Research

The Department of Earth & Environment is diverse in its research foci. While our faculty, researchers, and students participate in the following three research clusters, the Department is distinct in our ability to address these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective across both the natural and the social sciences.

Earth System Sciences, with focal areas in climate change, climate history, coastal marine geology, marine biogeochemistry, geomorphology, carbon cycle science, global change biology, hydrology, and land cover/land use change. Faculty research interests range from sediment dynamics of estuaries in New England, to urban heat island effects, to research cruises in the South Pacific Gyre, to the detection and attribution of climate change, to the connections among soil moisture, ground water, and atmospheric water.

Human-Environment Interactions, with focal areas in world oil markets, integrated assessment of climate change, valuation of ecosystem services, energy transitions, environmental governance, and energy policy and governance. Faculty research interests range from the impact of speculation on oil prices, to China’s political economy, to the economic impact of pollinator declines, to the management of private rural lands in the United States and Australia.

Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences, with focal areas in remote sensing and geographic information systems. Faculty research interests range from satellite monitoring of global land cover and vegetation phenology, to spatial determinants of insectivorous bat diversity in Malaysia, to remote sensing of Amazon greenness, to remote sensing of forest change and its implication on terrestrial carbon budgets.

Related Centers

The Center for Remote Sensing coordinates education and research in remote sensing applications in archaeology, geography, and the earth sciences.

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future convenes symposia and conducts interdisciplinary, policy-relevant, and future-oriented research that contributes to long-term improvements in the human condition.

Related Programs

The Terrestrial Biogeosciences Program emphasizes interdisciplinary research and coursework, focusing on the biogeochemistry and biogeophysics of terrestrial ecosystems, with faculty and students drawn from the departments of Biology and Earth & Environment.

Boston University’s Clean Energy & Environmental Sustainability Initiative (CEESI) coordinates a University-wide vision for research and academic activities at the interface of technology, policy, climate science, market economics, and systems integration as they relate to the challenge of balancing energy needs with an environmental and economic sustainability.

The BU Initiative on Cities seeks to promote and advance the adaptive urban leadership strategies necessary to support cities as dynamic centers of economic growth and development in the 21st century. Founded by a proven urban leader, the late former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and a highly regarded academic, Professor Graham Wilson, the Initiative on Cities serves as a bridge between world-class academic research and the real-life practice of city governance.