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Thesis Topics

If you are a EV junior, it is time to start thinking about the possibility of a senior thesis, particularly the thesis topic. Sophomores, it's never too early to start planning your thesis, such as travel funds or specific research plans.

Here we have compiled a list of EV faculty and their research interests. Look it through and see if any topic or area of interest catches your eye, and please come to talk to the faculty member.  You can also view the 2010 EV faculty research presentation. This PowerPoint describes research of current interest to the EV faculty.

Please note that this is a partial list. Other research opportunities are frequently available, and other faculty supervisors are available not on this list. Please talk to any faculty member in EV if you're thinking about completing a thesis topic (the sooner, the better).

Howard Drossman

  • Arctic nitrogen cycling
  • Biogeochemical response of forests to thinning
  • Fountain Creek watershed quality/effects of urbanization
  • Atmospheric science education
  • What is nature?

Marion Hourdequin

  • Environmental ethics
  • Ethics and climate change
  • Ethics and philosophy of ecological restoration
  • Philosophy of science, values in science, science-society relationship
  • Philosophy of biology / philosophy of ecology
  • Philosophical dimensions of risk management and precaution in environmental law & policy
  • The role of scientific evidence in environmental law and policy
  • Philosophical analysis and critique of cost-benefit analysis and risk-tradeoff analysis
  • Authenticity and historical fidelity in ecological restoration (currently NSF funded!). This project combines philosophy and geography and will use as study sites a number of wildlife refuges that were formerly military lands.  One site will be the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, outside of Denver.

Steven Janke

  • Topics centered on modeling, including GIS projects
  • Modeling solar houses (various kinds of passive and active systems)
  • Mathematical models for electric cars
  • Population dynamics

Phil Kannan

  • Topics that bridge policy and science (natural or social) co-advised with science (natural or social) faculty. Here we would use science to document the problem and propose a policy solution to address the problem.
  • Wetlands, EPA Certified Wetland Banks
  • Ecosystem services, grazing on Colorado BLM
  • Hazardous waste
  • Abandoned mines in SW
  • Toxic sediments in dams (e.g. Clark Fort River in Missula)
  • Social justice, storage of toxic waste in under-privileged communities
  • Risk management: should toxic sediments be left behind dams, or be removed and stored?
  • Endangered Species Act permits to take and kill. Are habitat conservation plans effective at safeguarding endangered species? Perform an ES population viability study after development with the take permit occurs .

Miro Kummel

  • Ecology
    Microeconomics of C and N exchange between plants and mycorrhizal fungi
    - hands on lab work, some mathematical modeling
    Spatial dynamics of mutualistic and predatory systems (yuccas, ants, aphids, ladybugs)
    - May and June fieldwork in Colorado Springs, GIS modeling
  • Agro-ecology
    Effects of crop rotations on nutrient cycling and soil food-web structure
    - fieldwork at local (Pueblo) organic farm, tie into policy
    Spatial dynamics of predator-prey systems in organic orchards
    - fieldwork on organic orchard on western slope, tie into policy
    Comparison of Czech and Austrian agricultural systems
    -Summer-long fieldwork in Southern Czech Republic, Northern Austria.
    Working knowledge of Czech or German are a plus. Excellent tie into policy.
  • Forest ecology
    Fungal soil ecology and forest thinning.
    - fieldwork at Pikes Peak national Forest, greenhouse work, policy tie-in.
    Effects of chemical defenses of Ponerosa Pine on soil food-web structure, and nutrient mineralization.
    -fieldwork in Bolder, lab work at CC.
  • Policy and ecology of ecosystem services. Collaborations with Phil Kannan

Eric Perramond: Research Themes & Study Areas

  • Environment & Development topics
  • Most GIS topics & approaches
  • Political & Cultural Ecology
  • Land Degradation & Society
  • Natural Resource Management & Conservation
  • Soils & Soil Erosion
    Areas: Southwest U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Western Europe
  • Specific Topics:
    - Water adjudication in the watersheds of northern New Mexico;
    - Impacts of neo-liberal economic policies in Mexico;
    - Depopulation of towns in the French-Spanish Pyrenees and land-cover changes
    - Ranching crises in the Southwestern U.S.