Nicholas Patton

Studying towards a PhD in Geological Sciences
Location: Ernest Rutherford 262, Desk 8
Nicholas Patton

Landscape evolution of the south east Queensland dune fields

Chronosequences have been utilized in many of the earth science disciplines including pedology, ecology, and geomorphology to investigate how a particular variable is a function of time.  An ideal location needs to be established where a time-for-space substitution can be demonstrated. Topography has been established as one of the most problematic, due to the widely accepted assumption of topographic (or geomorphic) steady-state. Topographic steady state implies that soil thickness and production are constant; however, steady state is unlikely because landscapes typically are not able to adjust to changes in climate and/or tectonics. Furthermore, a direct measurement of a topographic steady state has not been recorded or presented in the natural world. For the first time we measure a natural system moving towards a steady state and recognise its systematic changes related to reducing variability of hillslope curvature, reported here as surface roughness.

This study aims to enhance our understanding of soil movement within soil-mantled landscapes via diffuse processes. Specifically, how deep does the mobile soil extend when it is not confined by bedrock, and is soil movement slope or depth dependent? Once evaluated, we will assess the applicability of mathematical and laboratory based models that have been the foundation of the landscape evolution literature within the south eastern Queensland dune fields. Lastly, the study will determine the mechanisms driving the evolution of the dune field and provide a quantitative case study of the erosion cycle that was first touched on by Davis 1899 and expanded into more modern processes and scenarios.

Research Interests

  • Geomorphology
  • Paleoecology
  • Pedology
  • Geochronology

I am a watershed scientist who is interested in the complex interaction between biotic and abiotic processes that drive landscape, climate, and ecosystem evolution. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Canterbury working closely with the Utah State University Luminescence Lab, British Geological Survey (BGS) and Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) on a suite of projects dealing with landscape evolution, stable isotope, climate, and modelling. In the past, I have worked with research groups such as the Critical Zone Observatories (CZO), Center for Ecological Research and Education (CERE), Center of Archaeological Materials and Applied Spectroscopy (CAMAS), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on multifaceted projects. Working with such diverse groups, my work tends to be at the interface of many scientific disciplines which has motivated me to become a strong voice for the scientific community and an advocate of science communication.

Working thesis title

Landscape evolution of the south east Queensland dune fields

Publications

Primary Author

Patton, N.R., D. Ellerton, & J.P. Shulmeister. (2019). High-resolution remapping of the coastal dune fields of South east Queensland, Australia: a morphometric approach (Journal of Maps). https://doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2019.1642246

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, S. Parsons, M. Seyfried, & S. E. Godsey. (2019). Topographic controls of soil organic carbon on soil-mantled landscapes (Scientific Reports). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-42556-5

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. Seyfried, R. M. Will, & S. Benner. (2019). Lithology and coarse fraction adjusted bulk density estimates for determining total organic carbon stocks in dryland soils (Geoderma). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.10.036

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. Seyfried, B.T. Crosby & S.E. Godsey. (2018). Predicting soil thickness on soil mantled hillslopes (Nature Communications).

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05743-y

 

Co-Author

Gontz, A., A. McCallum, D. Ellerton, N.R. Patton & J. Shulmeister. (2020). Teewah Transect – GPR-Derived Insights into the Younger Dune Morphosequences on the Great Sandy Coast, Queensland, Australia. (Journal of Coastal Research). https://doi.org/10.2112/SI95-097.1

Ellerton, D., T. Rittenour, J. Shulmeister, A. Gontz, K. Welsh, & N. R. Patton. (2020). An 800 kyr record of dune emplacement in relationship to high sea level forcing, Cooloola Sand Mass, Queensland, Australia. (Geomorphology). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.106999

Zhang, Y., Y. Zhu, Y. Chen, N.R. Patton, C.C. Huang, N. Wang, J. Shulmeister, Y. Li, H. Qui, Z. Tan, X. Li, Y. Zhang, & L. Liu. (2019). Prehistoric and historic overbank floods in the Luoyang Basin along the Luohe River, middle Yellow River basin, China (Quaternary International). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2019.06.023

Zhang, Y., Q. Zhou, N. Wang, Y. Cuan, C.C. Huang, N.R. Patton, T. Liu, L. Liu, J. Kemp, H. Zhao, J. Shulmeister, G. Yongqiang, & Y. Chen. (2019). Formation and evolution of the massive landslide-dammed lakes in the Jishixia Gorges along the upper Yellow River: No relation to China’s Great Flood and the Xia Dynasty (Quaternary Science Reviews). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.011

Shulmeister, J., G.D. Thackray, T.M. Rittenour, D. Fink, & N.R. Patton. (2019). The timing and nature of the last glacial cycle in New Zealand (Quaternary Science Reviews). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.12.020

Fellows, A. Flerchinger, G.N., M. S. Seyfried, K.A. Lohse, & N. R Patton. (2018). Controls on gross production in an aspen-sagebrush vegetation mosaic (Ecohydrology). https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.2046

 

Published Datasets

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. S. Seyfried, & M. D. Murdock. (2018). Dataset for Soil Properties Determined at the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW), Idaho [Idaho State University Collections 2010-2016]. (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/reynoldscreek/11/boisestate

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, S. E. Godsey, S. B. Parsons, & M. Seyfried. (2018). Dataset for topographic controls on total soil carbon in semi-arid environments (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/B2XT55.

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. Seyfried, S. Benner & R. Will. (2018). Dataset for lithology and coarse fraction adjusted bulk density estimates for determining total organic carbon stocks in dryland soils (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/B22M6Q.

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. Seyfried, & M. D. Murdock. (2018). Dataset: Soil properties of Johnston Draw a subcatchment of Reynolds Creek, Idaho. (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/B2612K.

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. Seyfried, A. G. Radke, & S. E. Godsey. (2018). Dataset: Soil properties of Reynolds Mountain East a subcatchment of Reynolds Creek, Idaho. (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/B29T3T.

Murdock, M. D., D. P. Huber, M. S. Seyfried, N. R. Patton, & K. A. Lohse. (2018). Dataset for soil hydraulic parameter estimates along an elevation gradient in dryland soils (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122reynoldscreek10boisestate

Patton, N. R., K. A. Lohse, M. Seyfried, B.T. Crosby & S.E. Godsey. (2017). Dataset for predicting soil thickness on soil mantled hillslopes (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/B2PM69.

Will, R. M., S. Benner, N. F. Glenn, J. Pierce, K. A. Lohse, N. R. Patton, L. P. Spaete, & C. Stanbery. (2017) Mapping SOC distribution in semi-arid mountainous regions using variables from hyperspectral, LiDAR and traditional datasets (Boise State University Scholar Works) https://doi.org/10.18122/B2Q598