Dr. Michelle Goman

Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Specialization

  • Biogeography
  • Paleoecology and Paleoclimatology
  • Geomorphology
  • Mesoamerica
  • United States
  • East Africa

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. - Geography, University of California at Berkeley, 1996.
  • M.A. - Geography, University of California at Berkeley, 1992.
  • B.A. Hons. - Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of Wales, 1988.


  • Geog 201: Global Environmental Systems
  • Geog 317: Lab Methods in Physical Geography
  • Geog 360: Geomorphology
  • Geog 372: Global Climate Change: Past, Present & Future
  • Geog 375: Natural Hazards

Recent Publications

    Goman, M., Joyce, A. A., Mueller, R., & Middleton, W. D. (2014). Reconstructing the formation and
    land use history of the Mound 2 depression at Río Viejo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Quaternary
    International, 342, 33-44.

    Joyce, A. A., M. Goman, R. Mueller, A. Borejsza, and W. Middleton. (2014). Human Impact on the
    Ancient Landscapes of Oaxaca, Mexico. In Climates of Change: Proceedings of the 44th Annual
    Chacmool Conference, S. Lacey (Ed.), University of Calgary Press, Calgary.

    Goman, M., Joyce, A. A., and Mueller, R., (2013) Paleoecological evidence for agriculture and forest
    clearance in Coastal Oaxaca, In Polity and Ecology: Formative Period Archaeology on the Pacific
    Coast of Oaxaca, A. Joyce (Ed.), University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

    Mueller, R. G. , Joyce, A. A., Borejsza, A. and Goman, M., (2013) Anthropogenic Landscape Change
    and the Human Ecology of the Lower Río Verde Valley, In Polity and Ecology: Formative Period
    Archaeology on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, A. Joyce (Ed.), University Press of Colorado,

    Joyce, A.A. and Goman, M. (2012) Bridging the Theoretical Divide in Holocene Landscape Studies:
    Social and Ecological Approaches to Ancient Oaxacan Landscapes, Invited review for Quaternary
    Science Reviews, 55, 1-22.


Recent Papers

*student researchers

    Reconstructing Prehistoric Land Use Through Time: The Río Verde Early Agricultural Landscape Project, M. Goman, A. Joyce, J. Hedgepeth, R. Mueller, G. Lock*, V. Salazar*, W. Middleton, Sixth International Limnogeology Congress, Reno, Nevada, June 15–19, 2015  

    Landuse Reconstructions at El Charquito and Charco Lavado, Oaxaca, Mexico. M. Goman, A. Joyce, G. Lock*, V. Salazar*, D. Vieira,
    Association of American Geographers, Tampa, Fl., 2014

    The Río Verde Early Agricultural Landscape Project (Project RVEAL), M. Goman, A. Joyce,  R. Mueller, Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Tahoe, CA., 2013     

    Reconstructing landuse history in the coastal zone east of the Rio Verde Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico, M. Goman, A. Joyce, G.Hepp, N. Darst*, J. Sullivan*, Association of American Geographers, Los Angeles, CA., 2013

    Multi-proxy characterization of abruptly deposited sedimentary packages at Petaluma Marsh, Sonoma County, California, M. Goman, B. L. Ingram, F. Malamud-Roam, K. Helgeson, N. Darst*, A. Steward*,26th Pacific Climate Workshop, Asilomar, CA., 2013

In My Own Words

    My research focus seeks to understand the causes and impacts of environmental change that occurred in the past, particularly during the Holocene (last 10,000 years).  I believe that through a better understanding of our past interactions with the environment we will be better prepared to understand future impacts of global environmental change.  In order to understand variations in climate or environmental change during time frames before written records I use biological and non-biological materials preserved in the geological record, primarily in lake and wetland sediments.  For instance, one of my laboratory specialties is in pollen analysis (palynology).  Pollen from trees, shrubs and herbs is preserved over time in lake sediments.   The pollen is identifiable and can be used to understand how the vegetation for a region has changed because of climate influences, geomorphic changes or through human agency.

    I have been collaborating with an archaeologist in Oaxaca, Mexico for the past decade.  The ultimate goal of the project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is to provide a detailed understanding of human land interactions in the Lower Rio Verde watershed. This entails undertaking high resolution paleoecological reconstructions at multiple lake sites within the watershed. The number of study sites in the region provides a novel approach to examining questions of how people have used the landscape through time and coupled with our detailed understanding of the regions archaeology we will be able to examine how cultural/societal changes also impacted spatial use of the landscape.

    I am beginning a new project that focuses on understanding climate changes over the past 1,000 years within the Bay Area.  This project which is a joint collaboration with U.C. Berkeley will examine the paleoclimate proxy record archived in estuarine and wetland deposits from the Bay region.  My Doctoral dissertation work focused on the Bay and so it is great to be returning to the Bay marshes.

    I run the Sonoma Quaternary Lab (SQUAL).  This lab focuses on providing students with hands-on research experience in physical geography.  The lab is equipped with light and stereo microscopes for paleoecological analyses as well as a variety of equipment for different sedimentary analytical techniques such as grainsize and humification analysis. 

    If you are interested in finding out more about the SQUAL lab and research opportunities please contact me.