Human-environment interaction provides the foundation for much of what we study in geographical and sustainability sciences at the University of Iowa. 

We conduct fundamental research into the biophysical processes that drive, for example, the movement of organisms and abiotic material (e.g., soil and pollutants) across geographic space and examine the processes that produce the temporal and spatial patterns that we experience in our daily lives. Advanced geospatial technologies, such as GIS, remote sensing, and computer simulation, play an integral part in the study of these interactions. Examples of these studies include modeling the spatial pattern of ecosystem processes, land use and land cover change, statistical and remote sensing techniques for the detection of change, and GIScience techniques for the representation and simulation of dynamic geographic phenomena.

We are currently examining human-environmental interaction in areas such as ecosystem dynamics, environmental policy, environmental sampling, land use/land cover change, and computer simulation. Some examples of current environmental geography research at Iowa include:

  • Water quality in Iowa
  • Land-use modeling of household impacts on the Ecuadorian Amazon frontier
  • Remote sensing and modeling human-environment interactions in a giant panda nature reserve
  • Remote sensing time-series analyses of land-use impacts on ecosystem dynamics
  • Biogeography and complex systems
  • Land-use and land-cover modeling and simulation
  • Remote sensing and GIS
  • Spatiotemporal data modeling
  • Agent-based geosimulation modeling
  • Spatio-temporal patterns of health and the environmental factors
  • Effects of global climate change on mountain ecosystems

Human-environment interaction faculty

Portrait of Dave Bennett

Dave Bennett

Department Chair
Portrait of Margaret Carrel

Margaret Carrel

Associate Professor
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Chair
Portrait of Marc Linderman

Marc Linderman

Associate Professor
Portrait of George Malanson

George Malanson

Coleman-Miller Professor Emeritus
Portrait of R. Rajagopal

R. Rajagopal

Professor Emeritus
Portrait of Heather Sander

Heather Sander

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies