Peter Wigand

Adjunct Faculty


Research Interests
Dr. Wigand is associated with two universities where he both teaches and conducts collaborative research. During the late 1980s and 1990s he was an associate research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, where much of his research was directed toward reconstruction of frequencies and magnitudes of wetter climate episodes that might have impacted the area where the Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste facility was planned. His current research is focused on the reconstruction of past vegetation communities and the climates that affected them. Using paleobotanical and geomorphological expertises, he is directing his attention towards short-term late Quaternary climatic change in the Great Basin, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, and its effect upon landscape dynamics, and people both past, present, and future. He is currently conducting research in southern Italy, and in the Middle East. He has visited Iran twice in the last year and a half, initiating links that hopefully will yield long-term research connections with colleagues and students that he met there. He has seen areas of Iran stretching from the Persian Gulf south of Bushehr to Lake Urumia in the northwest and Sari in the north, finding Its people both warm and welcoming. He has spent over six months in southern Italy during the last four years, last summer with an excellent research assistant from Iran, and in the previous summer with three other Iranian students as well. Poor agricultural practices, and increasing torrential type rains due to global change, is continuing to strip topsoil in the Puglia and Basilicata region in southern Italy. Gullying continues to expose additional meters of sediment below that which we have sampled previously. Unfortunately, sediments are not being deposited on the valley floor, but are being swept into the Gulf of Taranto because stream velocities are very high. He is continuing his research in the western US, having just cored a lake in the Teton Mountains that will hopefully provide a record of middle to late Holocene vegetation and climate history.