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

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.

Building a Bridge to the Doctorate with NSF grant

Colorado State University is the recipient of more than $1 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to support The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship program. The award supports 12 dedicated graduate students from domestic underrepresented minority backgrounds who are pursuing graduate studies in STEM - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics - programs at CSU. Greg Florant, professor of biology, will serve as the director of the Graduate Center for Diversity and Access, to provide leadership for the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship Program. "Serving in this new role aligns with my ongoing passion for mentoring underrepresented students pursuing education in the sciences," he said. "Despite seeing the percentage of all doctoral degrees granted to underrepresented minority students in the STEM disciplines at CSU during the last 15 years increase from 2.1 percent to 10.8 percent, we know there is much more work to be done.

Climate Smart Ag efforts gain momentum

Colorado State University's expanding Climate Smart Agriculture initiatives deepened its international focus as a four-member group from Fort Collins traveled to Rome earlier this summer for the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization office. The GACSA forum focused on the three pillars of CSA: productivity, adaptation and mitigation. The CSU delegation, which included Office of Engagement Vice President Lou Swanson, Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences Professor Rajiv Khosla, and Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Professor Dennis Ojima, further reinforced the university's leadership in the area of climate smart agriculture. "Colorado State had the largest presence among U.S. universities at the Rome forum," Swanson said. "We are a founding member of GACSA, and are working in a number of areas across campus, around the state and globally to further develop effective socioeconomic and ecological programs that address challenges associated with changing weather patterns, especially in terms of producer adaptability and resiliency."