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Travis W Nauman, Ph.D.

Travis is a soil scientist with the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center in Moab, Utah. His work generally encompasses the role of soils in earth system responses to different drivers of change.  He has pioneered new methods to improve soil surveys using remote sensing and spatial modeling to meet needs of land management decision makers.

Travis has also worked in development and interpretation of natural resources inventory and monitoring programs with a wide variety of public, private, non-profit, and academic entities. He integrates data-driven research into land management frameworks emphasizing soil processes, ecological potential frameworks, and erosion mitigation. Travis has worked across the southwestern United States, Appalachian Mountains, and in parts of China to integrate field and remotely sensed assessments of soil and vegetation into agricultural, rangeland, and forest management. 

Current Interests and Projects

Ecology-Based Management: Assessing and monitoring ecological health requires context on the potential productivity and biotic communities of a site. Potential generally relates to soils, climate and topographic controls, which can be approximated with various spatial datasets developed for this work. These include the Disturbance Automated Reference Toolset (DART) and Ecological Site Groups (ESGs) to aid land managers in understanding land health and behavior.

Dust Emissions on the Colorado Plateau:  Long term passive dust collection networks maintained by the USGS aid in determining relative contributions of rangeland areas and various land uses to regional dust emissions. Dust affects local recreation, human health, and regional water balance (dust on snow), and has become a priority for local land management agencies. Travis was recently awarded a NASA Roses grant working together with an interdisciplinary group better integrate the dust cycle and downwind snowmelt dynamics into earth system models to understand interactions with land use, climate change, and the water cycle.

Digital Soil Mapping:  Recent advances in computing and environmental raster data have allowed increasingly detailed soil maps to be produced using statistical models. These models utilize the principals of soil formation resulting from five general factors including climate, organism, relief, parent material, and time. Digital soil mapping utilizes this conceptual framework to efficiently interpolate soil maps between field soil observations. Travis works with the National Cooperative Soil Survey, Bureau of Land Management, and other partners to research new mapping methods and produce new high-resolution mapping products.

For more information, please see Travis' Google Scholar Profile online.


Ph.D.  2015  Plant and Soil Science; West Virginia University

M.S.    2009   Soil and Water Science, GIS certification; University of Arizona

B.S.    2006   Environmental Science; University of Arizona

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