Scott Mensing

Scott Mensing

Regents and Foundation Professor Emeritus, Fred D. Gibson, Jr. Endowed Professor in Science


Dr. Mensing is a biogeographer and paleoecologist. He has extensive experience reconstructing Quaternary environments in the Great Basin and California . His primary research tools are pollen and charcoal analysis and he maintains the department palynology laboratory. He also has experience with tree ring analysis and woodrat middens. He enjoys field work and is always anxious to explore new corners in the intermountain west.

About the Fred D. Gibson, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Science

Fred D. Gibson '51 was an outstanding leader in the U.S. chemical industry for more than 50 years. He was named by the University as Alumnus of the Year in 2010 and received an honorary doctorate from Nevada in 1999. Established: 1999. (College of Science and Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering)

Research interests

Reconstructing vegetation and climate change, quaternary paleoecology, fire history, the invasion of exotic species, early agriculture.

Courses taught

  • Geog 103 Geography of the World's Environment
  • Geog 314 Field Methods
  • Geog 434, 634 Biogeography
  • Geog 437, 637 Geography of Past Environments
  • Geog 473, 673 Arid Lands
  • Geog 701s - Graduate seminar in Biogeography and Paleoecology

Selected Publications

  • Crawford, Jeffrey N., Mensing, Scott A., Lake, Frank K., Zimmerman, Susan R.H. 2015. Late Holocene fire and vegetation reconstruction from the western Klamath Mountains, California, USA: A multi-disciplinary approach for examining potential human land-use impacts. The Holocene, DOI: 10.1177/0959683615584205.
  • Mensing, S. A., Tunno, I., Sagnotti, L., Florindo, F., Noble, P., Archer, C., Zimmermann, S., Pavón-Carrasco, F., Cifani, G., Passigli, S., Piovesan, G. 2015. 2700 years of Mediterranean environmental change in central Italy: A synthesis of sedimentary and cultural records to interpret past impacts of climate on society . Quaternary Science Reviews, 116, 72-94.
  • Dingemans, Theodore, Scott A. Mensing, Sarah J. Feakins, Matthew E. Kirby and Susan H. Zimmerman 2014. 3000 years of environmental change at Zaca Lake, California, USA. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.V2 (article 34) doi: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00034
  • Kennett, Douglas A.; Brendan J Culleton; Jaime Dexter; Scott Mensing; David H Thomas. 2014. High Precision AMS 14C Chronology for Gatecliff Shelter, Nevada,   Journal of Archaeological Science , 1-12.
  • Mensing, S., Sharpe, S., Tunno, I., Sada, D., Thomas, J., Starratt, S., Smith, J. 2013.The Late Holocene Dry Period: Multiproxy evidence for an extended drought between 2800 and 1850 cal yr BP across the central Great Basin, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews 78, 266-282.
  • Mensing, S. A., Korfmacher, J., Minkley, T., Musselman, R. 2011. A 15,000 year record of vegetation and climate change from a treeline lake in the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, USA, The Holocene, doi:10.1177/0959683611430339.


Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 1993
M.A., Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 1988
B.A., Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, 1977