Prof. Taylor Schildgen

Taylor Schildgen
Prof. Taylor Schildgen
Group Leader
Building F, Room 453
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-27507

Function and Responsibilities:

I am a W2 professor in Section 4.6 (Geomorphology), leading a group on Landscape Evolution and Climate Interactions, with a joint appointment and teaching responsibilities at the University of Potsdam.

Research Interests:

My group and I are interested in how climate and tectonic forcing influence landscape form, erosion rates, erosion processes, and sedimentation patterns. We investigate this problem in mountainous source areas through a combination of modelling and empirical data on exhumation rates derived from thermochronology and cosmogenic nuclides. Farther downstream, we also approach this problem through empirical field studies on alluvial fans and fill terraces, and recently also through physical experiments and model development on the controls of gravel-bedded profiles.

There are current opportunities for projects for Masters students, PhD students, and post-doctoral researchers. Please contact me if you're interested!

Link to  Google Scholar page


Since 7/2015     W2 Professor, Section 4.6 (Geomorphology), GFZ Potsdam
2/2013-6/2015   Emmy Noether Group leader, University of Potsdam, Germany
4/2011-1/2013   Post-doctoral researcher and lecturer, University of Potsdam, Germany
4/2009-3/2011   Alexander von Humboldt Post-doctoral Fellow
3/2008-3/2009   Post-doctoral researcher, DFG-Leibniz Center for Earth Surface and Climate Studies, University of Potsdam


2000 B.A. in Geosciences, Williams College, USA
2002 M.Sc. in GIS, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
2008 Ph.D. in Geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA


  • GyroSCoPe (ERC Consolidator grant, 2020 - 2024): Geomorphic and Sedimentary responses to Climate Periodicity. The overarching goal of the project is to better understand how periodic changes in climate have influenced the evolution of landscape and how that evolution may be best reconstructed from sedimentary deposits. Post-doctoral researcher Fergus McNab is the first to join this project. He will work on calibrating a new model of the long-profile evolution of gravel-bedded channels from well constrained field sites, and use the calibrated model to reconstruct past environmental forcing conditions in landscapes characterized by alluvial landforms. Future components of the project will include field work in Patagonian Andes, the Central Andes, and the Kyrgyz Tien Shan. Please contact me if you are interested in applying for positions.
  • ICEHouse (Emmy Noether grant, 2013 - 2017):  Impacts of Climate change on Erosion and Hillslope processes. Former Ph.D. candidate Stefanie Tofelde (now a lecturer at the University of Potsdam) used field observations of fluvial fill terraces and modern observations of detrital 10Be concentrations to reconstruct landscape response to climate forcing on millennial timescales. Former post-doctoral researcher Jürgen Mey (now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Potsdam) has derived precise constraints on paleoclimate conditions during the last glacial advances by coupling paleolake and glacier modeling. Former post-doctoral researcher and Alexander von Humboldt fellow Mitch D'Arcy (now an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia) has investigated how alluvial-fan sedimentology and architecture may reflect past climatic fluctuations, and what glacial moraine records may reveal about climatic teleconnections throughout South America. Former post-doctoral researcher Andrew Wickert (now an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota) has developed a new model of the long-profile evolution of gravel-bedded rivers, with a focus on the controls of river aggradation and incision. 
  • LandFlux project (Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, 2018 - 2020): Post-doctoral researcher and Marie Curie fellow Duna Roda-Boluda is working on quantifying landslide activity and their contribution to sediment fluxes with cosmogenic radionuclides (10Be and 14C) in the Southern Alps and Fiordland of New Zealand.
  • StRATEGy (DFG grant, 2015 - 2020): SuRfAce processes, TEctonics and Georesources: The Andean forland basin of Argentina. Post-doctoral researcher Heiko Pingel (now a lecturer at the University of Potsdam) has reconstructed paleo-erosion rates over the past 5 million years from the Humahuaca Basin of NW Argentina using the cosmogenic 10Be, and illustrated the tight link in this region between topographic development, climate changes, and erosion rates. Post-doctoral researcher Elizabeth Orr has used 10Be to date a sequence of alluvial-fan surfaces in the Toro Basin that appear to date back to ca. 1 Ma, highlighting the prominent role of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition in affecting landscape evolution of the Central Andes.

Research Boards and Committees:

Editorial service
  • Since 2020: Editor-in-Chief, Tectonics
  • 2017-2019: Editor, Tectonics
  • 2014-2017: Associate Editor, Tectonics
  • 2014-2017: Editorial Board, Lithosphere
Committees for Scientific societies
  • 2020: AGU Meetings Committee
  • 2015 - 2020: EGU Division officer (Geomorphology)