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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Jill Baron, Past President of Ecological Society of America

Colorado State University Scientist Jill Baron served as President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world's largest and leading organization of professional ecologists.

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News & Events

GDPE Distinguished Ecologist Peter Vitousek



4:00-5:00 p.m.
North Ballroom

Dr. Peter Vitousek is part of the Distinguished Ecologist Series and will be visiting on April 8 and 9, 2015. His first talk will be "Coupled Human and Natural Systems on Pacific Islands Before European Contact". There will be a reception at 3:30 p.m. before his presentation.

Dr. Peter Vitousek



131 Behavioral Sciences Building

Dr. Peter Vitousek will be presenting his second seminar "Nitrogen and Crop Production in China: Towards (more) Sustainable Intensification".

GDPE Grad Forum



5:00-7:00 pm
Avogadro's Number

GDPE graduate students are invited to join in on a discussion of science and beyond science related topics. The last meeting for the spring semester will be April 15 from 5-7 pm.

Dr. Julian Olden - GDPE Rising Star



Dr. Julian Olden, one of GDPE's graduates (2004 - Poff) was selected as the Rising Star in Ecology this year. We look forward to his visit on April 22 and 23, 2015.

2014-15 Distinguished Ecologists

  • Rick Karban

    Rick Karban, an ecologist at the University of California at Davis, is interested in understanding how plants behave in their environments. Karban is currently looking at how plants communicate using volatile chemicals to adjust their defenses against herbivores. [read more]

  • Peter Vitousek

    Peter Vitousek's research interests include evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; supporting agronomists in China in their development of high-yielding but low-impact cropping systems. [read more]

  • Julian Olden

    Julian Olden's research explores the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems spanning the fields of conservation biology, biogeography, invasion ecology and biostatistics. [read more]

  • Jill Baron

    Jill Baron is an ecosystem ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and a Senior Research Ecologist with the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. Baron was President of the Ecological Society of America in 2014. [read more]

  • John Sanderson

    Dr. Sanderson is Director of Conservation Science for the Nature Conservancy of Colorado. John manages a staff of scientists and project directors working on conservation challenges. [read more]