Our Research Baron and her team visiting Rocky Mountain National Park on Sept. 20, 2013 to collect samples after the historic Colorado floods. Our Program Our Curriculum Specialization Front Range Student Ecology Symposium Photo is courtesy of Caroline Melle. It was taken near her research site at Imnavait Creek by Toolik Lake field station, AK Diana Wall and crew in Antarctica Chris Funk and crew hiking in Oyacachi, Ecuador Kurogawa (Kuro Stream), a stream with native Japanese charr and salmon in the mountains of Shikoku Island, southern Japan – image by David Herasimtschuk

Our Program

Since its inception in 1992, GDPE has grown to become a principal organization that catalyzes cutting-edge and world-renowned ecological research performed at Colorado State University.

Our primary goal is to provide outstanding training for graduate students in the ecological sciences, and our students consistently earn recognition for their scholarship and academic achievement.

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GDPE PhD Area of Specialization

Human/Environment Interactions

Increasing rates of poverty, landlessness, and declining health are co-occurring with rapid shifts in land use, land cover, loss of biodiversity and global warming.

These interconnected human/environmental changes represent a clear risk to the well being of individuals, communities and societies now and in the future.

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Our Curriculum

GDPE's degree programs are rigorous and comprehensive offering both M.S. and Ph.D. tracks in addition to the Human/Environment Interactions specialization.

The GDPE curriculum is designed to provide a breadth and depth of training to MS and PhD students, who will emerge from the program as highly competent and skilled graduates.

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Our Research

The Graduate Degree Program in Ecology is recognized by Colorado State University as a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence (PRSE). Programs are awarded this designation because they have achieved great distinction and set a standard for excellence that may serve as a model for programs throughout the institution.

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Front Range Student Ecology Symposium

FRSES is a student-run symposium that provides an opportunity for Front Range students doing research in ecology to showcase their work and network in a friendly and supportive peer environment. Highlights include a keynote address by an invited speaker, a full day of poster and oral presentation sessions, an awards banquet to recognize exceptional student work, and a social gathering to celebrate student success.

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Why graduate school at CSU is for you!

"CSU has meant everything to my success. No other university I know of trains its students to work collaboratively across disciplines to solve societal issues. These were the gifts CSU gave me when I arrived and these are the gifts it gives students today. I was so fortunate to learn from the giants in ecosystem ecology how to think big and across disciplines, and apply that knowledge toward solving societal problems."
- Colorado State Scientist Jill Baron

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News & Events

AUG: GDPE New Student Orientation



8 - 11 am
Avogadro's Number

Fall 2015 Cohort will meet with admin staff and senior students to discuss the many facets of GDPE.

AUG: Graduate School Orientation



9:30 - 11 am
Lory Student Center Ballrooms C & D

Orientation will be offered for all new graduate students with a continental breakfast at 9 am. Registration is not required. Contact Sandy Dailey at 970-491-6817 with questions.

AUG: GDPE Fall Picnic



4:30 - 8 pm
Club Tico, City Park

GDPE community comes together to kick off the new year.

2015-16 Distinguished Ecologists

  • Bill Parton

    Bill Parton, a Senior Research Scientist and Professor, is a 40-year researcher studying the impacts of human activity on ecosystems and the environment. [read more]

  • Jesse Nippert

    Jesse Nippert is an Associate Professor in the Division of Biology at K-State with expertise in ecophysiology, focusing on physiological responses of plants to environmental variability and water availability. [read more]

  • Osvaldo Sala

    Osvaldo Sala is the Julie A. Wrighley Professor at Arizona State University, where he contributes to both the School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability. [read more]

  • Deron Burkepile

    Deron Burkepile is an Associate Professor in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. [read more]

  • Mark Boyce

    Mark Boyce is the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife and Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta. [read more]


GDPE Ecologists in the News

First Fellows complete Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence

Colorado State University is putting diversity directly into the classroom through the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence, a collaboration between the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and TILT, The Institute for Learning and Teaching. The purpose of the Institute is to transform teaching in ways that integrate awareness regarding diversity and inclusion into classroom practices, and in turn positively influence campus climate to promote equity and social justice. Fellows of the inaugural Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence were recognized in May with plaques presented by CSU President Tony Frank. Among the 2015-2016 cohort are Ruth Hufbauer, professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, who developed and presented a women in science departmental seminar and Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, professor in the Warner College of Natural Resources, who developed a comprehensive diversity plan for the Department of Forestry and Rangeland Stewardship.

Nematodes and tardigrades, and dung beetles, oh my!

A new "Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas," which has its roots (ahem) at Colorado State University will be officially unveiled May 25 in Nairobi, Kenya, at a symposium at the United Nations Environment Assembly. Did you know that there are approximately 30,000 earthworm species in the soil around the world, yet only one-quarter have been identified and described by scientists? There are also as many as 5 million fungal species; researchers have only categorized 6 percent of them, at most. More than 1 million types of bacteria are in soil, yet less than 2 percent have been described in detail. Colorado State University's Diana Wall, University Distinguished Professor and director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, is among those who spearheaded the project through her role as scientific chair of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative. She will discuss how soil biodiversity contributes to sustainability during a panel discussion in Nairobi.

CSU-led team highlights ways to address global food system challenges

Agriculture now produces more than enough calories to meet basic human dietary needs worldwide. Despite this seeming abundance, one out of eight people do not have access to sufficient food. A new study, "Realizing Resilient Food Systems," published in the journal Bioscience May 4 and led by Meagan Schipanski, assistant professor of soil and crop sciences at Colorado State University, presents a set of strategies to address these complex challenges of producing food for a growing global population, while reducing environmental impacts and increasing resilience in the face of climate change. Using case studies from Africa, India, and Brazil, the study highlights the importance of integrated food system strategies. "Meagan's food system study is a clear example of global knowledge converging from the three dimensions of sustainability: economics, society and the environment. It is a novel and useful effort by her integrating team," said Diana Wall, director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and a professor in CSU's Department of Biology.