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

DEC: Congratulations to Fall GDPE Graduates



Join us in congratulating our Fall 2013 graduates. Their hard work and achievements are to be commended. Commencement exercises are December 20 at 3:00 pm. The ceremony will be videostreamed live.

JAN: Fall Applications Due



Visit our Prospective Students webpage for application information.

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

    Daron 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

Enhancing our soils' biodiversity can improve human health

Colorado State University's Diana Wall and coauthors make the case to integrate soil biodiversity research into human health studies in a paper published online in Nature November 23. "If we improve our management of land to enhance the biodiversity in our soils, we'll improve human health," said Wall, professor in CSU's Department of Biology, research scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Soil biodiversity refers to the variety of life and organisms that exist within a forest, agricultural field, park or even on a dirt road. It sounds simple, this type of integration, but the concept is only recently gaining international acceptance. The United Nations declared 2015 as the first International Year of Soils to highlight the value of living soils to humans.

CSU will host DC-area workshop on food, energy, water

Food, energy and water are fundamental human needs. They're also deeply interconnected. To offer holistic, systems-level insights and solutions to global food, energy and water problems, Colorado State University will host a two-day workshop, "Food-Energy-Water: Nexus Issues in Energy Production," Dec. 7-8 at the Marriott Residence Inn, Arlingotn, Va. Registration is free but required. "Think about food, energy and water: they are all critical resources for society," said Ken Reardon, CSU professor of chemical and biological engineering and workshop organizer. "You can't trade one for the other, and they interact. You can't fix one problem without thinking about how that solution is impacting the others."

Small, sustainable actions make big impacts

Do you know how many small, sustainable actions you take every day, and how they stack up to save energy and water and reduce waste? Students in the Warner College of Natural Resources recently got the chance to find out how much turning off lights and turning the thermostat down adds up. At the same time, they helped the City of Fort Collins with market research on a mobile app, "Loose a Watt," that encourages sustainable behaviors. The app attempts to "gamify" sustainability - encouraging behavior by adding game elements into non-game situations. CSU Assistant Professor Jen Solomon, instructor for the course, said the app provides a novel approach. "Gamification is used for encouraging healthy behaviors, but there aren't many examples of gamification being used successfully to encourage sustainable behaviors."