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Environmental Science

Environmental Science Students


Kiho Kim and 17 years of award-winning students.

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Our program trains students to become effective advocates for the environment. The curriculum consists of rigorous science- and policy-based courses and experiential learning that prepare our students for exciting careers in the environmental field. The program offers undergraduate (BA/BS) and graduate (MS) degrees, and a certificate (CERT) in environmental assessment.

At a time when the United States federal government appears indifferent to, or even hostile towards, responsible and forward-looking environmental stewardship, the Department of Environmental Science recommits itself to advancing informed, knowledge-based approaches to confronting local and global environmental concerns.

There has never been a time when environmental science has been of greater importance to developing a sustainable future.

Environmental Science Announcements

Faculty & Student News

Selected publications by students and faculty:

Sergio Morales (Environmental Science) and Jennah McDonald (Biology), were part of the SEA Semester voyage that discovered good news regarding coral health in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) last month. Their discovery was featured in yesterday's New York Times. Accompanied by 21 other undergraduates, SEA Semester faculty, and researchers from the New England Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Sergio and Jennah gathered data on the health of the islands’ coral reef ecosystem in order to recommend policy implementations to the PIPA management office in Kiribati - all while sailing as active crewmembers aboard a tall ship research vessel.

Leonardo da Costa Sousa, Mingjie Jin, Shishir Chundawat, Vijay Bokade, Xiaoyu Tang, Ali Azarpira, Fachuang Lu, Utku Avci, James Humpula, Nirmal Uppugundla, Christa Gunawan, Sivakumar Pattathil, Albert Cheh, Ninad Kothari, Rajeev Kumar, John Ralph, Michael G. Hahn, Charles E. Wyman, Seema Singh, Blake A. Simmons, Bruce E. Dale and Venkatesh Balan, (2016) Next-generation ammonia pretreatment enhances biofuel production from biomass via simultaneous cellulose decrystallization and lignin extraction.  Energy & Environmental Science 9, 1215-1223  

James F. Humpula, Nirmal Uppugundla, Xiaoyu Tang, Ramin Vismeh, Leonardo Sousa, Shishir P. S. Chundawat, A. Daniel Jones, Venkatesh Balan, Bruce E. Dale and Albert M. Cheh, (2014) Probing the nature of AFEX-pretreated corn stover derived decomposition products that inhibit cellulase activity, Bioresource Technology, 152, 38-45 

Roger Cooke, Alexander Golub, Bruce A. Wielicki, David F. Young, Martin G. Mlynczak & Rosemary R. Baize. 2016. Using the social cost of carbon to value earth observing systems. Climate Policy DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2015.1110109

Gardner, J.R., T.R. Fisher, T.E. Jordan and K.L. Knee. 2016. Balancing watershed nitrogen budgets: accounting for biogenic gases in streams. Biogeochemistry, in press. This article was profiled in Shorelines, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's blog.

Kim K (2016) Diseases of Octocorals. Pp 410–415, in Diseases of Corals. C Woodley et al. (eds) Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken NJ

Kraeer K (G), L Arneson, SE MacAvoy. 2014. "The intraspecies relationship between tissue turnover and metabolic rate in rats." Ecological Research 29(5): 937-947.

Kim K & K Rypien (2016) Aspergillosis of Caribbean Sea Fan Corals, Gorgonia spp. Pp 236–241, in Diseases of Corals. C Woodley et al. (eds) Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken NJ

MacAvoy SE, Katie Plank, Sydney Mucha and Glenn Williamson. 2016. Effectiveness of foam-based green surfaces in reducing nitrogen and suspended solids in an urban installation. Ecological Engineering 91: 257-264

Pondell, C.R, A.J. Beck, E.A. Canuel, and S.A. Kuehl. (2015) Using plutonium isotopes to date sediment horizons in coarse sediments from Englebright Lake, California (USA). Aquatic Geochemistry 22(2): 97-115. DOI:10.1007/s10498-015-9279-6.

Wang J, Kim K, Ofiara D, Zhao Y, Bera A, Lohmann R & MC Baker (2016) Chapter 25: Marine Debris. Pp. 698–731 in Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea

Connor NC (G), Sarraino S (G), Frantz D (U), Bushaw-Newton K, MacAvoy SE. 2014. "Geochemical characteristics of an urban river: influences of an anthropogenic landscape." Applied Geochemistry 47:209-216.

Redding JE (G), RL Myers-Miller, DM Baker, M Fogel, LJ Raymundo, K Kim. 2013. "Link between sewage-derived nitrogen pollution and coral disease severity in Guam." Marine Pollution Bulletin 73: 57-63.

Kim K, S Morawski (U). 2012. "Quantifying the impact of going trayless in a university dining hall." Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 7:482-486.

Note: Graduate students are marked with (G) and undergraduate students are marked with (U).


Faculty news

2015 NOAA – Fisheries Habitat Conservation Program Office, Resource Inventory, Resilience, and Historical Change of Reef: Flat Communities Within the Manell-Geus Watershed, Guam’s Habitat Focus Area (Kim K Co-PI, $58,988)

“Award for Excellence in Master’s Student Mentoring 2015-2016” AU Vice Provost Office (MacAvoy).

Dr. Kim was quoted in the Associated Press article "What's in 90 percent of seabirds' guts? 1 word: Plastics"

Dr. Knee's autobiographical sketch recently appeared in "Women in Oceanography: A Decade Later", a special issue of the journal Oceanography. This issue focuses on the strides woman have made in the field of oceanography, the challenges they continue to face, and their diverse life stories and fields of research.

Dr. Brakel was appointed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray in August 2014 to represent the District of Columbia on the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin. The Commission, established in 1940, promotes regional and interstate cooperation to enhance, protect and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River and its tributaries.

Dr. Cheh and colleagues published a paper titled “Probing the nature of AFEX-pretreated corn stover derived decomposition products that inhibit cellulase activity” in the journal Bioresource Technology, 152, 38-45 (2014).

Dr. Macavoy, as reported in ABC News Video, uses grant funding to install green roofs at fire stations.

Video: A Look Inside Environmental Science

Environmental science student Nicole Condon

Faculty and students discuss what sets the environmental science program apart.

Watch Video