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Examples of CES research can be found on VCU Scholars Compass.

The Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University offers active, funded research programs in a wide range of disciplines. Our faculty, staff and graduate students have earned recognition for their innovative and relevant research.

What we discover in the natural world carries over to breakthroughs in policy, health and technology. That’s what helps us maintain strong collaborations with government agencies, other universities and the private sector.

Specific areas of research expertise include:

  • Environmental policy, law and economics
  • Conservation biology and ecosystem restoration
  • Biogeochemistry and earth science
  • Environmental applications of geospatial technology

Our faculty and student scholars use VCU’s Rice Rivers Center to study the diverse habitats along the James River. The 494-acre field laboratory is prime real estate for students interested in river ecology, wetlands restoration and the conservation of species that interact with these ecosystems.

Beyond the center, our faculty and affiliates collaborate with colleagues in Haiti, Panama, Bangladesh, Italy and Lithuania.

Collaborative programs

We maintain active research and training partnerships with stakeholders including federal, state and private environmental agencies. These partnerships mean we have access to extensive data archives, training and internship opportunities, and a network of geographic information system professionals.

Our faculty and graduate students conduct a wide range of spatial data research, from environmental epidemiology to pollution detection. They also analyze wetlands and critical habitats for species including the bald eagle and eastern cougar in Virginia.

Virginia Healthy Waters Initiative

Through the Virginia Healthy Waters Initiative, the center works with several environmental agencies to create a database of streams and rivers in Virginia. Biologists use the database to give each waterway a health score based on the composition and diversity of its aquatic life. Records include species from the macroinvertebrate community up to fish, and the adjacent habitat.

Our Interactive Stream Assessment Resource application hosts data from more than 2,000 field collections. The application enables user-driven queries and mapping functions used in conservation and management efforts.

Center for Conservation Biology

We work with the College of William & Mary to conduct primary research for The Center for Conservation Biology partnership of professional and public conservationists focused on the welfare of bird species. Our research informs the center’s conservationists, who find practical applications for land management and are often cited by government and nonprofit agencies.

The center, which is the premier avian research unit in the mid-Atlantic region, allows our students to gain another window into real-world application of its classroom lessons.


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Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU Life Sciences | Center for Environmental Studies | 1000 West Cary Street | Richmond, Virginia 23284-2030
(804) 828-7202 | ces_web@vcu.edu
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