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From the Environmental Studies Program website

The University of Kansas Environmental Studies Program, established in 1971, is one of the oldest environmental studies programs in the country. It is an interdisciplinary program, offering talent and resources from diverse areas of expertise. The program provides students with the tools they need to investigate environmental phenomena, including anything from soil sampling and freshwater ecology to policy-making and social science.

The Environmental Studies Program has two major goals:

  • To provide a holistic view of the environment, one that recognizes the myriad of influences on the world in which we live.
  • To provide the technical skills and background for active participation in an environmental career.

The various departments that comprise the Environmental Studies include:

In addition to these departments, Environmental Studies often collaborates with the School of Journalism, Urban Planning, and other academic centers across campus.

**NEW**Environmental Studies Program is the academic home of KU's Integrative Graduate Education, Research and Traineeship (IGERT) Program on Climate Change. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation for the next several years. Several faculty from Environmental Studies participate in the program by team-teaching graduate-level seminars with other faculty from departments across the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professional Schools. Dr. Joane Nagel, a KU Distinguished Professor of Sociology, is the head of this exciting initiative along with David Braaten, Geography & Deputy Director, Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, Leonard Krishtalka, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology & Director, Biodiversity Institute, A. Townsend Peterson, University Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology & Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute, and Daniel Wildcat, American Indian Studies, Haskell Indian Nations University & Director, Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Center.

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  • Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Taxa Show Variable Patterns of Micro-Scale Dispersal in Prairie Restorations 

    Tipton, Alice G.; Nelsen, Donald; Koziol, Liz; Duell, Eric B.; House, Geoffrey; Wilson, Gail W. T.; Schultz, Peggy A.; Bever, James D. (Frontiers Media, 2022-07-22)
    Human land use disturbance is a major contributor to the loss of natural plant communities, and this is particularly true in areas used for agriculture, such as the Midwestern tallgrass prairies of the United States. ...
  • Rebuild the Academy: Supporting academic mothers during COVID-19 and beyond 

    Fulweiler, Robinson W.; Davies, Sarah W.; Biddle, Jennifer F.; Burgin, Amy J.; Cooperdock, Emily H. G.; Hanley, Torrance C.; Kenkel, Carly D.; Marcarelli, Amy M.; Matassa, Catherine M.; Mayo, Talea L.; Santiago-Vàzquez, Lory Z.; Traylor-Knowles, Nikki; Ziegler, Maren (Public Library of Science, 2021-03-09)
    The issues facing academic mothers have been discussed for decades. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is further exposing these inequalities as womxn scientists who are parenting while also engaging in a combination of ...
  • Building Community Resilience: A Proactive, Measurable, Scalable, and Comprehensive Resilience Planning and Forecasting Model 

    Schulte, Scott A.; Fannin-Hughes, Ian J.; Byers, Heather M. (University of Kansas, 2021-11-30)
    Historically, community resilience planning has been disaster-focused, reactive, and left little room to build increased sustainability to face exponentially increasing climate change impacts. Defining sustainability and ...
  • Seasonal Salinization Decreases Spatial Heterogeneity of Sulfate Reducing Activity 

    Schoepfer, Valerie A.; Burgin, Amy J.; Loecke, Terrance D.; Helton, Ashley M. (MDPI, 2019-04-02)
    Evidence of sulfate input and reduction in coastal freshwater wetlands is often visible in the black iron monosulfide (FeS) complexes that form in iron rich reducing sediments. Using a modified Indicator of Reduction in ...
  • Reply to Wassmann et al.: More data at high sampling intensity from medium- and intense-intermittently flooded rice farms is crucial 

    Kritee, Kritee; Rudek, Joseph; Proville, Jeremy; Adhya, Tapan K.; Loecke, Terrance D.; Nair, Drishya; Ahuja, Richie; Hamburg, Steven P. (National Academy of Sciences, 2019-01-22)
    Here, we briefly respond to critique of our study (1) by Wassmann et al. (2). A detailed response to their letter is available online (
  • Mesophilic microorganisms build terrestrial mats analogous to Precambrian microbial jungles 

    Finke, N.; Simister, R. L.; O’Neil, A. H.; Nomosatryo, S.; Henny, C.; MacLean, L. C.; Canfield, D. E.; Konhauser, K.; Lalonde, S. V.; Fowle, David Allan; Crowe, S. A. (Nature Research, 2019-09-20)
    Development of Archean paleosols and patterns of Precambrian rock weathering suggest colonization of continents by subaerial microbial mats long before evolution of land plants in the Phanerozoic Eon. Modern analogues for ...
  • Mato Grosso, Brazil, ground reference data for crop years 2005-2013 (Dataset) 

    Kastens, Jude H.; Brown, J. Christopher; Coutinho, Alexandre Camargo; Bishop, Christopher R.; Esquerdo, Júlio César D. M. (2017)
    The points associated with ‘ground reference set 1’ and ‘ground reference set 2’ identify fields where agricultural cover information was obtained by Embrapa through farmer interviews. The points associated with ‘supplemental ...
  • Spatiotemporal predictions of soil properties and states in variably saturated landscapes 

    Franz, Trenton E.; Loecke, Terrance D.; Burgin, Amy J.; Zhou, Yuzhen; Le, Tri; Moscicki, David (American Geophysical Union, 2017-06-19)
    Understanding greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes from landscapes with variably saturated soil conditions is challenging given the highly dynamic nature of GHG fluxes in both space and time, dubbed hot spots, and hot moments. On ...
  • Highway Infrastructure, Protected Areas, and Orchid Bee Distribution and Conservation in the Brazilian Amazon 

    Oliveira, Marcio Luiz de; Brown, John C.; Moreira, Marcelo P. (Scientific Research Publishing, 2017-07-28)
    Scientists regularly lament that development and habitat destruction in once isolated and distant areas are promoting species extinction before species can even be known by science. In the Brazilian Amazon, the government’s ...
  • Evidence for the Paleoethnobotany of the Neanderthal: A Review of the Literature 

    Shipley, Gerhard P.; Kindscher, Kelly (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2016-09-29)
    Our perception of our closest human relatives, the Neanderthals, has evolved in the last few decades from brutish ape-men to intelligent archaic human peoples. Our understanding and appreciation of their cultural sophistication ...
  • The role of interface organizations in science communication and understanding 

    Osmond, Deanna L.; Nadkarni, Nalini M.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Andrews, Elaine; Gold, Arthur J.; Broussard Allred, Shorna R.; Berkowitz, Alan R.; Klemens, Michael W.; Loecke, Terrance D.; McGarry, Mary Ann (Ecological Society of America, 2010-08-01)
    “Interface” organizations are groups created to foster the use of science in environmental policy, management, and education. Here we compare interface organizations that differ in spatial scale, modes of operation, and ...
  • Gila River Flow Needs Assessment 

    Gori, David; Sooper, Martha S.; Soles, Ellen S.; Stone, Mark; Morrison, Ryan; Turner, Thomas F.; Propst, David L.; Grafin, Gregg; Kindscher, Kelly (Western New Mexico University, 2016-02)
    The Nature Conservancy and a team of 14 academic partners (the project team) received funding from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program and the Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative in 2012 to conduct this ...
  • Nitrous oxide emission from denitrification in stream and river networks 

    Beaulieu, Jake J.; Tank, Jennifer L.; Hamilton, Stephen K.; Wollheim, Wilfred M.; Hall, Robert O.; Burgin, Amy J. (National Academy of Sciences, 2011-11-11)
    Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone destruction. Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) loading to river networks is a potentially important source of N2O via ...
  • Have we overemphasized the role of denitrification in aquatic ecosystems? A review of nitrate removal pathways 

    Burgin, Amy J.; Hamilton, Stephen K. (Ecological Society of America, 2007-03-01)
    The removal of nitrogen (N) in aquatic ecosystems is of great interest because excessive nitrate in groundwater and surface water is a growing problem. High nitrate loading degrades water quality and is linked to eutrophication ...
  • Nitrate removal in stream ecosystems measured by 15N addition experiments: Denitrification 

    Mullholland, Patrick J.; Hall, Robert O.; Sobota, Daniel J.; Dodds, Walter K.; Findlay, Stuart E. G.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Hamilton, Stephen K.; McDowell, William H.; O'Brien, Jonathan M.; Burgin, Amy J. (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2009-05-12)
    We measured denitrification rates using a field 15NO3− tracer-addition approach in a large, cross-site study of nitrate uptake in reference, agricultural, and suburban-urban streams. We measured denitrification rates in ...
  • Nitrate removal in stream ecosystems measured by 15N addition experiments: Total uptake 

    Hall, Robert O.; Tank, Jennifer L.; Sobota, Daniel J.; Mullholland, Patrick J.; O'Brien, Jonathan M.; Dodds, Walter K.; Webster, Jackson R.; Valett, H. Maurice; Burgin, Amy J. (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2009-05-12)
    We measured uptake length of 15NO3− in 72 streams in eight regions across the United States and Puerto Rico to develop quantitative predictive models on controls of NO3− uptake length. As part of the Lotic Intersite Nitrogen ...
  • Sediment nitrate manipulation using porewater equilibrators reveals potential for N and S coupling in freshwaters 

    Payne, E. K.; Burgin, Amy J.; Hamilton, Stephen K. (Inter Research, 2009-02-24)
    Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) loading to agricultural and populated landscapes has resulted in elevated nitrate (NO3–) concentrations in ground water, streams and rivers, ultimately causing problems in coastal marine environments ...
  • Restarting the conversation: challenges at the interface between ecology and society 

    Groffman, Peter M.; Stylinski, Cathlyn; Nisbet, Matthew C.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Jordan, Rebecca; Burgin, Amy J.; Previtali, M. Andrea; Coloso, James (Ecological Society of America, 2010-08-01)
    The exchange of information between researchers, resource managers, decision makers, and the general public has long been recognized as a critical need in environmental science. We examine the challenges in using ecological ...
  • Beyond carbon and nitrogen: how the microbial energy economy couples elemental cycles in diverse ecosystems 

    Burgin, Amy J.; Yang, Wendy H.; Hamilton, Stephen K.; Silver, Whendee L. (Ecological Society of America, 2011-02-01)
    Microbial metabolism couples elemental reactions, driving biogeochemical cycles. Assimilatory coupling of elemental cycles, such as the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus cycles, occurs when these elements are ...
  • Soil O2 controls denitrification rates and N2O yield in a riparian wetland 

    Burgin, Amy J.; Groffman, Peter M. (American Geophysical Union, 2012-02-01)
    [1] Wetland soil oxygen (O2) is rarely measured, which limits our understanding of a key regulator of nitrogen loss through denitrification. We asked: (1) How does soil [O2] vary in riparian wetlands? (2) How does this ...

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