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Earth Systems Science


The Earth Systems Science group studies the biophysical environment as an integrated system emphasizing the linkages and feedbacks between terrestrial, aquatic and
atmospheric form and function. We focus on the interactions between the structure and composition of the earth's surface, its soils, vegetation and water bodies as well as the atmosphere, with those processes that actively cycle energy and material through them. We consider human society, through the activity of individuals and institutions, to be integral components of the earth system. Teaching and research focus on the roles of vegetation/climate interactions, the distribution and dynamics of water in the earth system, ecosystem cycling, and the interactions of human society in modifying the earth’s surface, including land use/land cover change.

Departmental research includes projects that examine: watershed systems in Baltimore, MD; nutrient loading and transport in the Neuse River basin of NC, population and land use change in Northeastern Thailand and in Northeastern Ecuador; rivers, dams, stream ecology, and geomorphology in the US and Turkey, and the atmospheric patterns associated with precipitation. Research projects employ the techniques and technologies of earth science extending from field measurement to computer simulation. GIScience and remote sensing – focused on understanding and measuring the nature, scale, process, and pattern of the human environment and human modifications of the environment -- play an important role in these projects and in student training.

Faculty members and students work closely with various units including the curriculum in Ecology, Carolina Environmental Program (CEP) and the Carolina Population Center (CPC).



Associated Faculty

Larry Band, Xiaodong Chen, Chip Konrad, Aaron Moody, Diego Riveros-Iregui, Conghe Song, Steve Walsh, Erika Wise.





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