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.

Course Lists

CNHS Faculty





Beier, Colin M.forest ecosystem and landscape ecology, social-ecological systems, climate change, ecosystem services, landscape change modeling, resilience, adaptive management, resource governance, applied geoinformaticscbeier@esf.edu311 Bray Hall
Diemont, Stewartsystems ecology, ecological engineering, traditional ecological knowledge, ecosystem restoration, sustainability analysis, natural wastewater treatment systems and re-use, lesser-developed countries, 246 Illick Hall
Dölle, Klauspulp & 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 416 Walters Hall
Endreny, Theodore A.water resources engineering, ecological engineering, stream restoration, urban watersheds, lesser-developed countrieste@esf.edu404 Baker Laboratory
Gibbs, Jamesherpetology, 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 405 Illick Hall
Hirsch, Paul D.integrative thinking and problem-solving, water planning, biodiversity conservation, science-policy interface, environmental thought and ethics, policy analysis, public participation and decision-making, environmental valuation, complexity, participant-observation and survey methods, discourse analysis, environmental policy, climate governance, policy science 114 Marshall Hall
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
Kelleher, Michael resources, applied economics, energy markets, sustainability, renewable energy, energy and environmental policy, financial analysis, energy efficiency, decision-makingmkellehe@esf.edu203 Bray Hall
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 systemscnkroll@syr.edu424 Baker Laboratory
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, modelingklimburg@esf.edu249 Illick Hall
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-makingvluzadis@esf.edu106 Marshall Hall
Mao, Huitingenvironmental chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, air quality, regional to global budgets of trace gases, long range transport, continental export, climate 420 Jahn Laboratory
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 113 Marshall Hall
Nomura, Christopher T.biochemistry, polymer chemistry, biopolymer chemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, energy, biodegradable plastics, microarray 318 Jahn Laboratory
Feldpausch-Parker, Andrea M.environmental communication; science and technology communication; wildlife conservation and policy; climate change mitigation and adaptation discourse and decision-making; environmental advocacy; environmental and natural resources conflict management; qualitative and critical methods; program evaluation methods; conflict; public participation; energy;wildlife 108A Marshall Hall
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 analysisljquack@esf.edu416 Baker Laboratory
Rickard, Laura N.environmental communication, risk communication, science communication, health communication, qualitative & mixed methods, survey research, message design & testing, public health, national parks, risk managementlrickard@esf.edu108B Marshall Hall
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 specieskschulz@syr.edu456 Illick Hall
Selfa, Theresaenvironmental sociology, rural sociology, sociology of agriculture, sociology of development, political sociology, qualitative methods, comparative-historical methods, biofuels, land use planning, water policy and 109 Marshall Hall
Shaw, Stephen B.hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, ecohydrology in a changing climate, water resources, climate change, hydrology, systems modeling, stormwater managementsbshaw@esf.edu418 Baker Laboratory
Stella, John C.riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restorationstella@esf.edu344 Illick Hall
Vidon, Philippe G.Stream Restoration, Ecological Engineering, Riparian Zone and Watershed Management, Water Quality, Riparian Zone/Watershed Biogeochemistry and Hydrology, Best Management Practices, Surface and Subsurface Hydrology, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Mercury, Carbon Cycling, Greenhouse Gases (N2O, CO2, CH4). 309 Bray Hall
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 346 Illick Hall
Yanai, Ruth D.forest ecology, watershed ecology, soils, biogeochemistry, forest health, ecological modeling, watershed management, ecosystem nutrient cycling, 210 Marshall Hall

Graduate Students in Coupled Natural and Human Systems


Current Students

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

Ali AlshehriAli Alshehri

Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Moran

Cheryl BondiCheryl Bondi

ESC Water & Wetland Resource Studies

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Beier
Undergraduate Institute: Salem State College (Biology)

Previous Graduate Study: Humboldt State University (Biology )

Graduate Research Topic
My dissertation research focuses on the role of Calcium in northern hardwood forest floor ecology. I am studying community structure and trophic interactions between snails, arthropods and terrestrial salamanders in forests with varying levels of available Calcium in the organic soil horizon. In a landscape that has undergone historically high levels of acid deposition, this research will provide insight into the effects that Calcium leaching may have on the leaf litter fauna and bottom up processes in northeastern forests.

Alaina MalletteAlaina Mallette

Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Hirsch
Undergraduate Institute: Syracuse University (Geography)

Personal Statement
Coming from Northern New York, I have grown up with the Adirondacks and many lakes, rivers, and streams right in my backyard. So, it is no surprise that I ended up at ESF, and as a Geographer no surprise that I am in CNHS. I am interested in the human-environment interface, issues of governance surrounding water resources and environmental conflict, and what role GIS plays in this schema.

Favorite Quote
"Be the change you wish to see in the world..." -Mahatma Gandhi

Alexandre PoissonAlexandre Poisson

Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Hall

Braulio QuinteroBraulio Quintero

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, ecological modeling, and renewable energy resources policy. I am also interested in remote sensing and its application to renewable energy resources issues.

Graduate Research Topic
Coupled Human and Natural Systems

Favorite Quote
Seamos realistas y hagamos lo imposible (Let us be realists and do the impossible)-- E. Guevara

Carlos Ramirez PascualliCarlos Ramirez Pascualli

Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Hall
Undergraduate Institute: University of Nacional Autonoma Mexico (Industrial Engineeri)

Previous Graduate Study: El Colegio de Mexico (Economics )

Research Interest
My research interest is to develop alternatives to neoliberal economic thought (free market individualism) and neoclassical economic theory (utilitarian marginalism) based on dialogue between systems theory, ecological economics, and the political economy of natural resources.

Graduate Research Topic
The historical relation between petroleum and economic development in Mexico from an entropic perspective

Nathan SleightNathan Sleight

Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Volk
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF (Environmental Science)

Personal Statement
My academic interests are in the field of environmentally sustainable production and use of energy resources. Humanity has the job to be good stewards of the marvelous planet we have been given. Ensuring the health of both the human and natural environments will lead to the benefit and continuation of both.

Graduate Research Topic
Yield from Willow Short Rotation Coppice Biomass Systems

Favorite Quote
"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" - Jesus

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