The mission of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology is to provide the highest quality education in ecology through advanced training in current ecological methods, theories, controversies, applications, and teaching methods by drawing on the great depth and breadth of ecological expertise at Colorado State University and in our local community of scientists. We follow CSU’s Principles of Community in our work, which focus on inclusion, integrity, respect, service, and social justice.
GDPE Ecologists in the News
A team of researchers, including Biology professor and GDPE faculty member Dr. Shane Kanatous, has conducted a two year NSF-funded study in the Western Antarctic Peninsula to better understand how leopard seals are building resilience in this rapidly changing ecosystem.
GDPE student, Forest Hayes, and advisor Dr. Joel Berger, have found that climate change may be contributing to increased hostility between different species over limited resources. For example, the melting of glaciers in Glacier National Park is exposing previously buried salt-licks, which leads to conflict between Mountain Goats and Big-Horn Sheep. They found that goats almost always win. Sorry, Cam!
The GDPE research lab of Dr. Melinda Smith leads a study that combines field experiments and computer modeling to assess how co-occurring droughts and deluges will impact carbon cycling across the vast grasslands of the continental U.S. This project is operating on a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Recent publications from GDPE students and faculty members
Animal Behaviour (August 2022)
Most birds are very stereotypical in how they build their nests, but the Orange-crowned Warblers of Santa Catalina Island, California, build wildly different nests at different heights. CSU Undergraduate, Sarah Hays, led this study with Rebecca Cheek and Cameron Ghalambor to understand how individual variation in nest construction is likely driven by predation.
Behavioral Ecology (September 2022)
Does SLOW and STEADY really win the race?… Looks like it! In Honeybees, GDPE recent graduate, Julian Cassano, found that foraging bees with slow metabolic rates forage on more flowers and are more efficient than bees with high metabolic rates.
Canadian Journal of Soil Science (September 2022)
Laura van der Pol in the lab of Dr. Francesca Cortrufo, and their team, have found that fields of perennial grains like intermediate wheatgrass Kernza®, may store a greater amount of soil-organic carbon in the form of particulate organic matter than annual crop fields.