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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Geography & the Environment

Degree Programs

Geography & the Environment


Our professors have diverse research interests:

Physical Geography

Climatic water budget variability in response to global climate change in the Great Plains. Soil water balance models and GIS technology are used to explore the impacts of climate change on hydrologic conditions in the Great Plains. ( Keables)

Late Holocene drought reconstructions using Pinus aristata (Bristlecone Pine) trees in central Colorado. Living and dead bristlecone pine trees are used to investigate the duration and spatial extent of Medieval Drought in Colorado's subalpine vegetation zone. ( Kerwin)

Snow pack reconstructions near Aspen, CO over the past 300 years. Living Picea engelmannii (Engelmann Spruce) trees near Aspen Highlands are being used to investigate the natural historical record of snowfall at one of the premier ski resorts in North America. ( Kerwin)

Wildfire impacts on the fluvial system. This project is examining the hydrologic and hydrochemical effects of wildfire and stream runoff after wildfire. ( Hamann)

Snow hydrology in the Colorado Front Range. This project involves students in collecting and analyzing snowpack ablation and groundwater recharge in alpine basins using GPS and GIS. ( Hamann)

Landscape evolution and paleoenvironmental reconstruction in Portugal. Geomorphic mapping, sedimentologic analysis and pedologic evidence of landscape stability provide insight into late Quaternary environmental change and associated human occupation in coastal Estremadura. ( Daniels)

Hydrologic impacts of mountain pine beetle, Fraser Experimental Forest, Colorado. Detailed channel surveys, large wood loading and hydraulic geometry document the hydrologic and sedimentologic impacts of on-going beetle infestation and associated forest mortality in low-order subalpine streams. ( Daniels)

Methods, Models, and GIS

Hydrologic assessment methods. Hydrologic assessment methods are being developed to compare flowpaths and nutrient export in tropical forest watersheds in Panama, Borneo Malaysia and Ecuador. ( Hamann)

Measuring ecological footprints using nighttime satellite imagery. Exploring proxy measures of ecological footprints using impervious surface measures derived from global night lights data sets and population density. ( Sutton)

Estimating the value of storm protection services. Making spatially explicit estimates of the value of storm protection service (a non-marketed ecosystem service) of coastal wetlands using nighttime satellite imagery. ( Sutton)

Assessment of exurban fire risk. Identifying exurban areas of the West that are in regions of high fire risk using nighttime satellite imagery. ( Sutton)

NightSat. Exploring the potential of, and advocating for, the development of the NightSat Mission Concept: a higher spatial and spectral resolution satellite to observe the earth at night. ( Sutton)

People, Place, and Region

Guatemala?s violent legacy. This book project uses images from the Mesoamerican Studies Center in Guatemala to visually depict the violence that has sculpted Guatemala and Guatemalans. ( Taylor)

Capturing clouds for household water in Guatemala. Working with students and communities high in the Cuchumatanes Mountains of Guatemala combining community-based research with service learning to provide rural households with water in the dry months. ( Taylor)

Providing sustainable solutions to potable water in Guatemala's return refugee communities. This project uses community-based research and service learning classes to search for the best solution to provide rural households with a point of use system for potable water. ( Taylor)

Alternative sustainable livelihoods in southern Nicaragua. Working with community members we are finding ways to incorporate locals into the booming tourist economy. ( Taylor)

Migration and the land in Guatemala. Using household surveys and measurement of firewood consumption we are investigating the relationships between migration and changing patterns of natural resource consumption. ( Taylor)

Globalization and Maize Diversity in Guatemala. This project with Mike Steinberg at the University of Alabama investigates the impacts of the increase in cultivation of non traditional agricultural crops (like broccoli and snow peas) on maize diversity and maize culture among the Maya in Guatemala. ( Taylor)

Bridging the Qualitative-Quantitative Divide in Transport Geography. Re-examining recent transport-oriented research to assess the degree to which the qualitative-quantitative divide exists within transport geography and between transport and other subfields in human geography. ( Goetz)

Living In 'Aerotropolis': Attitudes of Residents Who Live in Communities Near Airports. Gauging the attitudes of residents who live near Denver International Airport (DIA) about their neighborhoods and the role of DIA in that assessment. ( Goetz)

Regional Development Impacts of Trade Corridors: Recent Experiences from the United States. Examining the general topic of the regional economic and environmental impacts of transportation corridors on nearby communities, with a specific focus on projects and plans in Colorado and the western US. ( Goetz)

Assessing Intermodal Transportation Planning at State Departments of Transportation. The practice of freight and passenger intermodal planning is assessed through analysis of previous studies, long-range and short-range plans, organizational structures, surveys, and interviews. ( Goetz)

An Evaluation Of Air-Rail Passenger Intermodal Access At United States Airports. Assessing the quality of intermodal linkages at US airports by developing and testing a typology of air-rail intermodal access. ( Goetz)

Evaluating Transit-Oriented Development in Denver. Establishing a baseline of transit-oriented development (TOD) in Denver for both the recently opened Southwest and Southeast light rail corridors as well as the new corridors proposed in the Regional Transportation District FasTracks initiative. ( Goetz)