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Environmental Sciences

The Environmental Sciences area in the discipline of geography and the graduate group has its center in physical geography. Environmental Sciences Geography is a field of geography concerned with the relationships between between the biological and physical environment, largely encompassing the subdiscipline of physical geography, but overlapping into associated natural science disciplines and engineering. Research is focused on natural and anthropogenic earth surface patterns and the physical and ecological processes that have produced them, as well as change through time and across space. Studies are conducted from local to regional to global scales, with a considerable amount of research in the graduate group within California’s diverse landscapes. Sustainable natural resources management is of great interest, especially in the face of human population growth, land use intensification, and global climate change. Concentrations in Global Environmental Change and Landscape Architecture & Environmental Design are also available to the students.

Environmental geographers rely primarily on quantitative methods, including field work, remote sensing, GIS and affiliated modeling techniques. Research by UC Davis faculty and students is conducted in several subfields of physical geography, including biogeography, geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, and soils geography. With the great strength of the UC Davis campus in the agricultural sciences, biological sciences, engineering, and veterinary medicine, opportunities abound to build a program of course work that builds the foundation for each individual student’s training to best address their interests. Subfields within the Environmental Sciences in Geography that particularly reflect campus strengths and the strength of the Geography Graduate Group are agricultural geography, biogeography and conservation biology, environmental and natural resource management, and watershed science.

Faculty and students working in the Environmental Sciences are also affiliated with campus research units, institutes and centers such as the Bodega Marine Laboratory, the John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Natural Reserve System, the Center for Watershed Sciences, the Center for Biosystematics, the Information Center on the Environment, the Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing, etc.

Faculty for this Area of Depth

Fullname Summary Academic Interest Department
Mary Cadenasso

Investigating the effect of urbanization on plant community and nutrient dynamics and integrating ecological and social theories and urban design to enhance understanding and development of cities as sustainable coupled human-natural systems. Study exchanges of nutrients, pollutants, and organisms across landscape boundaries such as forest edges and riparian zones. Work across scales in metropolitan, semi-arid savanna and forest systems.

Urban ecosystem ecology
Elise Gornish

I conduct research in restoration ecology and invasive species management. I am particularly interested in investigating effects of management across spatial scales.

Plant Sciences
Steven Greco

Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology

Human Ecology
Lynette Hart

Animal Behaviors, Sociology
(Companion Animal, Laboratory Animal, Elephants, Antelopes)
Environmental and Natural Resource Geography

Population Health & Reproduction
Rebecca Hernandez

arid and semiarid ecosystems; biogeochemistry; biogeography; carbon cycling; climate change; data mining; deserts; drones; earth system science; environmental sensors; geography of energy; geospatial data and technologies; global ecology; invasion ecology; land-use and land-cover change; mycorrhizal fungi; plant-soil interactions; soil ecology; solar energy; sustainability; and wind energy

Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/theHernandezLab

Land Air and Water Resources
Robert Hijmans

Ecological modeling, geo-informatics, agricultural geography, biodiversity conservation, climate change

Environmental Science and Policy
Yufang Jin

Remote sensing of terrestrial ecosystems, fire disturbance, ecohydrology, biogeochemical cycle, climate change, and GIS.

Land Air and Water Resources
Carl Keen

Teratology and birth defects; North America, southeast Asia

Pete Klimley

Movements of fishes, sharks, and marine mammals relative to their social and physical environments; ultrasonic, radio, and satellite telemetry; mechanisms of orientation
and migration

Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
Eric Larsen

Fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, watersheds, North America

Human Ecology
Frank Loge

Design and function of sustainable urban systems; landscape ecology related to fisheries management; ecology of infectious diseases; interconnection between water and energy systems.

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jay R. Lund

Resource management and planning, water resources, urban geography

Civil and Environmental Engineering
E. Greg McPherson

Urban forestry

Center for Urban Forest Research
Brett Milligan

Infrastructural studies and socio-technical systems; scenario planning; industrial ecology and radically altered environments; Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; rewilding; dredge landscapes and maritime infrastructure; spatial modeling and geomatics, including the application of drones (UAVs) and photogrammetry; theory of landscape change

Human Ecology
N. Claire Napawan

Design of the built environment and investigating the roles in which landscapes might adapt to provide ever-increasing productive and infrastructural programs to the global city, given economic, social, and environmental changes within urban development, including population growth and climate change

Human Ecology
Debbie Niemeier

Transportation Planning; civil infrastructure and implications for LDC's

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lorence R. Oki

Environmental horticulture and water quality

Human Ecology
Hugh Safford

Community and landscape ecology, fire ecology, restoration ecology and biogeography.

Environmental Science and Policy
Mark Schwartz

taxonomic and geographical aspects of conservation biology

Environmental Science and Policy
Arthur Shapiro

Evolution, population dynamics; North-South America

Evolution and Ecology
Kenneth W. Tate

Rangeland Watershed Specialist

Plant Sciences
James Thorne

Biogeography, conservation biology, and ecology. Regions of experience include California & the US West, British Columbia, Alaska, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina

Environmental Science and Policy
Susan Ustin

Geographic information systems (GIS); North America

Land Air and Water Resources
Truman Young

Restoration ecology; African savannas

Plant Sciences
Minghua Zhang

Environmental modeling, GIS, risk analysis, agriculture, North America

Land Air and Water Resources