joint 10th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference and 5th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference, Reno, 2015 [Proceedings], 6 pp. [Link]

Caster, J., Dealy, T., Andrews, T, Fairley, H., Draut, A., Sankey, J.B., and Bedford, D., 2014, Meteorological data for selected sites along the Colorado River Corridor, Arizona, 2011–13: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1247, 56 p., [Link]

Sankey, JB, Draut, A., 2014. Gully annealing by aeolian sediment: Field and remote-sensing investigation of aeolian-hillslope-fluvial interactions, Colorado River corridor, Arizona, USA. Geomorphology220, 68-80, DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.05.028 [Download File]

Collins, BD, Corbett, SC, Sankey, JB, Fairley, HC., 2014. High Resolution Topography and Geomorphology of Select Archeological Sites in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona. USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5126, 31 p., [Link]

Sankey, TT, Shrestha, R, Sankey, JB, Hardegree, S, Strand, E, 2013. Lidar-derived estimates and uncertainty of carbon sink in successional phases of woody encroachment. Journal of Geophysical Research 118, 1144-1155, DOI: 10.1002/jgrg.20088 [Download File]

Sankey, JB, Law, D, Breshears, DD, Munson, SM, Webb, RH, 2013. Employing LiDAR to detail vegetation canopy architecture for prediction of aeolian transport. Geophysical Research Letters 40, doi: 10.1002/grl.50356 [Link]

Sankey, JB, Wallace, CSA, Ravi, S, 2013. Phenology-based, remote sensing of post-burn disturbance windows in rangelands. Ecological Indicators 35-44, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.02.004 [Download File]

Villareal, ML, Gass, L, Norman, L, Sankey, JB, Wallace, CSA, McMacken, D, Childs, JL, Petrakis, R, 2013. Examining wildlife responses to phenology and wildlfire using a landscape-scale camera trap network, pp. 503-505. In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Collins, Loa C., comps. 2013. Merging science and management in a rapidly changing world: Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago III and 7th Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwestern Deserts; 2012 May 1-5; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings. RMRS-P-67. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 593 p. , May 1-5, Tucson, AZ (proceedings paper) [Link]

Sankey, JB, Ravi, S, Wallace, CSA, Webb, RH, Huxman, TE, 2012. Quantifying soil surface change in degraded drylands: shrub encroachment and effects of fire and vegetation removal in a desert grassland. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, G02025, doi:10.1029/2012JG002002 [Link]

Sankey, JB, Germino, MJ, Glenn, NF, 2012. Dust supply varies with sagebrush microsites and time since burning in experimental erosion events. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117,G01013, doi:10.1029/2011JG001724 [Link]

Sankey, T, Sankey, JB, Weber, K, Montagne, C. "Chapter 7. Changes in Pastoral Land Use and Their Effects on Rangeland Vegetation Indices." Change in Democratic Mongolia: Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining. Ed. Julian Dierkes. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.

Sankey, JB, Germino, MJ, Sankey, TT, Hoover A, 2012. Fire effects on the spatial patterning of soil properties in sagebrush steppe, USA: Meta-analysis. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21 (5), 545-556, [Link]

Sankey, JB, Germino, MJ, Benner, SG, Glenn, NF, Hoover, AN, 2012. Transport of biologically important nutrients by wind in an eroding cold desert. Journal of Aeolian Research,doi:10.1016/j.aeolia.2012.01.003 [Link]

Sankey, JB, Eitel, JUH, Germino, MJ, Glenn, NF, Vierling, LA, 2011. Quantifying relationships of burning, roughness, and potential dust emission with laser altimetry of soil surfaces at submeter scales.Geomorphology 135, 181-190. [Link]

Hasselquist NJ, Germino MJ, Sankey, JB, Ingram, L., Glenn, NF, 2011. Aeolian nutrient fluxes following wildfire in sagebrush steppe: implications for soil carbon storage. Biogeosciences 8, 3649-3659.[Link]

Sankey, JB, Glenn, NF, Germino, MJ, Gironella, AIN., Thackray, GD, 2010. Relationships of aeolian erosion and deposition with LiDAR-derived landscape surface roughness following wildfire.Geomorphology 119, 135-145. [Link]

Sankey, TT, Sankey, JB, Weber, KT, Montagne, C, 2009. Geospatial assessment of grazing regime shifts and socio-political changes in a Mongolian rangeland. Rangeland Ecology and Management 52, 522-530. [Link]

Sankey, JB, Germino, MJ, Glenn, NF, 2009. Aeolian sediment transport following wildfire in sagebrush steppe. Journal of Arid Environments 73, 912-919. [Link]

Sankey, JB, Germino, MJ, Glenn, NF, 2009. Relationships of post-fire aeolian transport to soil and atmospheric conditions. Journal of Aeolian Research 1, 75-85. [Link]

Sankey, JB, Lawrence, RL, Wraith, JM, 2008. Ad hoc modeling of root zone soil water with Landsat imagery and terrain and soils data. Sensors 8, 314-326. [Link]

Sankey, JB, Brown, DJ, Bernard, ML, Lawrence, RL, 2008. Comparing local vs. global visible and near-infrared (VisNIR) diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) calibrations for the prediction of soil clay, organic C and inorganic C. Geoderma 148, 149-158. [Link]

Sankey, J.B., Germino, M.J., Glenn, N.F., 2008. Dynamics of post-wildfire wind erosion of soil in semiarid rangelands, Idaho, USA. Multifunctional Grasslands in a Changing World, (Eds.) Organizing Committee of 2008 International Grassland Congress and International Rangeland Congress Meeting, Huhhot, China. July, 2008, Volume 1, p. 843. (conference proceedings paper)

Recent Presentations:

Climate, wildfire, and erosion ensemble foretells more sediment in western USA watersheds co-sponsored by the Utah State University Forestry Extension & Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, & Southern Rockies Joint Fire Science Network. August 2016.