Research

The Department of Earth & Environment is composed of four research divisions, which primarily serve doctoral students, and which connect to related centers and programs.

Biogeosciences, Climate & Surface Processes, 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 the South Pacific Gyre, to the detection and attribution of climate change, to the connections among soil moisture, ground water, and atmospheric water.

Energy, Environment & Society, 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.

Geographical 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.

Geology, Geochemistry & Geophysics, with focal areas in mantle geochemistry, seismology, geochronology, petrology, computational fluid dynamics, and tectonics. Faculty research interests range from mapping 3-D variations in mantle temperature, modeling of plume-ridge interaction at the Easter Island hotspot, developing the geochronology of garnet grains in the ancient sedimentary record, and the role of silicate weathering in global biogeochemical cycles.

Related Centers

The Center for Energy & Environmental Studies (CEES) offers professional master’s degrees in energy & environmental analysis, international relations & environmental policy, and environmental remote sensing & geographic information systems.

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.