Top of page
Skip to main content
Main content
tide_pool_study

Research


The Department of Environmental Sciences encourages and supports student research. Undergraduate students may begin exploring research as early as their first year with faculty in the department. Resources to support undergraduate research are available through departmental funding (Lester and Turner Funding Grants). 

Faculty Research

Professor Jola Ajibade

Research Group Website

Google Scholar

Research Statement: 

I am an interdisciplinary researcher focusing on the interactions between humans and the environment. My work revolves around several areas, including urban adaptation and resilience planning, climate justice, energy transitions, and local and global solutions in response to climate change.

I engage in diverse projects that encompass: 1) Equitable and transformative resilience planning to mitigate climate-related cascading disasters; 2) I investigate how historical practices such as redlining and gentrification influence urban tree-human dynamics, human health, and community resilience with the aim of undoing the legacies of inequality; 3) Building smart and connected communities. This involves the creation of a network of campus testbeds and community engagement initiatives to foster the development and implementation of innovative solutions to urban challenges; 4) Analyzing the socio-political transformations, shifting power dynamics, and justice implications, of different climate solutions, such as solar panels, electric cars, managed retreat, floating and climatopias. 5) Using climate modeling and Virtual Reality Technologies to communicate climate risks and adaptation options. 6) Advancement through access: Expanding spaces of empowerment for equity and diversity for minoritized faculty in STEM. 

I am motivated by the need to better understand how just forms of climate adaptation and equitable resilience can be achieved at the community, city, and global levels. Through my interdisciplinary approach, I strive to advance knowledge and contribute to the development of sustainable, just, and resilient communities in the face of climatic and environmental crises.

Professor Jola Ajibade

Professor Emily Burchfield

Lab Website

Publications

Research Statement: My research integrates social and environmental data to understand the distributional consequences of changing climate on humans and the environment.  I rely heavily on geospatial programming and analysis, but also integrate survey and qualitative data in my research. 

I am interested in methodological approaches that merge “big” spatiotemporal data with “deep” qualitative data to understand and support socio-environmental sustainability.

Professor Emily Burchfield

Professor Julie Clennon

Google Scholar

Research statement: I am an eco-epidemiologist with research interests focused on the spatial ecology and epidemiology of infectious diseases.   I work extensively with geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, spatial statistics (especially cluster detection) and landscape modeling.  I have worked on a variety of research projects examining the spatial and ecological associations of tropical diseases (e.g., schistosomiasis, malaria, Buruli ulcer, leprosy, Chikungunya, dengue) with environmental factors.  I, also, have experience working on issues related to urban areas such as novel infections within disadvantaged populations and adverse birth outcomes associated with industrial installations.

Professor Julie Clennon

Professor Shaunna Donaher

Research statement: We study the atmospheric boundary layer using observational data to determine how contact with the ground influences atmospheric processes. This includes wind shear, turbulence, vertical mixing, and rapid heating or cooling.

Using real-time and archived data we can understand the impacts of weather events on our local community and look at long-term trends of these impacts.

Professor Shaunna Donaher

Professor Thomas Gillespie

Lab website

Google scholar

Research statement: We examine interactions among anthropogenic environmental change; biodiversity; and the ecology and emergence of pathogens in wildlife, domestic animals, and people using diverse pathogen study systems (eukaryotic parasites, bacteria, and viruses) in Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and Latin America. This work contributes simultaneously to our understanding of two key issues:

  • Ecology and Epidemiology of Emerging Wildlife-Borne Diseases in the Tropics
  • Pathogen Introduction as a Threat to Endangered Primates
Professor Thomas Gillespie

Professor Lance Gunderson

Google scholar

Research statement: My ongoing research interests are in two major categories: 1) understanding how ecosystem processes and structures interact across space and time scales and 2) how scientific understanding influences resource policy and management. My interests are in the human and institutional dimensions to resource ecology.

Professor Lance Gunderson

Professor Xiao Huang

Lab Website

Google Scholar

Research Statement: I address existing/future challenges in a variety of interdisciplinary domains, including disasters (e.g., real-time monitoring, assessment, and mitigation), human society (e.g., human behaviors, vulnerability, and inequity), urban sciences (urban design, transportation, mobility) from Big Data and spatiotemporal perspectives. My research revolves around the utilization of emerging, innovative data sources, the development of advanced geospatial analytical frameworks, and the application of cutting-edge geospatial technologies. My primary research focuses include 1) human-environment interaction, 2) computational social sciences, 3) vulnerability and resilience, 4) urban informatics, 5) disaster mapping and mitigation, 6) GeoAI and deep learning, and 7) disaster remote sensing

My current research centers around city vision analytics, where I conducted three-dimensional (3D) analysis by building simplified 3D urban models coupled with eye-sight analytics to explore the spatial inequity of greenness and blueness visibility in urban environments. In another effort, I measured the lowest-floor elevation of houses, taking advantage of a massive number of Google Streetview imagery. The derived lowest floor elevations of houses are further coupled with different flooding water depths, leading to scalable scenario-based flood damage and vulnerability assessment.

Professor Huang is currently recruiting MS ENVS graduate students.

Professor Xiao Huang

Professor Carrie Keogh

Research Statement: My research interests are in disease ecology, marine ecology, and invasive species ecology. I’m broadly interested in how environmental change affects species interactions, and how trade-offs constrain adaptation to changing conditions.

Interactions between parasites and hosts have been a focus of my work, and I use examples from parasite ecology to illustrate a broad range of ecological concepts in my teaching.

Professor Carrie Keogh

Professor Eric Lonsdorf

Research statement: The goal of my applied research is to enable a more sustainable society by helping to incorporate the value nature provides to human well-being, also known as ecosystem services, into land management decisions and policy. To achieve this goal, I focus my work on three interrelated topics: 1) developing the ecosystem science necessary to reveal nature’s contributions to people, 2) working to understand how people value those contributions economically and intrinsically, and 3) integrating the value of nature’s contributions into decision-making.

I apply this work to agricultural and urban systems. In agricultural systems, I study the impact of crop management on ecosystem services and how to design policies and incentive programs that increase the adoption of sustainable or regenerative practices without negatively impacting food production or a farmer’s livelihood and profits. In urban systems, I study how to integrate the benefits of greenspace and green infrastructure into urban planning to create more equitable, just, and livable cities.

Professor Eric Lonsdorf

Professor Anthony Martin

Google Scholar

Research statement: My main research interest is ichnology, the study of plant and animal traces, such as tracks, trails, burrows, nests, and feces. I generate research questions such as: How does an organism’s body reflect its potential behavior, versus behaviors implied by its traces? Or, how do traces show behaviors similar to or differing from the few times we might directly observe an organism’s behavior?

Although I am mostly a paleontologist and geologist by training, I also study modern traces. This means using a comparative approach that looks at how traces are made and how they get preserved in the fossil record, and then developing hypotheses about how ancient organisms behaved in their environments. Because of my eclectic approach, I normally do a wide variety of geological and ecological field work, but I also enjoy studying museum specimens of trace fossils.

Professor Anthony Martin

Professor Megan Mucioki

Research Group Website

Goggle Scholar

Research Statement: 

I am an interdisciplinary and community engaged scholar whose research pulls from disciplines of ethnoecology, botany, plant ecology, applied anthropology, and Indigenous studies. My research aims to support environmental stewardship and care of ecocultural systems with a focus on holistic systems connected to plants in partnership with communities. In doing so, I focus on topics like environmental issues connected to food sovereignty and access to traditional foods, ecocultural restoration of biocultural systems, Indigenous horticulture and plant care, and environmental stewardship and social-ecological health and wellbeing. I work with Indigenous communities as a partner and ally using community based participatory research methods, Indigenous research methodologies, and ethics related to care, relationship, and responsibility. My work integrates research and community outreach, programming, and education to generate knowledge and information that supports community, social-cultural-ecological challenges while strengthening community assets in approaching environmental challenges they face.

Professor Megan Mucioki

Professor Eri Saikawa

Lab website

Google Scholar

Research statement: I conduct interdisciplinary research on the environment. I have worked on diverse projects that cover: 1) atmospheric chemistry (modeling aerosols and tropospheric ozone); 2) environmental health (assessing the adverse health impacts of air pollution); 3) biogeochemistry (modeling global soil nitrous oxide emissions); 4) climate science (estimating emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases), and 5) environmental policy/politics (analyzing the impacts of environmental standards and trade as well as analyzing policymaking processes).

My main research questions are related to the source and the magnitude of emissions linked to air pollution, ozone depletion and global warming, as well as the impacts of these emissions on humans and on the society. I am also interested in what policy measures are available to reduce these emissions, and how politics play a role in policymaking process.

Professor Eri Saikawa

Professor Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec

Lab website

PubMed

Research statement: Primary research areas at the ProkopecLab are disease ecology, spatial and landscape epidemiology and global health. We aim to understand the mechanisms and processes driving the spatial dynamics of vector-borne and parasitic diseases.

We study the biology and ecology of insect vectors and reservoir hosts and the relationships between vector/human behavior and pathogen transmission. We integrate data derived from field observational or experimental studies with spatially-explicit statistical and mechanistic models of pathogen transmission.

Professor Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec

Professor John Wegner

Research Statement:

  • Green building design--especially using the US Green Building Council's LEED(TM) rating system
  • Urban forest ecology
  • Aquatic ecology
  • Effects of habitat fragmentation on the abundance and distribution of animals

Professor Wegner is not currently taking any MS ENVS graduate students. Please contact our Graduate Programs Coordinator, Kim Awbrey, with any questions.

Professor John Wegner