Research Areas | Environmental Science

Research Areas

The Environmental Science Degree Program specializes in a diverse array of research areas with faculty from multiple academic UNT departments such as Department of Biological Science, Department of Geography, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, and Department of Computer Science and Engineering. For a complete list of faculty that currently participate in the Environmental Science Graduate Degree program, please visit the Institute of Applied Science website.

Research Areas

Aquatic Community and Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory (Dr. David Hoeinghaus)

Research in this lab examines mechanisms of community assembly, species extirpations and invasions, food-web structure and dynamics, and ecosystem function. Fish-centric research tests advanced ecological concepts, while maintaining direct application to pressing problems in conservation biology and the sustainable use of natural resources. Freshwater ecosystems are excellent settings for this type of research because of their high biodiversity and endemism, social and economic importance, and unparalleled impacts to their habitats and species. Current field settings include intermittent streams, large floodplain rivers, and coastal lagoon ecosystems.

Aquatic Ecology Laboratory (Dr. Jim Kennedy)

Our research includes both basic and applied ecology projects and focuses on five areas: stream ecology, aquatic insect biology, biodiversity studies, the use of micro invertebrates in the ecological risk assessment process and environmental education. This research is conducted in a diverse range of aquatic ecosystems that include springs, wetlands, streams, rivers, and impoundment. The laboratory has hosted workshops, and routinely provides support to the UNT Elm Fork Education Program, and the Lake Lewisville Education Learning Area (LLELA).

Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory (Dr. Aaron Roberts)

The Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory (ATL) and its associated facilities are designed and equipped for carrying out modern toxicological research from the genetic and molecular level through field and mesocosm assessment. The ATL is located on the first floor of UNT's Environmental Education, Science, and Technology (EESAT) building.

Environmental Toxicology and Physiology Lab (Dr. Edward Mager)

Research in this lab focuses on aquatic toxicology, the environmental physiology of aquatic organisms, and aquaculture. More specifically, we study the impacts of stressors from both anthropogenic (i.e., pollutants, such as crude oil and metals) and natural (e.g., hypoxia, salinity, ammonia and temperature) sources, as well as their interactions, on aquatic organisms using endpoints that span from the molecular to whole organism scale.

Environmental Archaeology Laboratory (Drs. Lisa Nagaoka and Steve Wolverton)

The Center for Environmental Archeology actively pursues interdisciplinary research on past environments, archaeology, and Quaternary geology. Research focuses on geo-archaeology, Paleo-Indian archaeology, and zoo-archaeology.

Science Education Research Core Program (Dr. Rudi Thompson)

This area of research deals with both the learning and teaching of science. We qualitatively and quantitatively examine the barriers that affect each side of the paradigm, introduce intervention strategies to address them, and quantify and communicate results. Furthermore, we examine the various aspects of scientific communication; how science is communicated to learners, the public, policy makers, etc; and how these individuals use science knowledge/ information in their decision making processes.

Center for Remote Sensing (Dr. Sam Atkinson)

The Center for Remote Sensing was established in 1988 as a means of utilizing the rapidly evolving technology of satellite imaging to contribute to the scientific knowledge of environmental resources, ecosystems, and human communities. the Center trains specialists in the theory and techniques of remote sensing, and provides scientific advice to local, regional, national, and international communities, thereby supporting the University's mission of teaching, research, and service. Dr. Sam Atkinson has been the Director since its inception.

Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management

The mission of the Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management (CWRAM) is to conduct problem-solving research addressing water/land issues, to be an information resource on best management practices for addressing watershed and reservoir problems, and to provide educational programs about water and reservoir assessment and management.

Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis

At the Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis (CeCERA), faculty and students from inter-disciplinary domains work together to develop new scientific methods that enhance the comprehension of intricate interplay between disease, population and the environment. CeCERA is a multidisciplinary research center focused on activities related to population health across environmental landscapes. Projects include outbreak modeling, visualization of complex data, geospatial analysis, and response plan design.

Elm Fork Education Center (Dr. Jim Kennedy)

The mission of the Elm Fork Education Center is to develop and implement premier environmental education programs. These programs will provide investigative encounters that engage students of all ages in field activities and discovery experiences. These opportunities are designed to encourage sound environmental decision making and responsible environmental stewardship.

The UNT Interdisciplinary Environmental Chemistry Laboratory

Researchers in the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory study the analytical chemistry and fate of contamination in the environment. The lab has state-of-the-art chromatography and spectroscopy instrumentation for measurement of organic and inorganic contaminants. Laboratory personnel examine physical and chemical processes that control the distribution of chemicals in air, soil, and water.

The Texas Environmental Observatory (Dr. Miguel Acevedo)

The Texas Environmental Observatory (TEO) is a system that monitors multiple environmental parameters (e.g. water quality, UV radiation, soil moisture) for Texas, concentrating on the north Texas region. This program involves the development on new sensors and techniques to measure and monitor environmental quality in real time.

Environmental Toxicology Laboratory (Dr. Amie Lund)

Research activities in the Environmental Toxicology Laboratory include investigating the effects of environmental (air) pollutants on progression of cardiovascular disease and neurovascular blood brain barrier disruption. Identifying pathways involved in inhaled air pollution- related progression of atherosclerosis. This involves understanding how environmental pollutants effect the blood brain barrier (vascular) structure, determining gender-related differences in effects of environmental air pollutants on the cardiovascular system and investigating the effects of the HIV viral proteins on progression of cardiopulmonary disease.

Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area (LLELA)

The Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) was created in the early 1990's when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with several state and local agencies, founded the consortium to manage nearly 2,000 acres below Lewisville dam. Today the LLELA consortium includes the Corps, the University of North Texas, the City of Lewisville, the Lewisville Independent School District, and Texas A&M University. Our mission is to preserve and restore our native ecosystems and to provide and promote environmental education and scientific research.

RESEARCH NEWS for LLELA - Lone Star Adventures Bird Banding

Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility (LAERF) (Dr. Gary Dick)

A Corp of Engineers facility that supports studies on biology, ecology, and management of aquatic plants, LAERF provides an intermediate scale research environment to bridge the gap between small scale laboratory studies and large-scale field tests. In addition to 53 earthen and 21 lined ponds, LAERF utilizes 18 flowing water raceways, 3 large outdoor mesocosm facilities, a research greenhouse, and several laboratories to conduct research activities.

Natural Heritage Museum (Dr. Jim Kennedy)

The mission of the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum is to provide opportunities to discover and share knowledge about plants, animals, and their environments. In addition to providing resources to trained scientists, the museum also provides resources for citizen scientists of all ages and backgrounds to explore natural history and especially to inspire in the young, a life long interest in nature.

Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (Dr. Ricardo Rozzi)

The Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (SABCP) attempts to express the intrinsic link between human cultures and the environment. Because cultural diversity is often as endangered, or more so, than species diversity in many places, especially in pristine areas of of the world, such as the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (Chile, South America) the program uses a transdisciplinary approach to study, conserve and communicate both species and cultural diversity research in an attempt to find solutions for biocultural conservation.

Water Research Field Station (Dr. Sam Atkinson)

The Water Research Field Station (WRFS) is one of the only facilities in the southwest designed to assess, under controlled field conditions, the effects of pesticides on aquatic ecosystems prior to their general use in the environment. Field station research is supported on campus by a biological and residue analysis laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment such as computer-interfaced gas chromatography.

Wildlife Conservation Research Group (Dr. Andrew Gregory)

The common theme in our research group is the use of ecological and evolutionary principles in the dissemination of knowledge to promote practical science-based solutions in wildlife conservation. Our primary aim under this theme is to mesh collaborative science in wildlife ecology and conservation with education at the undergraduate and graduate levels through field and laboratory research. We believe that a sustainable approach to conservation and scientific achievement must engage the research community with the broader public through publication, education, and outreach.

RESEARCH NEWS for Dr. Jeff Johnson - Bringing Back the Heath Hen