jdp's picture



Not too long ago (Phillips, 2014) I proposed that many geomorphic systems are characterized by divergent behavior driven by either self-reinforcing feedbacks, or by “competitive” mutually-limiting relationships. However, this divergent evolution cannot continue indefinitely, and is ultimately limited by some sort of thresholds. Watts et al. (2014) recently published a paper that I think provides a good example of this sort of behavior a bit different from the ones I cited.

In a low-relief karst wetland landscape in Florida, they found that feedbacks among vegetation, nutrient availability, hydroperiod, and rock weathering (dissolution) result in formation of isolated forested wetland depressions (cypress domes) amongst prairie-type wetlands. However, as the cypress dome (they are called domes because of the taller canopies, despite the depressional landform) features grow, water volume thresholds limit further growth. 


Phillips, J.D., 2014. Thresholds, mode-switching and emergent equilibrium in geomorphic systems. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 39: 71-79.

jdp's picture



Here in the University of Kentucky physical geography program, we have a regular weekly meeting called BRAG (Biogeomorphology Research & Analysis Group) in which various faculty and graduate students from geography and other programs cuss, discuss, debate, and speculate about a wide range of topics centered on geomorphology-ecology interactions. A couple of years ago we focused quite a bit on the biogeomorphic ecosystem engineering effects of invasive species. That led to development of a review paper, which at long last was published, in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics—The biogeomorphic impacts of invasive species. The co-authors are myself, Songlin Fei, and Michael Shouse. Songlin, now at Purdue University, was then in the Forestry department at UK, and a regular participant in BRAG. Michael, now at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, was then a geography PhD student here.

The abstract is below, and a ScienceDaily news release is here:

jlva225's picture

"... ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I tend to view professional development opportunities with a slight degree of suspicion.   “So, you think I should take time away from my cram-packed schedule to attend an all-day session with an ambitious and somewhat ambiguous title like Managing Multiple Priorities?  I’m barely staying on top of things as it is, and besides, ain’t nobody got time for that.”  However, if I have learned anything from Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it is that effective people make time to plan ahead and work on developing good habits.  So, I signed up for Friday’s training.

Through a combination of humorous personal anecdotes, hands-on activities, and straightforward wisdom, our trainer, Sally O’Boyle of Fred Pryor Seminars, guided us from a general assessment of our time management challenges to series of actionable steps to remedy our personal management pitfalls.  For me, the lessons on priority-setting and procrastination were especially helpful.  Rather than go into too much detail there, here are a few tips from which we all can benefit:

bdharr3's picture

Brad's Blurb

Dear Staff,

With the return of cold weather I encourage everyone to take a moment to review HR policy related to severe weather delays/closures at:  In general, UK's policy is to keep all offices open and classes meeting as scheduled except under extraordinary weather conditions.  UK announcements regarding snow closures will normally be made by 6:00 a.m.  The most accurate and complete information on cancellation of classes and closure of offices can be found on the UK main website at:  The University's concerns around winter weather extend beyond policy and procedure to the safety of every member of our community.  With this in mind, check out the new UK WalkSafe website for safety tips at:  Last winter, 91 of our UK colleagues reported injuries related to slips/falls on campus.  It can take some time for the UK ground crews to remove the snow and ice from walkways, so it is important to be aware of sidewalk conditions when arriving and departing work. 

tleckd2's picture

5 Things About Lori Eckdahl

My husband, Bill, and I live here in Lexington and have a 24 year old daughter, Courtney.  We also have a 9 year old Chocolate Lab, Sammi, who thinks she is 2 and keeps us on our toes.  I am originally from Lexington, but was transplanted to Charlotte in 1981 thanks to IBM.  I returned to Lexington after my freshman year of college in 1989 to spend the summer with my grandmother.  I fell in love with Lexington and didn’t return to North Carolina, and decided to establish my residency before continuing my education.  During that year, I became a mom and had to put my college off for a while. 

jdp's picture



Natural selection is most familiar with respect to Darwinian evolution. However, though some biologists will argue that selection acts only on genes, this is a very narrow and restricted view. Selection operates on a variety of environmental phenomena, and at a variety of scales. In hydrology and geomorphology, the principle of gradient selection dictates that the most efficient flow paths are preferred over less efficient ones, and that these paths tend to be reinforced. That’s why water flows organize themselves into channels (more efficient than diffuse flows), and channels into networks. The principle of resistance selection in geomorphology is simply that more resistant features will persist while less resistant ones will be removed more quickly. Thus geomorphic processes select for certain forms and features and against others. Among others, Gerald Nanson, Rowl Twidale, and Luna Leopold have written on selection in geomorphology, and Henry Lin, among others, in hydrology.


Principle of gradient selection at work--Board Camp Creek, Arkansas

bdharr3's picture

Brad's Blurb

Dear Staff,

I would like to start by saying thanks to the entire staff for the amazing work you do every day.  As we get ready to enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend we have so much for which to be grateful.  I hope that everyone has the opportunity to set aside time to spend with families and friends and enjoy the long weekend. 

The A&S Culture Committee recently posted the results of the 2014 Culture Survey at:  The Culture Committee  also prepared a short summary of the results which I have included below. The Culture Committee continues to expand current initiatives, and consider new initiatives to address some of the findings.     

•         121 staff completed the survey

•         More than 200 comments were shared by staff who took the survey

•         Nine areas of the survey that showed upward trends from the last survey are:

                -63% of all staff feel faculty-staff relations have improved

                -95% of staff understand how their work supports education and research in the College

                -93% of staff are aware of their major job responsibilities

klburc2's picture

5 Things About Kari Burchfield

I grew up in Middlesboro, KY. The town is as far south and east in the state that you can go, situated on the KY, TN and VA border. I met my husband Bill while performing in the local community theater. We moved to Lexington to attend UK in 2002. We love it so much, we stayed. I graduated from UK with a BA in English in 2005. We welcomed our first child into the world this past April.

Before working as a full time employee here, I was a manager at for a residential property leasing company. I’ll never forget the day I decided to apply for a job at UK. It was a beautiful day in September, blue sky and the sun shining brightly. I was driving through campus thinking, I’d really like to be back here, this is where I need to be. A few weeks later, I was hired! After six years, I still believe that this was the best decision I could have made.

What do you do in your spare time? Between a seven month old, Piper, and a nine year old English Springer Spaniel, Blaze, I don’t have much spare time. Evenings and weekends are spent with our little family. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

bdharr3's picture

Night of Creativity-January 5, 2015 (Monday)

The College of Arts and Sciences 3rd Annual “Night of Creativity”

bdharr3's picture

Brad's Blurb

Here are the results of October's Staff Sparcet awards.  Lisa Hiscox (POT IBU) gave out the most Sparcets and Dee Beegle (POT IBU) received the most Sparcets this month.  This month’s Platinum award goes to Scott Horn from the HIVE.  Jennifer Allen wrote the following on Scott.  “We have a beautiful, adaptive, and dynamic website for Ampersand magazine now-thanks to Scott and his hard work!  The website allows us to incorporate all multi-media produced so we can showcase stories, videos, photo galleries, and podcasts in one location.  This website definitely enhances the magazine”.  Scott is October’s winner of a free lunch, along with 3 other of his A&S staff colleagues.  Congratulations to Lisa, Dee, and Scott for being recognized this month by your colleagues. Keep those Sparcets coming! 

It is time to start thinking about this year’s performance evaluations and to start tracking a few deadlines: 

-Tuesday, December 2, 2014-2014 performance evaluations available online

-Friday, January 16, 20150-Deadline to submit updates of position descriptions

-Monday, March 2, 2015-Deadline to submit completed online performance evaluations for your team members


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