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Martin Lafrenz


Martin Lafrenz 
Associate Professor of Geography                                                                                   503.725.3163

Office Hours


 Ph.D. Geography (2005), University of Tennessee
 M.S. Geography (2001), Portland State University
 B.S. Geography (1998), Portland State University 

Research Interests

 Fluvial geomorphology and soils, urban stream phenomena, the legacy effects of human land use on critical zone  processes, community-based watershed monitoring, and mobile GIS.

Courses Taught

GEOG 210 Physical Geography
GEOG 320 Geomorphic Processes
GEOG 345 Resource Management
GEOG 4/507 Fluvial Geomorphology
GEOG 4/515 Soils and Land Use
GEOG 4/520 Field Methods in Physical Geog.
GEOG 4/589 Building a GIS Database with GPS

GEOG 210 Physical Geography

An introduction to the physical elements of geography
and the environment in which people live. The
focus is on natural processes that create physical
diversity on the earth. Major topics are weather and
climate, vegetation and soils, landforms, ecosystems,
their distribution and significance.

GEOG 320 Geomorphic Processes

Study of landform processes at the earth’s surface
including the work of water, wind, and ice in erosion,
transportation, and deposition on land and
sea. The significance of geomorphic processes to
human activities is included. A one- to two-day
weekend field trip is required. Three lectures; one
3-hour lab. This course is the same as Geology
374; course may be taken only once for credit.
Recommended prerequisites: Geog 210 and Mth 111. 

GEOG 345 Resource Management

Survey of natural resources, their occurrence, and
their management. Primary focus will be on the
United States, with case studies from other countries
and regions. Recommended prerequisite:
upper-division standing.


GEOG 4/507 Fluvial Geomorphology

Seminar (Credit to be arranged.)

GEOG 4/515 Soils and Land Use

The origin, development and distribution of soils
and the significance of soil to man. Examines the
importance of soil to landforms, vegetation, and
ecological development. Major emphasis is given
to land use potentials and limitations on various
kinds of soils with focus on urban and agricultural
settings. There are two half-day field trips.
Recommended prerequisite: Geog 210.

GEOG 4/520 Field Methods in Physical Geog.

Introduces students to field methods in physical
geography. The goal is to familiarize the student
with field techniques including research and sampling
design, field measurements and mapping,
data analysis and report writing and the use of
field equipment. Field and lab exercises will focus
on the examination of natural patterns and processes
and those resulting from human activity.
Techniques involving vegetation sampling, soil
description, microclimatic conditions, and geomorphologic
processes will be covered.
Recommended prerequisite: eight hours of upperdivision
physical geography or graduate standing.

GEOG 4/589 Building a GIS Database with GPS

Develops knowledge and skills necessary to use
the global positioning systems (GPS) to collect,
process, and use geographic data. GPS theory and
techniques through field survey experiences.
Collect and integrate spatial and non-spatial data
within an integrated geographic information system
(GIS) framework. Prerequisite: Geog

Graduate Students

Lowell Anthony: Detecting geomorphic change and stream channel evolution using LiDAR
Alexandria Costello: The geomorphic influence of beaver dams in urban-incised streams
Bruce Rash
Alexandra Santora: 
Urban land use impacts on water quality, fluvial geomorphology, GIS, modeling
Dan Uthman: Soil morphology of a dewatered landscape at Willapa Bay, Washington
Elinore Webb 

Recent Presentations & Media

February 8, 2016 - Urban Ecology and Conservation Symposium, Portland, OR

  • Martin Lafrenz, Leslie Bliss-Ketchum, Catherine E de Rivera, and Lori Hennings
    Poster: "Assessing Habitat Permeability at Wildlife Corridor-Road Intersections"

September 16, 2015 Metro News reports on a research project of Martin Lafrenz.