Prof. Taylor Perron (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Title: The imprint of rivers on biodiversity and planetary topography
Abstract: Rivers have left their imprint on multiple worlds in our solar system, and that imprint takes multiple forms. I will first show how changes in river networks that have occurred over millions of years might have influenced the biodiversity of freshwater species. I will then shift the focus to Saturn’s moon Titan, where an exotic cocktail of materials and conditions has formed a deceptively Earth-like landscape, and show how rivers can teach us about weather and tectonics on this fascinating moon.
Biographical Sketch: J. Taylor Perron is a Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Perron’s research seeks a quantitative understanding of the processes that create landscapes, both on Earth and on other planets and moons. His approach combines theory and numerical modeling, field and remote sensing observations, analysis of data from planetary missions, and laboratory experiments. His group’s efforts currently follow three themes: the formation and evolution of river networks; the influence of climate on erosion and landscapes; and landscapes on Mars and Titan (Saturn’s largest moon). His research group’s current research includes : Landscape patterns (patterns in river networks, patterns in bedforms), climate and landscape evolution (rainfall and erosion across ocean islands, landslides and rainfall extremes in a changing climate, microclimate and asymmetric topography, sea level cycles and coral reefs), planetary surfaces (rainfall and rivers on Titan, paleoclimate records in the Martian polar caps, ancient oceans and floods on Mars.
Dr. Perron holds an AB in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Archaeology from Harvard University and a PhD in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He came to Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) after a two-year stint as a Daly Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard. Recent honors include the James B. Macelwane Medal at the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Clint Slatton Award from the National Center of Airborne Laser Mapping, Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award of the Earth and Planetary Surface Processes focus group of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), selection as the Robert P. Sharp lecturer at the AGU fall meeting, membership in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), and selection as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences.