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Research Focus Areas

The Environment

In the context of the geosciences, the environment integrates biotic and abiotic aspects of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Over a wide range of time scales, this group examines the chemical, physical, and biological impacts of environmental disturbances of pristine to highly degraded natural systems. Such research helps sustain natural communities and ecosystems, and allows us to predict the impacts of projected changes in climate and land use on the sustainability of water resources and the health of aquatic ecosystems. This group also studies the significance of environmental changes on extinction and speciation.

Geodynamics and Tectonics

This group examines geodynamic processes of the Earth, primarily focused on the generation and deformation of the lithosphere, including fundamental questions regarding the structure of our planet and the dynamics of crustal plates and fragments. Research in this group provides the foundation to understand formation, transport, and storage of mineral resources, and to understand geological hazards, such as earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions.

Education and Cognition

This group examines how people perceive and understand the Earth and its evolutionary history. Faculty include a leader in geocognition research, and active participants in state and national science education organizations who provide professional development for science teachers in Michigan and nationally. This work includes novel approaches to research on visual representation, discourse, and reasoning through analogs.