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.

2016-17 Distinguished Ecologists


GDPE Ecologists in the News

CSU Professor of Horticulture hoppy to help Colorado breweries

The summer solstice is upon us and plants are happily soaking up the maximum amount of sunlight on the longest day of the year. Inside the Colorado State University Horticulture Center, however, plants don't know the difference between the summer solstice and the winter solstice - especially the hops. A collaborative partnership with Philips Lighting allows Bill Bauerle, professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at CSU, to produce and harvest hops five times a year - something unique in the United States. "This is the only location in the United States that is able to produce the product five times a year," said Bauerle. CSU's Horticulture Center is one of the only growing facilities in the country using the specialized Philips Horticulture LED Solutions lighting, which supports a much quicker growing cycle. "I had the idea to grow hops in our new facility," said Bauerle. "The timing was right because the new Horticulture Center provided a high-class facility to work in."

For tropical mayflies, mountain passes are higher indeed

In tropical climates, animals and plants aren't adapted to surviving freezing temperatures - and why would they be? It's never all that cold near the Equator, even at altitude. But in places like the Rocky Mountains, where temperatures can climb into the 100s and dip below freezing, species are hardier and more equipped to deal with such fluctuations. These divergent climate tolerances play crucial roles in how species evolve. Colorado State University research offers new insight into this long-held understanding of species diversity. The study, published online June 15 in Proceedings of the Royal Society London B - Biological Sciences will be featured on the journal's printed cover. The lead author is Brian Gill, a graduate student co-advised by Chris Funk in the College of Natural Sciences' Department of Biology and Boris Kondratieff in the College of Agricultural Sciences' Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management. Gill led a field team that traversed watersheds in the wilds of Colorado's Rocky Mountains and in the remote Ecuadorian Andes to collect and analyze thousands of mayflies at comparable elevations.

Garfield County air quality study results presented to public

Data from an extensive multi-year Colorado State University study of air emissions from natural gas operations in Garfield County, Colorado have been presented publicly by a CSU research team. The study, Characterizing Air Emissions from Natural Gas Drilling and Well Completion Operations in Garfield County, Colorado, was commissioned in 2012 by Garfield County. It was aimed at characterizing the extent of air emissions from natural gas extraction activities. The western Colorado county contains the Picean Basin and has some of the highest oil and gas activity in the state. Collett and other researchers, including co-principal investigator Jay Ham, CSU professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, obtained air samples for scientific data surrounding well pad activities. Air Resource Specialist, a company that offers air quality monitoring and modeling, also contributed to the project. The CSU researchers collected and characterized emissions from three activities during new well development: drilling, hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and flowback - all processes typical of unconventional natural gas extraction. They quantified air emission rates and dispersion of air toxins, ozone precursors and greenhouse gases during each of these processes.