Advanced Research in Environmental Studies

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Spring 2019
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 0
0 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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Rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is an important component of academic learning in environmental studies. This independent learning opportunity is designed to allow advanced students to delve into real-world research with faculty who are currently engaged in specific projects. The program will help students develop vital skills in research design, data acquisition and interpretation, written and oral communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills—all of which are of particular value for students who are pursuing a graduate degree—as well as for graduates who are already in the job market.

Abir Biswas studies nutrient and toxic trace metal cycles in terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. Potential projects could include studies of mineral weathering, wildfires, and mercury cycling in ecosystems. Students could pursue these interests at the laboratory scale or through field-scale biogeochemistry studies, taking advantage of the Evergreen Ecological Observation Network (EEON), a long-term ecological study area. Students with backgrounds in a combination of geology, biology, or chemistry could gain skills in soil, vegetation, and water collection, and learn methods of sample preparation and analysis for major and trace elements.

Lalita Calabria focuses on biodiversity and conservation of bryophytes and lichens in temperate North America. As a broadly trained plant biologist, Lalita uses a multidisciplinary approach to investigating these topics, including floristic surveys, ecological studies, herbarium-based research, and phytochemical studies of plants. Current activities in her lab focus on assessing the impacts of fire on lichen and bryophyte communities of oak woodlands and prairies, estimating biomass and functional group diversity of bryophyte and lichen ground layers in Puget Sound prairies, and quantifying biological nitrogen fixation rates of moss-cyanobacteria symbiosis. Students with backgrounds in botany, ecology, or chemistry could gain skills in bryophyte and lichen identification, as well as field monitoring methods and studying symbiosis of bryophytes and lichens. Students participating in this program would engage with ongoing research in Lalita’s lab and may have opportunities to develop their own research projects.

Gerardo Chin-Leo studies marine phytoplankton and bacteria. His research interests include understanding the factors that control seasonal changes in the biomass and species composition of Puget Sound phytoplankton. In addition, he is investigating the role of marine bacteria in the geochemistry of estuaries and hypoxic fjords.

Dylan Fischer studies plant ecosystem ecology, carbon dynamics, and nutrient cycling in forests of Western Washington and the Southwest. This work includes image analysis of tree roots, molecular genetics, plant physiology, carbon balance, nitrogen cycling, species interactions, community analysis, and restoration ecology. He also manages the EEON project ( ). See more about his lab's work at Students in this program work closely with ongoing research in the lab, participate in weekly lab meetings, and develop their own research projects.

Carri LeRoy conducts research on linkages between terrestrial and aquatic environments. She is trained as a freshwater ecologist and primarily studies in-stream ecosystem processes and aquatic communities. She and her students study leaf litter decomposition in streams as a major input of organic material to aquatic systems. In addition, she conducts research on aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure, aquatic fungal biomass, and standard water-quality and hydrology measurements in stream and river environments.

Paul Przybylowicz   conducts research on fungi, mushroom cultivation, and other applications using fungi. He is particularly interested in bioremediation and biocontrol of soil diseases, along with practical mushroom cultivation methods for small-scale vegetable farmers. Current efforts are focused on isolating and screening fungi for bioremediation properties. 

Alison Styring studies birds. Current activity in her lab includes avian bioacoustics as well as avian monitoring and research in Evergreen’s campus forest and other nearby locations. Bioacoustic research includes field monitoring of local birds using audio recordings and microphone arrays and editing and identifying avian songs and calls from an extensive collection of sounds from the campus forest, as well as tropical forest sites in Borneo. Local research projects in the campus forest and nearby locations include Pacific wren mating and life-history strategy, cavity formation and use by cavity-nesting birds (and other cavity-dependent species), and monitoring long-term trends in bird populations and communities using a variety of standard approaches. NOTE: winter quarter only

Erik Thuesen conducts research on the ecological physiology of marine animals. He and his students are currently investigating the ecophysiological and biochemical adaptations of gelatinous zooplankton that live in the deep sea. Other research is focused on the biodiversity of marine zooplankton. Students working in his lab typically have backgrounds in different aspects of marine science, ecology, physiology, and biochemistry.

Pauline Yu studies the developmental physiology and ecology of marine invertebrates. She is interested in the biochemistry of the seawater-organism interface, developmental nutritional biochemistry and metabolic depression, invasive species, carbonate chemistry (ocean acidification), and cultural relationships with foods from the sea. Students have the opportunity to collaboratively develop lines of inquiry for lab and/or field studies in ecology, developmental biology, physiology, marine carbonate chemistry, and mariculture.


Enrollment Conditions

Signature required. Students should contact the individual faculty member in their area of interest.  New students accepted in winter and spring with signature.

Fall 2018 Registration

Signature Required

Contact faculty in area of interest for specific information.
Winter 2019 Registration

Signature Required

Contact faculty in area of interest for specific information.
Spring 2019 Registration

Signature Required

Contact faculty in area of interest for specific information.

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

botany, ecology, education, entomology, environmental studies, environmental health, freshwater science, geology, land use planning, marine science, urban agriculture, taxonomy, and zoology

Variable Credit Options
variable credit options available.
Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


In Person or Remote
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule