Advanced Research in Environmental Studies

Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters

Taught by

forest and plant ecology
freshwater ecology, quantitative biology, environmental education
geology, earth science, biogeochemistry
marine science, zoology, ecophysiology

Rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is an important component of academic learning in Environmental Studies. This independent learning opportunity is designed to allow advanced students to delve into real-world research with faculty who are currently engaged in specific projects. The program will help students develop vital skills in research design, data acquisition and interpretation, written and oral communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills—all of which are of particular value for students who are pursuing a graduate degree, as well as for graduates who are already in the job market.

Abir Biswas studies in nutrient and toxic trace metal cycles in terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. Potential projects could include studies of mineral weathering, wildfires and mercury cycling in ecosystems. Students could pursue these interests at the laboratory-scale or through field-scale biogeochemistry studies taking advantage of the Evergreen Ecological Observation Network (EEON), a long-term ecological study area. Students with backgrounds in a combination of geology, biology or chemistry could gain skills in soil, vegetation and water collection and learn methods of sample preparation and analysis for major and trace elements. 

Dylan Fischer studies plant ecosystem ecology, carbon dynamics and nutrient cycling in forests of the Southwest and western Washington. This work includes image analysis of tree roots, molecular genetics, plant physiology, carbon balance, nitrogen cycling, species interactions, community analysis and restoration ecology. He also manages the EEON project ( See more about his lab's work at: Students participating in this program work closely with ongoing research in the lab, participate in weekly lab meetings and develop their own research projects.

Carri LeRoy conducts research on linkages between terrestrial and aquatic environments. She is trained as a freshwater ecologist and primarily studies in-stream ecosystem processes and aquatic communities. She and her students study leaf litter decomposition in streams as a major input of organic material to aquatic systems. In addition, she conducts research on aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure, aquatic fungal biomass and standard water quality and hydrology measurements in stream and river environments.

Alison Styring studies birds. Current activity in her lab includes avian bioacoustics and avian monitoring and research in Evergreen’s campus forest and other nearby locations. Bioacoustic research includes field monitoring of local birds using bioacoustics methods and editing and identifying avian songs and calls from an extensive collection of sounds from the campus forest as well as tropical forest sites in Borneo. Local research projects in the campus forest and nearby locations include mapping and monitoring snags (standing dead trees) for wildlife use and monitoring bird populations and communities using a variety of standard approaches.   

Erik Thuesen conducts research on the ecological physiology of marine animals. He and his students are currently investigating the physiological, behavioral and biochemical adaptations of gelatinous zooplankton to environmental stress and climate change. Other research is focused on the biodiversity of marine zooplankton. Students working in his lab typically have backgrounds in different aspects of marine science, ecology, physiology and biochemistry.

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

botany, ecology, education, entomology, environmental studies, environmental health, freshwater science, geology, land use planning, marine science, urban agriculture, taxonomy and zoology.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Registration Information

Credits: Variable Credit Options

Variable Credit Options

variable credit options available.

Class standing: Junior–Senior


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Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Contact faculty in area of interest for specific information.

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Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Contact faculty in area of interest for specific information.

Course Reference Number not yet available.

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