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Coupled Natural and Human Systems

GPES Areas of Study

Leader: Colin Beier

The Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNHS) area of study fosters interdisciplinary research and scholarship that explicitly integrates the social and biophysical dimensions of environmental issues using a systems approach.

Our research addresses the challenges of sustaining natural and social capital during the Anthropocene—the current era in which humans shape all major Earth system processes. Drawing on diverse backgrounds, CNHS students and faculty recognize humans as integral components of ecosystems and seek to understand their interactions and dynamics of change at multiple scales. Faculty mentors form collaborative and cross-disciplinary teams to advise CNHS students based on their wide range of expertise and experiences. An emphasis is placed on research and graduate training experience with applications to emerging sustainability issues in real-world settings.

  • Leaf litterfall is an important flux of carbon, energy, and nutrients in forested ecosystems—a field crew carries litter baskets for installation in remote sites.

  • Craig See, MS student, prepares N and P fertilizer for addition to experimental forest plots in New Hampshire.

  • Summer interns counts germinants in nutrient-amended plots at the Hubbard Brook and Bartlett Experimental Forests in New Hampshire.

CNHS Faculty

Name and Interests

Address / Email

Beier, Colin M.
forest ecosystem and landscape ecology, social-ecological systems, climate change, ecosystem services, landscape change modeling, resilience, adaptive management, resource governance, applied geoinformatics
311 Bray Hall
cbeier@esf.edu
Collins, Mary B.
socio-environmental systems; environmental health inequality; environmental justice; environmental sociology; environmental risk perception; computational quantitative methods; Bayesian modeling; disproportionality; industrial pollution policy and health
113 Marshall Hall
mbcollin@esf.edu
Diemont, Stewart
systems ecology, ecological engineering, traditional ecological knowledge, Latin America, ecosystem restoration, sustainability analysis, natural wastewater treatment systems and re-use, less-developed countries, agroecology
460 Illick Hall
sdiemont@esf.edu
Dölle, Klaus
pulp & paper and related environmental topics, design, constructed wetlands,subsurface bioreactors, fossil energy, bioenergy, hydropower, water and waste water treatment, paper recycling, paper development, filler materials, energy savings, renewable energy & processes, engineering, machine & process design.
421 Walters Hall
kdoelle@esf.edu
Endreny, Theodore A.
water resources engineering, ecological engineering, stream restoration, urban watersheds, lesser-developed countries
404 Baker Laboratory
te@esf.edu
Gibbs, James
herpetology, vertebrate conservation biology, genetics and ecology in birds, reptiles and amphibians, songbirds, giant tortoise, statistics, wildlife population monitoring, galapagos islands, conservation biology, ecological monitoring, population genetics, applied demography, undergraduate conservation education
404 Illick Hall
jpgibbs@esf.edu
Horton, Thomas R.
mycorrhizal plant ecology, molecular ecology, ecology, fungal communities, mycology, fire ecology
350 Illick Hall
trhorton@esf.edu
Hussein, Rafaat M.
Risk and vulnerability assessment, analysis and management, hazardous wastes management and transport, expert & knowledge-based systems, computer simulations & database, construction, occupational, and environmental management, safety and auditing, human health
216 Baker Laboratory
rmhussei@esf.edu
Kelleher, Michael J.
energy resources, applied economics, energy markets, sustainability, renewable energy, energy and environmental policy, financial analysis, energy efficiency, decision-making
310B Bray Hall
mkellehe@esf.edu
Kroll, Charles N.
stochastic and deterministic hydrology, environmental modeling, water resource systems engineering, ecological engineering, urban forestry, drought assessment, environmental systems engineering, stochastic and deterministic modeling, risk assessment, coupled human and natural systems
424 Baker Laboratory
cnkroll@syr.edu
Leydet, Brian F.
Vector-borne disease ecology and human disease risk, vector biology, tick ecology, Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
207 Illick Hall
bfleydet@esf.edu
Limburg, Karin E.
riverine fish and estuarine ecology, fisheries ecology, watershed ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, fisheries and ecosystem science, coupled human-natural systems, biogeochemistry, fisheries ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical tracers, modeling
249 Illick Hall
klimburg@esf.edu
Luzadis, Valerie A.
ecological economics, ecosystem services, policy, social and recreational dimensions, forest management for renewable energy, watershed management, natural resources policy and values, sustainable development, renewable energy, participatory decision-making
206 Bray Hall
vluzadis@esf.edu
Mao, Huiting
environmental chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, air quality, regional to global budgets of trace gases, long range transport, continental export, climate change
121 Jahn Laboratory
hmao@esf.edu
Moran, Sharon D.
environmental policy, human dimensions of water/wastewater issues, political ecology, environment-society relations, green and innovative technologies, environmental issues in post-communist countries, qualitative research methods, gender and nature, sustainability indicators, emergent technologies, environmental justice, ethical frameworks in public policy
220 Marshall Hall
smoran@esf.edu
Newman, Lee
phytoremediation and molecular and cellular biology
248 Illick Hall
lanewman@esf.edu
Nomura, Christopher T.
biochemistry, polymer chemistry, biopolymer chemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, microbial physiology, biodegradable plastics, transcriptomics

ctnomura@esf.edu
Feldpausch-Parker, Andrea M.
environmental, science and technology communication; wildlife conservation; climate change discourse and decision-making; environmental advocacy; environmental and natural resources conflict management; qualitative, critical and program evaluation methods; public participation; energy discourse and decision-making
108A Marshall Hall
amparker@esf.edu
Parry, Dylan
Biological invasion, climate change, and conservation, primarily in the context of insects in forested ecosystems.
109 Illick Hall
dparry@esf.edu
Quackenbush, Lindi J.
geospatial information systems, spatial measurements, remote sensing and image processing, particularly focused on spatial techniques for both urban and forest classification, spatial analysis
416 Baker Laboratory
ljquack@esf.edu
Schulz, Kimberly L.
nutrient and exotic species effects on aquatic ecosystems, ecological stoichiometry, aquatic community and ecosystem ecology, bioenergetics, nutrient cycling, lower food web studies, great lakes, finger lakes, plankton, limnology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, invasive species
456 Illick Hall
kschulz@syr.edu
Selfa, Theresa
environmental sociology, sociology of food and agriculture, environmental governance, qualitative and mixed methods, social impacts of land use change, bioenergy, water policy and politics, social dimensions of payments for ecosystems services
219 Marshall Hall
tselfa@esf.edu
Shaw, Stephen B.
hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, ecohydrology in a changing climate, water resources, climate change, hydrology, systems modeling, stormwater management
418 Baker Laboratory
sbshaw@esf.edu
Stella, John C.
riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restoration, arid-land and Mediterranean ecosystems
344 Illick Hall
stella@esf.edu
Vidon, Philippe G.
Geography/Environmental Science, Surface and Subsurface Hydrology, Water Quality, Riparian Zone/Watershed Biogeochemistry and Hydrology, Agriculture, Best Management Practices, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Mercury, Carbon Cycling, Greenhouse Gases (N2O, CO2, CH4).
309 Bray Hall
pgvidon@esf.edu
Vidon, Elizabeth S.
environmental ethics and values; environmental thought and ontologies; tourism geographies/nature tourism; socio-cultural sustainability and land-use; political ecology; wilderness and environmental perception; Native American and indigenous peoples' environmental issues
108B Marshall Hall
esvidon@esf.edu
Volk, Timothy A.
silviculture, forest management for renewable energy, biomass and bioenergy, energy, agroforestry, phytoremediation, management and sustainability of short rotation woody crops, life cycle analysis, ecophysiology, international forestry
346 Illick Hall
tavolk@esf.edu
Yanai, Ruth D.
forest ecology, watershed ecology, soils, biogeochemistry, forest health, ecological modeling, watershed management, ecosystem nutrient cycling, uncertainty
210 Marshall Hall
rdyanai@syr.edu

Graduate Students in Coupled Natural and Human Systems


Only currently registered students appear—new student names are added at the start of the academic year.

Lindsey Ayers

Lindsey Ayers

lmayers@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Vidon


Adam Fix

Adam Fix

ajfix@syr.edu
ESC Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Diemont
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY Center Buffalo

Previous Graduate Study: Canisius College

Personal Statement
Adam’s research draws on methods from the humanities and social sciences to examine the formation, adoption, and transmission of environmental values. His dissertation project examines the beliefs and strategies that inform the actions of self-proclaimed “allies” of Indigenous-led environmental protection movements in North America. Since 2014, he has worked as an adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Areas of Competency
Environmental social movements; traditional ecological knowledge (TEK); religion and ecology; oral history & ethnography.



Kara Gonzales

kephelps@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Parry and Yanai


Jesse Kerns

Jesse Kerns

jekerns@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Parker
Undergraduate Institute: Suny College Fredonia


Alexandre Poisson

apoisson@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Luzadis


Yang Qiu

yqiu100@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Volk


Braulio Quintero

Braulio Quintero

baquinte@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Hall
Undergraduate Institute: University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (Biology)

Previous Graduate Study: University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (Biology )

Personal Statement
My research interest are focused in biophysical economics, econometric modeling, and data analysis. I currently work for a NGO in Puerto Rico that focuses on Social-Ecological Systems research.

Graduate Research Topic
Coupled Human and Natural Systems

Home Page
Web Link



Sri Vaishnavi Ramesh

srames02@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Volk


Cheryl Sandrow

Cheryl Sandrow

casandro@syr.edu
ESC Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Parker and Vidon


Theodora Weatherby

Theodora Weatherby

thweathe@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Vidon and Selfa


Audrey White

Audrey White

awhite03@syr.edu
Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Vidon


Yang Yang

Yang Yang

yyang100@syr.edu
FRM Ecology and Ecosystems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Yanai
Undergraduate Institute: Minzu University of China (Environmental Science)

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY-ESF (Forest and natural r)

Personal Statement
I'm interested in forest-based environmental issues that raised currently. I'm more focused on nutrient cycling and mercury pollution in forests.

Graduate Research Topic
My current project is quantifying total mercury in different tree components at four sites (Huntington Forest, NY; Sleepers River, VT; Hubbard Brook, NH; Bear Brook, ME). I am also analyzing mercury by tree rings and doing data analysis of loon Hg.




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