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Faculty Profile
Richard Ross Shaker

Richard  Shaker

Assistant Professor

Orange horizontal rule

323 Bray Hall



  • Ph.D., Geography (Sustainable Development, Landscape Ecology, Spatial Analysis), University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2011
  • M.Sc., Geography (Landscape & Aquatic Ecology), University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2007
  • CAS., Geographic Information Systems, Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2005
  • B.Sc., Geography (Honors; Earth Science), University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, 2004

Research Interests

Dr. Richard Ross Shaker's applied and solution-focused research is in the realm of human-landscape coevolution, sustainable development, and global ecology. As Homo sapiens continues to stretch the Earth beyond its biocapacity it is integral to elucidate their patterns and processes through space and time. His research group is actively studying the interactions between natural and social systems for sustainable development, environmental management, global change resilience, ecological restoration, and environmental planning purposes. Past research investigated: aquatic invasive species propagation, sustainable urbanization and design, non-point source pollution, sustainable development indices, climate change resilience, and sustainable landscape change from city to continental scales. Past study areas include: Adirondack Park, New York City, Toronto, Ontario’s Mixedwood Plains, Moldova, Europe, Americas, Africa, and Asia. Dr. Shaker's applied research remains primarily in the environmental sphere of sustainability, while theoretically at the nexus of evolutionary science, feedback mechanisms, learning and behavior change, planning and policy responses.

  • Environmental & sustainability indicators

  • Sustainable development

  • Landscape ecology

  • Global change

  • Landscape planning

  • Ecological restoration

  • Resilience

  • Applied statistics

  • Applied geoinformatics

  • Spatial analysis & modeling

Teaching Specialities

Geospatial Technology/Geographic Information Systems(GIS); Physical Geography; Weather & Climate; Natural Hazards; Environmental Planning & Policy; Water Resources Planning & Management; Conservation of Natural Resources; Measuring Environment & Sustainability; Ecological Restoration; Applied Statistics; Applied Geoinformatics; Spatial Analysis & Modeling; Research & Writing 

Prospective Students

Dr. Shaker's research team is deeply engaged in improving relationships between life-supporting environmental systems and human societies. Their aim is to advance sustainable development objectives, promote effective human-environmental management strategies, enhance resilience against global changes, and drive innovative approaches in ecological restoration, environmental planning, and spatial and sustainability sciences. Dr. Shaker's research team investigates a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from predicting the spread of aquatic invasive species to assessing sustainable landscape design strategies.

Future research topics or ongoing studies include: 

  • Predicting aquatic invasion in Adirondack lakes
  • Wetland restoration; suitability modeling and mapping 
  • Reforestation and afforestation; suitability modeling and mapping
  • Renewable Energy; suitability modeling and mapping 
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) applications in environmental management
  • New York State Bioeconomy Benchmark Initiative 
  • Sustainable urbanization across spatial scales
  • 7 +/-2: Cross-country index of sustainable development (190+ countries) 
  • Collective animal behavior modeling and applications
  • Artificial intelligence (AI), quantitative methods, and spatial modeling
  • Threshold of effects on biogeochemical systems from landscape designs
  • HIPPO: habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution, population, and overharvesting
  • Biosphere integrity indices
  • Synergies and trade-offs of sustainable development in the United States
  • Meeting the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of New York State
  • Full country assessment of sustainable development (Developing Nations focus)
  • Syracuse Pulse: City-scale sustainable development assessment and visualization tool

Overall, Dr. Shaker's teaching philosophy is grounded in: 1) fostering collaborative student-teacher relationships and interactions; 2) mentoring through inspiring students’ interests and encouraging intellectual growth; 3) providing students a positive and meaningful learning environment; 4) developing critical thinking and reflective learning; 5) promoting novel technology and methods; and 6) reinforcing scientific theory through applied research. 

Please send Dr. Shaker an email for more information or to set up some time to chat.

Representative Publications (*denotes advisee)

Shaker, R. R., & *Mackay, B. R. (2021). Hidden patterns of sustainable development in Asia with underlying global change correlations. Ecological Indicators131, 108227. link

*Medland, S. J., Shaker, R. R., Forsythe, K. W., *Mackay, B. R., & Rybarczyk, G. (2020). A multi-criteria wetland suitability index for restoration across Ontario’s mixedwood plains. Sustainability12(23), 9953. link

Shaker, R. R., Aversa, J., *Papp, V., *Serre, B. M., & *Mackay, B. R. (2020). Showcasing relationships between neighborhood design and wellbeing Toronto indicators. Sustainability12(3), 997. link

Shaker, R. R., *Altman, Y., Deng, C., Vaz, E., & Forsythe, K. W. (2019). Investigating urban heat island through spatial analysis of New York City streetscapes. Journal of cleaner production233, 972-992.

Shaker, R. R. (2018). A mega-index for the Americas and its underlying sustainable development correlations. Ecological indicators89, 466-479.

*Brown, C., Shaker, R. R., & Das, R. (2018). A review of approaches for monitoring and evaluation of urban climate resilience initiatives. Environment, development and sustainability20, 23-40.

Shaker, R. R. (2018). Examining sustainable landscape function across the Republic of Moldova. Habitat International72, 77-91.

Shaker, R. R., *Yakubov, A. D., Nick, S. M., Vennie-Vollrath, E., Ehlinger, T. J., & Forsythe, K. W. (2017). Predicting aquatic invasion in Adirondack lakes: a spatial analysis of lake and landscape characteristics. Ecosphere8(3), e01723. link

*Brown, C., Shaker, R.R., Gorgolewski, M., *Papp, V., & *Alkins, S. (2016). Urban resilience in Canada: Research priorities and best practices for climate resilience in cities. [Technical Report]. Toronto Metropolitan University, pp. 1-39. SSHRC of Canada. Grant No. 421-2015-1037. Available at RShare Digital Repository: link

Shaker, R. R., & Sirodoev, I. G. (2016). Assessing sustainable development across Moldova using household and property composition indicators. Habitat International55, 192-204.

Shaker, R. R. (2015). The well-being of nations: an empirical assessment of sustainable urbanization for Europe. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology22(5), 375-387.

Shaker, R. R. (2015). The spatial distribution of development in Europe and its underlying sustainability correlations. Applied Geography63, 304-314.

Shaker, R. R., & *Zubalsky, S. L. (2015). Examining patterns of sustainability across Europe: A multivariate and spatial assessment of 25 composite indices. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology22(1), 1-13.

Shaker, R. R., & Ehlinger, T. J. (2014). Exploring non-linear relationships between landscape and aquatic ecological condition in southern Wisconsin: A GWR and ANN approach. International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR)5(4), 1-20.

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Current Graduate Advisees

Mahsa MoradiradMahsa Moradirad

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Shaker
  • Area of Study: Forest Resources Management