Thesis Topics

If you are a junior EV major, 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. 



Research Themes & Study Areas:

Miro Kummel

  • Predator-Prey Dynamics in natural and agricultural settings:
    • Spatial dynamics of ladybug-aphid predator-prey dynamics on short grass prairies. Field work (May+June) and mathematical modeling using R.
    • Spatial analysis of habitat use by mountain lions and elk in Catamount Center area on Pikes Peak
    • Dynamics of insect pests and their natural enemies (several possibilities on Western Slope and in the Pueblo area)
  • Treeline dynamics:
    • Spatial pattern formation at the treeline edge and its relevance for treeline advance in response to climate change (drones)
    • Microclimatology of treelines (Drones)
    • Dendrochronology and dendroclimatology of treeline advance.
  • Vegetation studies:
    • Spatial structure of tundra or prairie vegetation (drones)
    • Indicators of rangeland health from remote sensing using drones (Chico Basin Ranch)
  • Limnology:
    • Phytoplankton and zooplankton dynamics in relation to nutrient loading in eutrophic water bodies.

Corina McKendry

  • City sustainability
  • Environmental justice
  • Climate adaptation
  • Globalization and the environment

Mike Angstadt

  • Linking global environmental politics & international environmental law
    • Norm diffusion: how/why new institutions spread (e.g., environmental courts), and implications
    • Norm implementation: how domestic institutions incorporate international environmental la
    • Nonstate environmental governance: NGOs in global environmental governance and law
  • Additional areas of longstanding interest
    • Alaskan environmental law & policy
    • Renewable energy policy and equity
    • Climate law/governance
  • Reshaping global environmental politics & international environmental law
    • Rights of nature movements
    • Earth system law
    • Opportunities/mechanisms for exchange between: (1) environmental judges, (2) judges and academics, and (3) disciplines (environmental law & environmental politics)

Charlotte Gabrielsen

  • Landscape & spatial ecology (to characterize the influence of climate and human land use on landscape patterns and processes)
  • Effects of spatiotemporal ecosystem dynamics on biodiversity (particularly, in wetland ecosystems)
  • GIS & remote sensing (as tools to inform conservation & management planning)

Jean Lee

  • Smallholder agricultural mitigation and adaptation
  • Gender equity and justice
  • Community-based Management

Allison Lawman

  • Past, present, and future climate change
  • Oceanography and atmospheric science
  • Tropical climate variability
    • The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
    • Tropical Pacific decadal variability
  • Abrupt climate change
  • Climate proxies and coral geochemistry
    • Stable isotope geochemistry
    • Trace metal geochemistry
  • Climate model output
  • Climate impacts on coral reefs (thermal stress and ocean acidification)

Sylvan Goldberg


  • Pre-1900 American literature
  • Environmental literature
  • Literature of the American West
  • The relationship between place, nature, identity, and literary form
  • Affect/emotion, gender (queer ecology), and temporality

Marion Hourdequin

  • Environmental ethics
  • Ethics & climate change, including climate justice and the ethics of climate engineering
  • Ethics and philosophy of ecological restoration; restoration in landscapes with complex socio-ecological histories
  • Philosophy, ethics, and the Anthropocene
  • Nature in East Asian traditions of thought (esp. Confucianism and Daoism)
  • Philosophy of science, values in science, science-society relationship
  • Philosophy of ecology
  • Additional areas of interest: environmental justice; philosophy of ecosystem services; Aldo Leopold; ethics of de-extinction

Eric Perramond

Southwest Studies

  • Environmental ethics
  • Water resources, law, and water policy
  • Natural Resource Management & Conservation
  • Decolonizing Conservation (broadly - Bears Ears, Valles Caldera, etc.)
  • Militarization of the American West/Southwest (Border wall, nuclear sacrifice zones, military open spaces)
  • Areas: Southwest U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Western Europe
  • Specific Topics
    • Water adjudications of water resources in the western U.S.
    • Impacts of neo-liberal economic policies in Mexico
    • Livelihood and environmental justice crises in the Southwestern U.S.

Mike Taber


  • Boundary layer meteorology – energy fluxes over heterogeneous surfaces
  • Biometeorology – energy flux across interfaces in ecosystems

Henry Fricke


  • Paleoclimatology
  • Geochemistry

Amy Kohout


  • Environmental history
  • U.S. West
  • U.S. empire
  • History of natural history
  • Museum studies
  • Science and technology studies

Shane Heschel

Organismal Biology and Ecology

  • Physiological ecology of plant populations, particularly in stressful environments
  • Local adaptation and the evolution of physiological mechanisms
  • Factors driving the local extinction of plant populations
  • Population genetics and Conservation genetics

Eli Fahrenkrug


  • Probing Aerosol and Dust Particle Migration within Individual Snow Grains and their Impacts on Snow Albedo and Radiative Forcing Models
  • Developing New Citizen-Accessible Water Quality Diagnostics for Use in Low-Resource Areas
  • The Fountain Valley Water Project: a local community-based citizen science project responding to PFAS contamination in drinking water

Howard Drossman

  • Primary interests:
    • How do students develop conceptions of ecological stewardship?
    • Environmental education
    • Integral approaches to studying the environment
    • Mindfulness and the environment
  • Secondary interests:
    • Atmospheric chemistry
    • Aquatic chemistry
    • Biogeochemical cycling
Report an issue - Last updated: 08/02/2023