James W. Jordan, PhD

Core Faculty, Director of Field Studies Program
Department of Environmental Studies

AUNE Contact Information


Highest Degree

PhD, University of Wisconsin Madison

Other Degrees & Credentials

MA, Quaternary Studies, University of Alaska-Fairbanks
BA, Anthropology/Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia

Areas of Expertise

Geomorphology and biogeography, climate change, soil geography, paleoecology, human-environment interactions, geoarchaeology


Understanding the rates, magnitudes, and manifestations of environmental change is at the core of my research and teaching interests. Specifically, I am interested how humans drive or respond to short- and long-term (10s to 1000s of years) changes in local and regional environments and landscapes, and how land-use patterns have been (and must be) informed by climatic and geologic boundary conditions and the distribution of natural resources.

Much of my work focuses on biophysical evolution of coastal and nearshore environments in the North American Arctic and sub-arctic, in regions where coastal changes are dominated both by geologic and climatic processes. Issues of sea level change, tectonic instability, gradual and abrupt climate change, coastal erosion and infrastructure loss, coastal and marine resource management, and community planning all interact in ways that require the collaboration of scientists, residents, policy makers, educators, and government institutions in order to effect rational stewardship of natural resources and to increase the resilience of communities to environmental change.

Hook Bay, ANIA

Hook Bay, near Chignk, Alaska. Tectonic uplift, glaciation, sea level change, and volcanism around Aniakchak National Monument have had profound affects on the region’s coasts and history of human settlement.