Taylor Perron

Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Contact Info:

Office Phone




Kayla Bauer 617.253.9641

Investigates how geology, climate, and life intertwine to shape the landscapes of Earth and other planets.

Research Interests

Landscapes record a planet’s past and offer clues about its future. My research in geomorphology – the scientific study of landscapes – deciphers these records to discover how geology, climate, and life intertwine to shape the surfaces of Earth and other planets and moons. I use fieldwork, mathematical and computational modeling, remote-sensing and spacecraft data, and laboratory experiments. Most of my current work falls into three areas: Landscape Evolution, Planetary Surfaces, and the Human Landscape.

Topics I Investigate

  • Dynamic river networks
  • Climate and landscape evolution
  • Landscape evolution and biological evolution
  • Erosion and sediment transport
  • Islands, coasts, and coral reefs
  • Landscapes on Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan
  • Landscapes and archaeology

Biographic Sketch

Taylor Perron joined the EAPS faculty in 2009 and is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. After earning an AB in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Archaeology from Harvard University in 1999, Taylor went on to complete his PhD studies in 2006 at the University of California, Berkeley. He returned to Harvard in 2007 where, as a postdoctoral fellow, he published new evidence pointing to the existence of ancient oceans on Mars. Taylor’s pioneering work to expand our understanding of landscape evolution in the face of environmental change has garnered recognition from peers and institutions—including a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and past recipient of the James B. Macelwane Medal, and has been a member of the Editorial Committee of the Annual Review of Earth & Planetary Sciences since 2017.

As an EAPS faculty member, Taylor served previously as chair of the Program in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology, and as Associate Department Head for Education; he currently serves on the MIT-WHOI Joint Program Committee on Geology and Geophysics.

Nature is constantly doing experiments for us by combining climate, landforms, and life. Our work to measure how climate shapes landscapes helps give us an idea of what to expect as we continue to change Earth’s climate.

Taylor Perron

Key Awards & Honors

  • 2021 • MacArthur Fellowship
  • 2014 • James B. Macelwane Medal, American Geophysical Union
  • 2014 • Fellow, American Geophysical Union

Key Publications

  • Stokes, M.F., D. Kim, S.F. Gallen, E. Benavides, B.P. Keck, J. Wood, S.L.Goldberg, I.J. Larsen, J.M. Mollish, J.W. Simmons, T.J. Near, and J.T. Perron (2023). Erosion of heterogeneous rock drives diversification of Appalachian fishes. Science 380, 855-859. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.add9791.

  • Deal, E.A., J.G. Venditti, S.J. Benavides, R. Bradley, Q. Zhang, K. Kamrin, and J.T. Perron (2023). Grain shape effects in bed load sediment transport. Nature 613, 298–302. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05564-6.

  • Birch, S.P.D., G. Parker, P.M. Corlies, J.M. Soderblom, J.W. Miller, R.V. Palermo, J.M. Lora, A.D. Ashton, A.G. Hayes, and J.T. Perron (2023). Reconstructing river flows remotely on Earth, Titan, and Mars. PNAS 120 (29) e2206837120. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2206837120.