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David Wilkins

Associate Professor

  • Ph.D. | University of Utah, 1997
  • M.S.  | Texas A&M University, 1991
  • B.S.  | Texas A&M University, 1982


My research interests include desert geomorphology (i.e., climate and landscape processes and change), dendrochronology (tree-ring and climate research), and viticultural terroir studies in the Snake River Valley, and have been supported by various grants – my graduate students are expected to pursue research grants, as well, as part of their training.

I have two study regions where I prefer to work — the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (Corals) in southern Utah and in the Treasure Valley around Boise.  In the Corals, I’ve worked with a colleague at Weber State to investigate dune field evolution and aeolian activity during the Holocene, as well as recent geomorphic processes.  An MS thesis, published in 2015 by former MS Geology student, Janna Rozar, examines structural controls in the dune field – a pdf of that study is available through the Boise State University Scholarworks.  A current MS Geosciences student, Kerri Spuller, is starting a project to investigate the timing of aeolian activity in the Corals during the Holocene.  An undergraduate student, Amy Cutter, is completing a project to develop a tree-ring chronology for a stand of ponderosa pine in the dunes.

My current funded projects are both in terroir studies of the Sunnyslope District, a local wine-grape growing area. One is in the final stages and considers the differences in soils and climate between 10 different sites. The second, just starting, is in collaboration with a faculty member in the School of Public Service and looks at social perceptions of opportunities and challenges to growth that the wine industry in the state faces as it works to expand.


While I’ve taught a number of graduate and undergraduate courses in GIS and remote sensing in the past, currently my teaching is focused on undergraduates.  Courses being taught in 2016-17 include Introduction to Geography, Water in the West (team teaching member), Oceanography (online and face to face), Communications in the Geosciences, and Sustainability of Natural Resources.  Other courses — Geochronology and Geology and Geography of National Parks — are taught every two years or so.  I am also working to develop a dual offered upper-division undergraduate/graduate course in terroir studies.  This could be delivered in Spring 2018.

Student Opportunities

Currently, I have no funded opportunities that would support students. However, I have a number of small scale (master’s and undergraduate) projects available to work on for those interested in local dendrochronology or terroir studies of the Snake River Valley.

Professional Memberships

Association of American Geographers (Geomorphology Specialty Group), AGU (Biogeosciences, Global Change), Geological Society of America (Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology).

Contact Information

photo of David WilkinsWebsite:
Office: ERB 4163
Phone: 208-426-2390
Fax: 208-426-4061