About Physical Geography at UT
The Department of Geography and Sustainability conducts research in multiple areas of Physical Geography: Biogeography, Climate and Environmental History, Geomorphology and Soils, and Human-Environment Interaction and Water Resources.
Geography Major, BA – Climate & Climate Change Concentration
The Climate and Climate Change Concentration provides students with the knowledge necessary to understand past, present, and future global climate patterns and trends. Courses focus on understanding the foundations of global climate patterns, how climate has changed through time, and how climate change has affected people, plants, and animals, the landscape, and natural hazards. Students in this concentration will gain skills in assessing past climate change through proxy records, understanding current weather and climate patterns, and evaluating when and how much climate can be expected to change in the near and far future.
Geography Major, BA – Landscapes & Environmental Change Concentration
The Landscapes and Environmental Change concentration focuses on understanding how landscape and environmental changes, hazards, and disasters have altered the earth’s surface and impacted human populations and societies. Some key questions addressed in the courses in this concentration concern the role humans have played in facilitating landscape and environmental changes. The students completing this concentration will be poised for careers in academia and jobs associated with environmental management and consulting, landscape design and planning, ecological and hazards risk assessment, water resources management, and others.
Climate Change Minor
The Climate Change minor provides students with the knowledge necessary to understand past, present, and future global climate patterns and trends. Courses focus on understanding the foundations of global climate patterns, how climate has changed through time, and how climate change has affected people, plants, and animals, the landscape, and natural hazards.
Broadcast Meteorology Minor
The Broadcast Meteorology minor is an interdisciplinary program between the Department of Geography and the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. Students will learn about meteorology, climatology, and weather forecasting, and develop skills to research, write, produce, and effectively deliver stories on camera.
The Geography minor reflects the discipline’s three main areas—human geography, physical geography, and spatial analysis. The department’s courses allow students to explore the linkages between human activities and natural systems. Students taking geography courses should develop factual knowledge, critical thinking, and analytic skills. Training in geography allows students to know where things are located, why they are located where they are, how and why places differ, how human activity shapes and is shaped by the natural environment, and how to analyze human-environment interactions. A minor in geography consists of 15 hours of geography courses at the 300 level or above. Geography 490, 491, 492, 493 may not be counted toward the minor without departmental permission.
“Geography and supporting technologies like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) contribute to all aspects of our world, including natural resources and infrastructure.”
—Ian Feathers, UT Geography Alum and Solution Engineer, Geodesign and Facilities Division, at Esri
Physical Geography Faculty
Kelsey Ellis (Scheitlin)
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Specialties: Climatology and meteorology.
Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs
Specialties: Physical and environmental geography; spatial data science; GIS/geospatial analysis; decision-making science (focus on human-environment interactions); artificial intelligence techniques.
Specialties: Hydroclimate variability and change, climate change impacts, tropics
Specialties: Remote Sensing, Human-Environment Interactions, Conservation, Savanna Science, Africa, Land Change Science, Physical Geography
Specialties: Quaternary environments, biogeography, prehistoric impacts on the environment, fire history and ecology.
Specialties: Quaternary environments, prehistoric human-environment interactions, tree-ring science, isotope geochemistry, archaeological chemistry.
Karen E. King
Specialties: Dendrochronology, paleoclimate, biogeography, forest ecology, fire-climate interactions.
Specialties: Geomorphology and paleo-climate reconstruction, Cosmogenic nuclides, LiDAR, GIS/spatial analysis, Tibetan Plateau and Tian Shan
Specialties: Coastal Geomorphology, Coastal Management, Remote Sensing and GIS Applications of Coastal Environments
Specialties: Applied Climatology, Data Science, Environmental Modeling, Food, Energy, and Water (FEW)
Journal of Paleolimnology
Lane, C.S., Horn, S.P., Mora, C.I, Orvis, K.H., Finkelstein, D.B. 2011. Sedimentary Stable Carbon Isotope Evidence of Late Quaternary Vegetation and Climate Change in Highland Costa Rica. Journal of Paleolimnology 45, 323–338.
Journal of Hydrology
Tran, L., O’Neill, R.V. 2013. Detecting the effects of land use/land cover on mean annual streamflow in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, USA. Journal of Hydrology, 499:82–90
Lane, C.S., Horn, S.P., Orvis, K.H., Thomason, J.M. 2011. Oxygen Isotope Evidence of Little Ice Age Aridity on the Caribbean Slope of the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. Quaternary Research 75, 461–470.
Caffrey, M.A., Horn, S.P. 2013. The use of lithium heteropolytungstate in the heavy liquid separation of samples which are sparse in Pollen. Palynology 37, 143-150.
Journal of Quaternary Science
Li, Y.K., Liu, G.N., Kong, P., Harbor, J., Chen, Y.X., Caffee, M.W., 2011. Cosmogenic nuclide constraints on glacial chronology in the source area of the Urumqi River, Tian Shan, China. Journal of Quaternary Science 26, 297-304.
Charrier, R., Li, Y.K., 2012. Assessing resolution and source effects of digital elevation models on automated floodplain delineation: a case study from the Camp Creek Watershed, Missouri. Applied Geography 34, 38-46.
International Journal of Wildland Fire
Harley, G.L., Grissino-Mayer, H.D., Horn, S.P., 2013. Fire history and forest structure of an endangered subtropical ecosystem in the Florida Keys, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22, 394–404.
Harley, G.L., Grissino-Mayer, H.D., Horn, S.P., 2011. The Dendrochronology of Pinus elliottii in the Lower Florida Keys: Chronology Development and Climate Response. Tree-Ring Research 67(1), 39–50.
Harden, C.P., 2013. Geomorphology in context: Dispatches from the field. Geomorphology 200, 34–41.