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Research & Outreach

The IAS is a thriving interdisciplinary research unit, where fascinating questions about our environment are explored.

The IAS bring biologists, ecologists, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, chemists, geographers, archaeologists, policy experts, philosophers and many others together to work on some of the most pressing environmental issues we face today.

-Sam Atkinson,
Professor and Directory

Our research includes both basic and applied ecology projects and focuses on five areas: stream ecology, aquatic insect biology, biodiversity
studies, the use of microinvertebrates in the ecological risk assessment process and environmental education. This research is conducted in a diverse range of aquatic ecosystems that include springs, wetlands,streams, rivers and impoundments. The laboratory has hosted workshops, and routinely provides support to the UNT Elm Fork Education Program, and the Lake Lewisville Education Learning Area (LLELA)

The Aquatic Toxicology laboratory (ATL) and its associated facilities are designed and equipped for carrying out modern toxicological research from the genetic and molecular level through field and mesocosm assessments. The ATL is located on the first floor of UNT's Environmental Education, Science, and Technology (EESAT) building.

This area of research deals with both the learning and teaching of science. We qualitively and quantitively examine the barriers that affect each side of this paradigm, introduce intervention strategies to address them, and quantify and communicate the results. Furthermore, we examine the various aspects of scientific communication; how science is communicated to learners, the public, policy makers, etc; and how these individuals use science knowledge/ information in their decision making processes.

The Center for Environmental Archaeology actively pursues interdisciplinary research on past environments, archaeology, and Quaternary geology. Research focuses on geo-archaeology, Paleo-Indian archaeology, and zoo-archaeology.

The Center for Remote Sensing was established in 1988 as a means of utilizing the rapidly evolving technology of satellite imaging to contribute to the scientific knowledge of environmental resources, ecosystems, and human communities. The Center trains specialists in the theory and techniques of remote sensing, and provides scientific advice to local, regional, national, and international communities, thereby supporting the University's mission of teaching, research, and service. Dr. Sam Atkinson as been the Director since it's incept.

Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management

The mission of the Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management (CWRAM) is to conduct problem-solving research addressing water/land issues, to be an information resource on best management practices for addressing watershed and reservoir problems, and to provide educational programs about water and reservoir assessment and management.

At the Computational Epidemiology Research lab (CERL), faculty and students from inner-disciplinary domains work together to develop new scientific methods that enhance the comprehension of intricate interplay between disease and population. The Center of Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis can be found at

Primary research interests include contaminant effects on freshwater aquatic communities. Specifically, understanding linkages among fisheries and benthic population dynamics and how these are influenced by anthropogenic perturbations are studied by examining how chemical pollutants are distributed through biological communities and how they affect community structure and function.

The mission of the Elm Fork Education Center is to develop and implement premier environmental education programs. These programs will provide investigative encounters that engage students of all ages in field activities and discovery experiences. These opportunities are designed to encourage sound environmental decision making and responsible environmental stewardship.

Researchers in the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory study the analytical chemistry and fate of contamination in the environment. The lab has state-of-the-art chromatography and spectroscopy instrumentation for measurement of organic and inorganic contaminants. Laboratory personnel examine physical and chemical processes that control the distribution of chemicals in air, soil, and water

Environmental Modeling Lab

The Environmental Modeling Laboratory develops and uses mathmatical models and computer simulations for the assessment of impacts of natural and anthropogenic stressors on environmental and ecological systems. Research interests span the local, landscape, regional, and global scales.

Now in its 18th year, the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA), which sits just south of Lewisville Lake on about 2,100 acres, is a living lab perfect for scientific research and environmental education purposes and provides unique opportunities for hands-on training with its vast prairieland, array of animals and diversity of waterways, including the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. LLELA also serves as one of UNT's research facilities for AERI.

A Corp of Engineers facility that supports studies on biology, ecology, and managment of aquatic plants, LAERF provides an intermediate scale research environment to bridge the gap between small scale laboratory studies and large-scale field tests. In addition to 53 earthen and 21 lined ponds, LAERF utilizes 18 flowing water raceways, 3 large outdoor mesocosm facilities, a research greenhouse, and several laboratories to conduct research activities.

The mission of the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum is to provide opportunities to discover and share knowledge about plants, animals and their environments. In addition to providing resources to trained scientists the museum also provides resources for citizen scientists of all ages and backgrounds to explore natural history and especially to inspire in the young a life long interest in nature.

Water Research Field Station

The Water Research Field Station (WRFS) is one of the only facilites in the southwest designed to assess,under controlled field conditions, the effects of pesticides on aquatic ecosystems prior to their general use in the environment. Field station research is supported on campus by a biological and residue analysis laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment such as computer-interfaced gas chromatography.

The common theme in our research group is the use of ecological and evolutionary principles in the dissemination of knowledge to promote practical science-based solutions in wildlife conservation. Our primary aim under this theme is to mesh collaborative science in wildlife ecology and conservation with education at the undergraduate and graduate levels through field and laboratory research. We believe that a sustainable approach to conservation and scientific achievement must engage the research community with the broader public through publication, education, and outreach.

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