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

FEB: FRSES Photos Due



5 pm MST

Students are invited to participate in the 22nd Annual Front Range Student Ecology Symposium (FRSES). Submit a photo entry by 5 pm MST on Wednesday, Feb. 17th.

FEB: Front Range Student Ecology Symposium (FRSES)



4:00-5:00 p.m.
Cherokee Park Ballroom, LSC

Keynote speaker is Dr. Sudeep Chandra. FRSES is a student-run symposium that provides an opportunity for Front Range students doing ecology research to showcase their work and network in a friendly and supportive peer environment.

MARCH: Grad Student Intensive Writing Retreats



8:30 am - 3:30 pm

This intensive writing retreat is designed to give grad students a mid-semester boost so that they can make significant progress on (or complete) their theses or dissertations this semester.

MARCH: Finding Your Employment Fit Workshop



8 am - 12:30 pm (Registration at 8 am)
Behavioral Sci Bldg rm 131

This free conference for CSU graduate students will focus on exploring "best fit" in terms of workplace culture. The morning will include a keynote speech followed by three breakout sessions with representatives from different sectors.

2015-16 Distinguished Ecologists

  • 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]

  • 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]


GDPE Ecologists in the News

Greg Florant, groundhog guy, reporting for duty

Greg Florant doesn't mind being the groundhog guy - in fact, he rather likes it. "My big day is coming up," he jokes - that is, Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, when Punxsatawney Phil will be forcibly pulled from his hidey-hole so he can predict whether we'll have an early spring or six more weeks of winter. That's right - CSU has its very own groundhog expert. So ask away. Can Phil really predict the weather? "Completely false," says Florant, professor of biology in the College of Natural Sciences. "But it's a good story." To be more scientifically exact, Florant studies marmots - close relatives of the groundhog, which is also called a woodchuck or whistlepig. All of the above belong to the genus Marmota. In his research, Florant is focused on answering questions about how these amazing creatures change their food intake and metabolism during their seven-month hibernation cycle - how their body masses change, and how their lipid storage processes are affected by their extremely long nap.

Location, location, location: Bat survival depends on it

Bat body type, and the environmental conditions bats use in their hibernation sites, may explain species differences in bat mortality from white-nose syndrome, according to a Colorado State University-led study published online Jan. 29 in Science Advances. White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease of hibernating bats that has caused dramatic bat population declines in North America since 2007 - yet certain bats survive infection. The collaborative research was centered at Colorado State University as part of the postdoctoral fellowship of David Hayman, now at New Zealand's Massey University. While at CSU, Hayman was mentored by Colleen Webb, professor of biology in the College of Natural Sciences, as well as by Paul Cryan, a research biologist at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center, and Juliet Pulliam of the University of Florida. The researchers used a mathematical model integrating the effects of bat body size and metabolism with growth of the fungus across a range of winter temperature and humidity conditions. They then showed why some bats survive infection while other do not.

CSU-led NASA DEVELOP team takes top prize in national competition

A Fort Collins-based team at Colorado State University learned on Jan. 9 that it won the virtual poster session for the NASA program, beating 25 other projects involving 100 researchers at 12 other locations across the country. The team's project focused on analyzing cheatgrass cover across the area burned by the Arapaho Fire in south central Wyoming. Cheatgrass is an invasive plant species that is non-native, said Amanda West, a postdoctoral researcher with CSU's Natural Resource Ecology Lab and one of the team's advisors. Findings from the team's research will help the Wyoming State Forestry Division decide how much herbicide they will need to purchase, and where to apply it, to destroy the invasive plant species. The team's partners - and anyone, really - can also use the CSU team's maps in grant proposals, to help secure funding for cheatgrass management. CSU Research Scientist Paul Evangelista is the director and science advisor for NASA DEVELOP at CSU.