Earth and Environmental Sciences

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Earth and Environmental Sciences students will find excellent opportunities to explore contemporary environmental issues and participate in scientific research with departmental faculty; whether in excellent facilities or in the current Gulf Coast environmental field laboratories.


A Glance at the Program

  • Consists of a multidisciplinary approach that combines natural science and research management
  • Students learn to analyze physical and socio-economic environments and to reach decisions concerning environmental use and management
  • Offers a core curriculum that is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in the earth and environmental sciences, as well as in the modern methods and techniques used by scientists and environmental professionals 
  • Techniques include cartography, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), spatial statistics, and environmental sampling and surveying 
  • Classes generally host 25-35 students, while labs consist of 15-20 students.

Research Highlights

Dr. Hu’s latest research focuses on assessing nighttime effects on wildlife using VIRS remote sensing data. He is also concentrating on land use/cover classification using hyperspectral imagery. Dr. Hu’s recent publications include 1) Journal of Geoscience and Environmental Protection entitled  “Geographical analysis of lung cancer mortality rate and PM2.5 using Global Annual Average PM2.5 Grids from MODIS and MISR Aerosol Optical Depth.” 2) in the journal Geomorphology entitled “A watershed scale spatially-distributed model for streambank erosion rate driven by channel curvature.” 3) in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing entitled “Using compute unified device architecture-enabled graphic processing unit to accelerate fast Fourier transform-based regression Kriging interpolation on a MODIS land surface temperature image.”


Department News

Congratulations to Earth & Environmental Sciences students that presented posters at recent conferences.

The following undergraduate and graduate students presented their research at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG) at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi.

  • A Comparative Climatology Of Tornado Outbreaks And Outbreak Variability Within The United States by Rebecca Foglietti and Jason Ortegren (University of West Florida)
  • Design Of A Rotating 360° Piezoelectric Sensor To Quantify Aeolian Sand Transport by Phillip P. Schmutz, Ty Briggs (University of West Florida), and Peter Tereszkiewicz (University of South Carolina and recent graduate student of University of West Florida Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences)
  • Calculating Aeolian Sediment Transport Relative To The Presence Of Gravel Lag by Ty Briggs and Phillip P. Schmutz (University of West Florida)
  • Influence Of The North Atlantic Subtropical High On Eastern U.S. Rainfall Variability by Jared White and Jason Ortegren (University of West Florida)

The following undergraduate and graduate students presented their research at the 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting.

  • Living Shorelines: Assessing Geomorphic Change and Water Quality in an Urban Waterway by Amber Huggins, Matthew C Schwartz, and Phillip P Schmutz (University of West Florida)
  • The Utility of Using a Near-Infrared (NIR) Camera to Measure Beach Surface Moisture by Shannon (Lexi) Nelson and Phillip P Schmutz (University of West Florida)
  • Effects of Storm Events on Bacteria and Nutrients in the Bayou Chico Watershed by Sierra Hobbs and Son Truong (University of West Florida)
  • DDT Analysis of Wetland Sediments in Upper Escambia Bay, Florida by Michael Hopko, Jeffery Wright, Dr. Johan Liebens, and Dr. Pamela Benz (Vaughn) (University of West Florida)