José A. Constantine

José Antonio Constantine

Assistant Professor of Geosciences

413-597-3298
Clark Hall Rm 303
At Williams since 2016

Education

B.S. College of William and Mary (1999)
M.S. University of California, Davis (2002)
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara (2008)

Areas of Expertise

Geomorphology and Environmental Justice

Scholarship/Creative Work

I am the son of an immigrant and the first person in my family to go to college.  I had a general interest in the natural environment, but it was not until I had the opportunity to do research as an undergraduate (REU Internship) that I fell head over heels for science.  I was blown away by the discovery that our planet changes in significant and observable ways each and every day, and I was hungry to learn why.

I have since devoted most of my scholarship to fluvial geomorphology, where I try to answer questions that might unlock the mysteries of how rivers reshape the landscape.  Tropical rivers have been a special focus, but I have also been fascinated by our attempts to tame the Mississippi River, North America’s largest and arguably most important river.

My curiosity with the Mississippi led me to Walter Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams, which changed my perspective of river management.  In the lower Mississippi, river processes have been curtailed for the benefit of an agricultural economy that depends on the subjugation of people.  Once this connection was made, I became committed to scholarship and activism in environmental justice, which has led to impactful collaborations with colleagues in Africana Studies, Environmental Studies, and Chemistry.  Our current work involves partnerships with communities in Illinois and Florida facing sustained flooding, contamination, and injustice.

My experience of research as an undergraduate literally changed the course of my life.  As a result, I’m always excited to involve students in my work and to help them design projects that reflect their own curiosities.  If you’re at all interested in geomorphology and environmental justice, please get in touch.

My Current Research Students and Their Projects:

  • Ruby Bagwyn (’23) – Government Incompetence and the Needless Poisoning of Tallevast, Florida
  • Molly Lohss (’21) – Air Quality and the Legacies of Environmental Injustice in Tallevast, Florida
  • Michael Armstrong (’21) – Assessing the Controls on Water and Habitat Quality of the Green River, Massachusetts

Recent Papers (*denotes student author).  Full publication list on Google Scholar.

  1. *Qin, Y., Alves, T.M., Constantine, J.A., Gamboa, D., 2020, Effect of channel tributaries on the evolution of submarine channel confluences (Espírito Santo Basin, SE Brazil). GSA Bulletin, v. 132, p. 263-272 (https://doi.org/10.1130/B35082.1).
  2. *Nagle-McNaughton, T., Gong, X., Constantine, J.A., 2019, Implications of the modifiable areal unit problem for wildfire analysis. Advances in Biology & Earth Sciences, v. 4, p. 150-175.
  3. *Ahmed, J., Constantine, J.A., Dunne, T., 2019, The role of sediment supply in the adjustment of channel sinuosity across the Amazon basin. Geology, v. 47, p. 807-810 (https://doi.org/10.1130/G46319.1).
  4. *Horton, A.J., Lazarus, E.D., Hales, T.C., Constantine, J.A., Bruford, M.W., Goossens, B., 2018, Can riparian forest buffers increase yields from oil palm plantations? Earth’s Future, v. 6, p. 1082-1096 (https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EF000874).
  5. *Horton, A.J., Constantine, J.A., Hales, T.C., Goosens, B., Lazarus, E.D., 2017, Modification of river meandering caused by tropical deforestation. Geology, v. 45, p. 511-514 (doi: 10.1130/G38740.1).

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

NSF Award 2026789: Invisible Floods on the Mississippi River Floodplain: Unravelling the Causes of Urban Flooding in a Community-Centered Approach to Geomorphology ($135,071; 1 Aug 2020 to 31 July 2022).

Environmental Studies Advisory Committee (2020-2021)

Science & Technology Studies Advisory Committee (2020-2021)