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Faculty Research

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Quinn Thomas

We’re bringing all our knowledge and skills to the table

There are more pressures and demands being placed on our planet’s resources than ever before, and, thus, there is also a greater need to preserve and build capacity for the future. Our faculty are tackling these challenges as they engage in applied and practical research that seeks to help us understand and solve some of our most complex global problems.

To be successful, we must find ways to meet society’s and industry’s ever-expanding need for resources. We must also train the next generation of leaders and policymakers who will carry on this legacy.

Assistant Professor Stephanie Zick’s work takes on some of the largest and most impactful weather phenomena in the world — tropical cyclones. Through the use of spatial methods, she focuses on the physical mechanisms that fuel storms to understand how they interact with large-scale environments and how precipitation evolves prior to and during landfall.

We’re taking on the big issues—and we won’t give up    

As a society, the environmental challenges we are facing can seem overwhelming. That’s why a sense of optimism is critical and drives our faculty-led research projects. The work that is happening in the college impacts management and policy decisions related to every aspect of the natural environment, from the atmosphere to what’s on the ground to what’s in the soil.

Below are just a few of the critical research areas in which CNRE faculty are working. Click on each to read more about the research:

CNRE faculty members received more than $24 million in research funding in 2020-21, including several ongoing projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

Each tree’s growth rings contain a storehouse of information, but for Brian Strahm, it’s the layers of soil below the surface that are a gateway to discovery. Strahm studies the soils that are the hub of biological and chemical activity in forest ecosystems — and the key to understanding, predicting, and regulating forest productivity and environmental quality.

Looking for an expert?

Emmanuel Frimpong

If you are looking for a faculty member who is an expert in a particular area of research, you can browse our lists of faculty by department.

Are you a student who wants to conduct research?

Emmanuel Frimpong

There are many ways to get involved in a research project in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. Consider talking with a faculty member who is working in an area of interest to you, as there may be opportunities to work on faculty-led projects through volunteer or paid positions.

If you want to lead your own research project, you can also seek out a faculty mentor or apply for a research grant through the Conservation Management Institute or other organization.

Faculty research in the news

  • Article Item
    A man wearing a surgical gown, gloves, goggles, and headlamp holds a bat while a masked female student feeds it with a plastic dropper.
    Studying vampire bats to predict the next pandemic , article

    Supported by the National Science Foundation, the team will examine how geography, population traits, and climate change affect the spread of infectious disease from vampire bats to other species, and propose new models for predicting when and where wildlife virus transmission might occur in the future.

    Date: Sep 26, 2022
  • Article Item
    Jennifer Russell and three undergraduate students are wearing protective attire and sorting waste.
    Virginia Tech sustainability research impacts retirement community residents , article

    Through seed funding provided by the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, Jennifer Russell and her students are working with a retirement company to study how it could increase its sustainability efforts.

    Date: Sep 06, 2022