Francis J. Magilligan

The Frank J. Reagan '09 Chair of Policy Studies
Professor of Geography
Adjunct Professor of Earth Sciences

My teaching and research interests focus primarily on fluvial geomorphology and surface water hydrology. In particular, my research addresses stream channel and watershed response to environmental change – whether the change is generated by natural (e.g. climate change) or anthropogenic (e.g. agriculture, grazing, or logging) causes. For example, I have worked on the geomorphic impacts of catastrophic floods in the Upper Mississippi River as well as glacial outburst floods in Iceland. At a more local level, I have been analyzing the geomorphic impacts of Hurricane Irene that ravaged eastern Vermont in late summer 2011. Currently, I am focusing on the links between channel processes and riparian ecology, especially the role of flow regulation by dams on aquatic and floodplain ecology. This work was recently highlighted in a National Science Foundation online newsletter and PBS.

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Besides this current research on the hydro-ecological impacts of dams and dam removal, I also have a project in the Peruvian Atacama Desert investigating the long-term evolution of El Niño floods and the regional relationship between climate change and cultural history. Students are actively involved in all aspects of my research and are an integral part of all my research activities.

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Curriculum Vitae Personal Website
646-1475
Fairchild 017
HB 6017
Department:
Earth Sciences
Geography
Education:
B.A. Boston University
M.S. University of Wisconsin
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin

Selected Publications

Magilligan, F.J., Sneddon, C., Fox, C.A. 2017, The social, historical, and institutional contingencies of dam removal, Environmental Management, 59(6), 982-994.

Foley, M.M., J.R. Bellmore, J.E. O’Connor, J.J. Duda, A.E. East, G.E. Grant, C.W. Anderson, J.A. Bountry, M.J. Collins, P.J. Connolly, L.S. Craig, J.E. Evans, S.L. Greene, F.J. Magilligan, C.S. Magirl, J.J. Major, G.R. Pess, T.J. Randle, P.B. Shafroth, C.E. Torgersen, D. Tullos, A.C. Wilcox, 2017, Dam removal—listening in, Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2017WR020457

Foley, M.M., Magilligan, F.J., Torgersen, C.E., Major, J.J., Anderson, C.W., Connolly P.J., Wieferich, D., Shafroth, P.B., Evans J.E., Infante, D., 2017, Landscape context and the biophysical response of rivers to dam removal in the United States, PLoS ONE, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180107

Sneddon, C.S, Magilligan, F.J., and Fox, C.A., 2017, Science of the dammed: Expertise and knowledge claims in contested dam removals, Water Alternatives, 10(3): 677-696.

Wohl, E., Magilligan, F.J., and Rathburn, S., 2017, Introduction to the special issue: Connectivity in Geomorphology, Geomorphology, 277: 1-5.

Naylor, L.A., Spencer, T., Lane, S.N., Darby, S.E., Magilligan, F.J., Macklin, M.G., and Möller, I., 2017, Stormy Geomorphology: geomorphic contributions in an age of climate extremes, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 42: 166–190

Magilligan, F.J., Nislow, K.H. Kynard, B.E., Hackman, A.M., 2016, Immediate changes in stream channel geomorphology, aquatic habitat, and fish assemblages following dam removal in a headwater catchment, Geomorphology, 252:158-170

Chipman, J., Shi, X., Magilligan, F.J., Chen, Y., and Li, B., 2016, Impacts of land cover change and water management practices on the Tarim and Konqi river systems, Xinjiang, China, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 10(4), 046020 (2016), doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.10.046020.

Spencer, T., Naylor, L.A., Lane, S.N., Darby, S.E., Macklin, M.G., Magilligan, F.J., Möller, I., 2016, Stormy Geomorphology: an introduction to the Special Issue, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 42: 238–241

Fox, C., Magilligan, F.J., and Sneddon, C.S., 2016, “You kill the dam, you are killing a part of me”: Dam removal and the environmental politics of river restoration”, Geoforum, 70: 93–104.

Magilligan, F.J., Graber, B., Nislow, K.H., Chipman, J, Sneddon, C.S., and Fox, C. 2016, River restoration by dam removal:  assessing riverine re-connectivity and watershed resilience at a regional scale, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000108

Magilligan, F.J., Sneddon, C.S. and Fox, C., 2016, The era of big dam building: it ain’t over till it’s over, In (eds.): C. Ashcraft and T. Mayer, The Politics of Fresh Water: Access, Conflict and Identity, Routledge Press, pp. 78-97.

Dethier, E., Magilligan, F.J., Renshaw, C.R., and Nislow, K.H., 2016, Chronic and episodic disturbances: the persistence and legacy of extreme floods, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41:1437–1447.

Gartner, J.D., Magilligan, F.J., and Renshaw, C.E., 2015, Predicting the type, location and magnitude of geomorphic responses to dam removal: role of hydrologic and geomorphic constraints, Geomorphology, 251: 20-30.

Magilligan, F.J., Buraas, E.M., and Renshsaw, C.E., 2015, The efficacy of stream power and flow duration on geomorphic responses to catastrophic flooding, Geomorphology, 228: 175-188.

Underwood, J.W., Renshaw, C.E., Magilligan, F.J., Dade, W.B., and Landis, J.D., 2015, Joint isotopic mass balance:  A novel approach to quantifying channel bed to channel margins sediment transfer during storm events, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 40: 15631573.

Gartner, J., Dade, W.B., Renshaw, C.E., Magilligan, F.J., 2015, Gradients in stream power influence lateral and downstream sediment flux in floods, Geology, 43: 983-986

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Works in Progress

Magilligan, F.J., James, L.A., Lecce, S., Dietrich, J.T., and Kupfer, J.A., n.d., geomorphic responses to extreme rainfall, catastrophic flooding, and dam failures across an urban to rural landscape Annals American Association of Geographers, In Review (Submitted 8-11-17)

PBS Video of NSF-sponsored Dam Removal Research