Nicholas Patton Profile Photo
Dr. Nicholas Patton
Postdoctoral Researcher, Soil Science, Soil Physics, and Geomorphology


I am a watershed scientist who is interested in the complex interaction between biotic and abiotic processes that drive landscape, climate, and ecosystem evolution over the Quaternary. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Desert Research Institute working within the Integrated Terrain Analysis Program (ITAP). In the past, I have worked with research groups such as the British Geological Survey (BGS), Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), 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 a suite of 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 voice for the scientific community and an advocate of science literacy and communication. For information on my ongoing projects check out my Personal Website.


PhD in Geology, 2018- 2022

University of Canterbury, NZ – The University of Queensland, AUS (transferred)

Focus: Geomorphology, GIS, landscape evolution, and geochronology

MSc in Geology, 2014-2016

Idaho State University, USA

Focus: Soil science, biogeochemistry, geomorphology, and GIS

BSc in Chemistry and Geology, 2010-2013

California University of Pennsylvania, USA

Focus: Environmental chemistry, aqueous chemistry, and hydrology

PUBLICATIONS (ORCID: 0000-0002-4137-0636)

Primary Author


Patton, N. R., Shulmeister, Hua, Q., Almond, P., Rittenour, T., Hanson, J. M., Grealy, A., Gilroy, J., & Ellerton, D. (2023) Reconstructing Holocene fire records using dune foot-slope deposits at the Cooloola Sand Mass, Australia.Quaternary Research – In Press.


Patton, N. R. (2022). Landscape evolution of the Southeast Queensland Dune Fields, Australia. PhD Thesis – University of Canterbury.

Patton, N. R., Shulmeister, J., Rittenour, T., Ellerton, D., Almond, P., & Santini, T. (2022). Using surface roughness to determine Holocene coastal dune ages at Kgari (Fraser Island) and the Cooloola Sand Mass, Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 47(10), 2455-2470. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.5387

Patton, N. R., Shulmeister, J., Ellerton, D., & Seropian, G. (2022). Measuring landscape evolution from inception to maturity: insights from a coastal dune system. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 584, 17448 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117448


Patton, N. R., Ellerton, D., & Shulmeister, J. (2019). High-resolution remapping of the coastal dune fields of south east Queensland, Australia: a morphometric approach. Journal of Maps, 15(2), 578-589. https://doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2019.1642246

Patton, N. R., Lohse, K. A., Seyfried, M. S., Godsey, S. E., & Parsons, S. B. (2019). Topographic controls of soil organic carbon on soil-mantled landscapes. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-42556-5

Patton, N. R., Lohse, K. A., Seyfried, M., Will, R., & Benner, S. G. (2019). Lithology and coarse fraction adjusted bulk density estimates for determining total organic carbon stocks in dryland soils. Geoderma, 337, 844-852. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.10.036


Patton, N. R., Lohse, K. A., Godsey, S. E., Crosby, B. T., & Seyfried, M. S. (2018). Predicting soil thickness on soil mantled hillslopes. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05743-y



Lohse, K. A., Patton, N. R., Godsey, S. E., & Crosby, B. T. (2023). Soil depth measurement system and method. United States Patent, US 11567055.

Ellerton, D., Rittenour, T., Shulmeister, J., Roberts, A.P., Miot da Silva, G., Gontz, A., Hesp, P., Moss, P., Patton, N. R., Santini, T., Welsh, K., & Zhao, X. (2022) Middle Pleistocene sea-level change linked to the formation of Fraser Island and initiation of the Great Barrier Reef. Nature Geoscience, 1752-0894. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-01062-6

Lohse, K., Pierson, D., Patton, N. R., Sanderman, J., Huber, D. P., Finney, B., Facer, J., Meyers, J., & Seyfried, M. (2022) Wildfire results in development of novel multi-scale ecosystem structure and function in non-forested shrubland ecosystems. Scientific Reports, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-26849-w

Pierson, D., Lohse, K., Wieder, W., Patton, N. R., Facer, J., de Graaff, M., Georgiou, K., Seyfried, M., Flerchinger, G., & Will, R. (2022) Optimizing process-based models to predict current and future soil organic carbon stocks at high-resolution. Scientific Reports, 12, 10824. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-14224-8

Ya-na, J., Zhang, Y., Huang, C. C., Wang, N., Qiu, H., Wang, H., Xiao, Q., Chen, D., Lin, X., Zhu, Y., Fu, L., Gu, K., & Patton, N. R. (2022) Late Pleistocene-Holocene aeolian loess-paleosol sections in the Yellow River source area on the northeast Tibetan Plateau: chronostratigraphy, sediment provenance, and implications for paleoclimate reconstruction. Catena. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2021.105777


OBryan, C. J., Patton, N. R., Hone, J., Lewis, J. S., BerdejoEspinola, V., Risch, D. R., Holden M. H., & McDonaldMadden, E. (2021). Invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) as a human-mediated source of soil carbon emissions: Uncertainties and future directions. Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15992

OBryan, C. J., Patton, N. R., Hone, J., Lewis, J. S., BerdejoEspinola, V., Risch, D. R., Holden M. H., & McDonaldMadden, E. (2021). Unrecognized threat to global soil carbon by a widespread invasive species. Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15769

Florin, S. A., Roberts, P., Marwick, B., Patton, N. R., Shulmeister, J., Lovelock, C. E., Barry, L. A., Hua, Q., Nango, M., Djandjomerr, D., Fullagar, R., Wallis, L. A., Fairbairn, A. S., & Clarkson, C. (2021). Pandanus nutshell generates a palaeoprecipitation record for human occupation at Madjedbebe, northern Australia. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 5(3), 295-303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/09596836211019092

Khler, M., Shulmeister, J., Patton, N. R., Rittenour, T. M., McSweeney, S., Ellerton, Daniel T. Ellerton, Justin C. Stout, & Hneke, H. (2021). Holocene evolution of a barrier-spit complex and the interaction of tidal and wave processes, Inskip Peninsula, SE Queensland, Australia. The Holocene, 09596836211019092. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/09596836211019092

Ya-na, J., Zhang, Y., Huang, C. C., Wang, N., Qiu, H., Wang, H., Yu, Y., Seilbike, A., Zou, M., Lin, X., Tan, Z., Liu, W., Hu, S., & Patton, N. R. (2021) Chronostratigraphic framework and paleoenvironmental interpretation of the Holocene loess-paleosol sequence in the Luoyang Basin, Central China. Aeolian Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2020.100657


Gontz, A., McCallum, A., Ellerton, D., Patton, N. R., & Shulmeister, J. (2020). The Teewah Transect: GPR-Derived Insights into the Younger Dune Morphosequences on the Great Sandy Coast, Queensland, Australia. Journal of Coastal Research, 95(SI), 500-504. https://doi.org/10.2112/SI95-097.1

Ellerton, D., Rittenour, T., Shulmeister, J., Gontz, A., Welsh, K. J., & Patton, N. R. (2020). An 800 kyr record of dune emplacement in relationship to high sea level forcing, Cooloola Sand Mass, Queensland, Australia. Geomorphology, 354, 106999. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.106999


Zhang, Y., Huang, C. C., Tan, Z., Chen, Y., Qiu, H., Huang, C., Li Y., Zhang Y., Li, X., Shulmeister, J., Patton, N. R., Liu, L., Zhu, Y., & Wang, N. (2019). Prehistoric and historic overbank floods in the Luoyang Basin along the Luohe River, middle Yellow River basin, China. Quaternary International, 521, 118-128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2019.06.023

Zhang, Y., Huang, C. C., Shulmeister, J., Guo, Y., Liu, T., Kemp, J., Patton, N. R., Liu, L., Chen, Y., Zhou, Q., Cuan, Y., Zhao, H., & Wang, N. (2019). Formation and evolution of the Holocene 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, 218, 267-280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.011

Shulmeister, J., Thackray, G. D., Rittenour, T. M., Fink, D., & Patton, N. R. (2019). The timing and nature of the last glacial cycle in New Zealand. Quaternary Science Reviews, 206, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.12.020

Fellows, A. W., Flerchinger, G. N., Seyfried, M. S., Lohse, K. A., & Patton, N. R. (2019). Controls on gross production in an aspensagebrush vegetation mosaic. Ecohydrology, 12(1), e2046. https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.2046


Landscape evolution, soil geomorphology, paleoclimate, isotopes, geochronology, biogeochemistry, and soil carbon




Kielhofer, J., Patton, N. R., Sion, B. (2023). Technical Report: YPG Cold Regions Test Center blast area analysis, pp. 1-31. Report prepared for U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground under contract W9115121D0004

Patton, N. R., Baish, C. J., Kielhofer, J., Sion, B., McDonald, E. V. (2022). Preliminary evaluation of Fort Greely as a US analog for high-latitude environments using soil-landform characteristics, pp. 1-20. Report prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory under contract W913E520C0021