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

SEPT: GradShow Submissions Due



GradShow will be accepting submissions on a first come basis with a limited number of acceptances available. Proposal submission is open until Friday, September 25th at 5 pm. You can use the same research in GradShow and FRSES and is a great way to get practice for conferences and defenses.

OCT: GDPE Resident Distinguished Ecologist LeRoy Poff



3 - 4 pm
Lory Student Center, Cherokee Park Ballroom

Join us in honoring GDPE Resident Distinguished Ecologist, Dr. LeRoy Poff. His seminar will be held in the Lory Student Center, Cherokee Park Room. Immediately following, a University Club reception will be held in his honor.

NOV: GDPE Honor Alumnus Brandon Bestelmeyer



3 - 4 pm
Lory Student Center, Cherokee Park Ballroom

Dr. Brandon Bestelmeyer, GDPE graduate, will be speaking about his current work as well as his road from graduate school to his current position. Immediately following, a reception will be held in his honor.

2016-17 Distinguished Ecologists


GDPE Ecologists in the News

Robin Reid: Collaboration is not for the faint-hearted

Robin Reid does not like being called an expert, despite the accolades she's received for her grasslands research in Kenya, Mongolia and Colorado. Instead, she gives credit to the people she's collaborated with, individuals that she refers to as "great people" and good friends. "I am always working very closely with people that live on the land, trying to bring science to help them on issues that they care about," she said. Reid, a professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and head of the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University, delivered the eighth President's Community Lecture in the Lory Student Center Theatre Tuesday night. Reid said she has seen the power and magic that can happen when people come together and work on a difficult problem.

President's Community Lecture by Robin Reid Sept. 27

International conservationist Robin Reid, a professor in Colorado State University's Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, will be the featured speaker for the President's Community Lecture Series Sept. 27. Reid, who also serves as director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation and is a co-founder of the Colorado conservation Exchange, will give a talk titled, "Walking with Herders (and Others): Bringing Different People Together to Work with Nature," 6:30-8 p.m., Sept. 27, at the Lory Student Center Theatre. In her work over the years, Reid has found ways to bring together businesses, government, citizens and scientists to work out solutions for complicated conservation problems that benefit both people and nature. She has worked to transform how we do science, so it is more useful and accessible to the communities it is designed to serve.

How dams can go with the flow

The world's rivers are regulated by about 58,000 large dams (more than 15 m high) that provide water supplies for municipalities and irrigation, allow downstream navigation, and enable hydropower production, addressed by an article in Science co-authored by N. LeRoy Poff. New dams are widely seen as sources of green energy. An estimated 75% of the world's potential hydropower capacity is unexploited, and some 3700 new dams are currently proposed in developing economies. But dams also cause substantial and often unacknowledged environmental damage. Recent research affords insight into how dams might be strategically operated to partially restore some lost ecosystem functions and services.