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

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.

DEC: Fall Commencement



3 pm
Moby Arena

2016-17 Distinguished Ecologists


GDPE Ecologists in the News

CSU and Denver Museum of Nature & Science: a state-of-the-art pair

Two leading Colorado educational institutions have announced an agreement to work together to elevate research, enhance educational opportunities for students and the public, and highlight their academic alignment. As part of the agreement, CSU sponsored the Extreme Mammals exhibit at DMNS, which runs through January 8, 2017. The exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History in New York showcases extreme characteristics of mammals throughout time. "Our involvement with the museum is a really great fit because Colorado State counts some of the world's most accomplished conservation biologists among its faculty. Folds like George Wittemyer and Joel Berger, to name just a few," said Elias Martinez, assistant vice president of brand strategy at CSU. "Helping bring Extreme Mammals to Denver and sharing our story as it relates to the exhibit will hopefully raise more awareness of the important work we're doing in this are."

Cross-college collaboration leads to watershed pyrogenic carbon research breakthroughs

A group of researchers from five departments within four colleges at Colorado State University, as well as one federal agency has determined how carbon produced by fire moves through the environment by water erosion. This carbon, also known as pyrogenic carbon, or PyC, is especially mobile due to its light weight, but is also very hard to degrade and can persist in the environment for centuries to millennia. Because of its high mobility, PyC produced by fires can often be found far from the place where fire took place. The study addressed a multitude of aspects of the environment and scientists from across campus - soil biogeochemists, hydrologists, geo-morphologists, chemists, and ecologists - came together to develop what is truly a transdisciplinary report. "We had to learn to speak each other's languages," said Francesca Cotrufo, lead author of the study, professor in CSU's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and a senior scientist in CSU's Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory. In addition to Cotrufo, other authors on the study included: Claudia M. Boot, Stephanie Kampf, Peter A. Nelson, Daniel J. Brogan, Tim Covino, Michelle L. Haddix, Lee H. MacDonald, Sara Rathburn, Sandra Ryan-Burkett, Sarah Schmeer, and Ed Hall.