May 27, 2024  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Sciences

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Chair: David Wallin

Environmental science draws on basic knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological and quantitative aspects of natural systems. The knowledge of how natural systems work is applied to solving problems largely created by human activities. Often these problems are represented by disturbances in the functioning of natural systems. Humans are altering their own life-support systems — the air, the water and the soil. Scales of disturbance range from the molecular and cellular to individuals, populations, ecosystems, and regional and global levels.

Graduates in environmental science enter a wide variety of career paths in local, state and federal governments, universities, and the private sector. Fields include environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry, terrestrial ecology, environmental impact assessment, watershed studies, air pollution control, solid and hazardous waste management, and marine pollution assessment. Many graduates choose to pursue advanced studies.


The interdisciplinary nature of environmental science is reflected in the wide-ranging expertise of the environmental science faculty. Oceanographers, toxicologists, chemists, biologists, limnologists, terrestrial ecologists and others work together as an interdisciplinary team to offer a curriculum grounded in the sciences, but oriented to the understanding and solution of environmental problems. Active engagement in research allows the faculty to bring an analysis of new knowledge into the classroom.

Facilities and Equipment

Facilities are available for teaching laboratory courses and for student research projects. Students gain practical hands-on experience in data collection and analysis in both laboratory and field settings including terrestrial, aquatic, estuarine and marine environments. Specialized equipment is available for a wide variety of applications including toxicological and water quality monitoring (in a state-certified lab), atmospheric chemistry, dendrochronology, global positioning systems, wildlife telemetry, and forest and aquatic habitat characterization. Instrumentation includes an autoanalyzer for phosphorous, carbon and nitrogen, a gamma ray detector for sediment dating and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with a camera for underwater viewing of the marine environment. Extensive computer facilities include a Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing laboratory with state-of-the-art capabilities.

The Shannon Point Marine Center offers access to aquaria and a wide variety of laboratory and field sampling equipment for students interested in the marine environment.

The Canyon Lake Creek Community Forest provides access to 2,300 acres in the foothills of Mt. Baker.

In addition to these university owned facilities, our location provides unparalleled access to public lands that cover a range of environments including the alpine zone, dense old-growth forests, wetlands, lakes, streams, estuaries and the coast.


JOHN M. RYBCZYK (2000) Chair and Professor. BS (wildlife biology), Michigan State University; MS (ecosystem biology), Eastern Michigan University; PhD (oceanography and coastal science), Louisiana State University.
JOHN D. ALL (2015) Research Professor. BA (environmental history and environmental science), Duke University; Masters (environmental ethics certificate), JD (environmental law), University of Georgia; PhD (geography, global change, and applied anthropology) University of Arizona.
JENISE M. BAUMAN (2014) Assistant Professor. BS (horticulture), Eastern Kentucky University; MS (plant pathology), West Virginia University; PhD (botany) Miami University.
CHARLES J. BARNHART (2014) Assistant Professor. BS (physics and astronomy), University of Washington-Seattle; PhD (planetary geophysics), University of California-Santa Cruz.
BRIAN L. BINGHAM (1995) Professor. BS (zoology), MS (zoology), Brigham Young University; PhD (biology), Florida State University.
LEO R. BODENSTEINER (1995) Professor. BA (biology), Moorhead State University; MA (zoology), PhD (zoology), Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
ANDREW G. BUNN (2006) Professor. BS (zoology) The Evergreen State College; MEM (resource ecology) Duke University; PhD (environmental science), Montana State University-Bozeman.
REBECCA BUNN (2010) Associate Professor. BS, (civil engineering), Michigan Technology Institute; MS, (environmental engineering) University of Colorado; PhD (land resources and environmental science), Montana State University.
MARCO B.A. HATCH (2016) Assistant Professor. BS (Aquatic and Fishery Sciences), University of Washington; MS and PhD (Biological Oceanography), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.
JAMES M. HELFIELD (2005) Associate Professor. BA (English), Duke University; MSc (physical geography), University of Toronto; PhD (forest ecology), University of Washington.
STEVEN J. HOLLENHORST (2012) Professor and Dean, Huxley College of the Environment. BS, MS (recreation and park management), University of Oregon; PhD (recreation and park management), The Ohio State University.
PETER S. HOMANN (1996) Professor. BA (natural sciences) and BS (chemistry), Case Western Reserve University; MS (forest ecology), Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; PhD (forest soils, nutrient cycling), University of Washington.
WAYNE G. LANDIS (1989) Professor and Director, Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. BA (biology), Wake Forest University; MA (biology) and PhD (zoology), Indiana University.
BROOKE A. LOVE (2012) Assistant Professor, BS (engineering geology) Stanford University, PhD (chemical oceanography) University of Washington.
ROBIN A. MATTHEWS (1986) Professor and Director, Institute for Watershed Studies. BS (biology), University of California-Riverside; MS (environmental studies), Indiana University; PhD (botany/aquatic ecology), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
JOHN F. McLAUGHLIN (1996) Associate Professor. BA (biological sciences), BA (biochemistry), BA (integrated science program), Northwestern University; MS (biological sciences) and PhD (biological sciences, population biology), Stanford University.
DAVID H. SHULL (2003) Professor. BS (oceanography), University of Washington; MS (oceanography), University of Connecticut; PhD (environmental, coastal and ocean sciences), University of Massachusetts.
RUTH M. SOFIELD (2003) Professor. BA, West Virginia University; MS, McNeese State University; PhD (environmental science and engineering), Colorado School of Mines.
DAVID O. WALLIN (1995) Professor. BS (biology), Juniata College; MA (biology), The College of William and Mary; PhD (environmental science), University of Virginia.

Emeritus Faculty

JOHN T. (JACK) HARDY Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences. BA, University of California-Santa Barbara; MA, Oregon State University; PhD, University of Washington
J. RICHARD MAYER Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science. BS, Union College; MA, Columbia University; PhD, Yale University.
ROBERT L. MONAHAN Professor Emeritus of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences. BA, University of Washington; MA, University of Michigan; PhD, McGill University.
LYNN A. ROBBINS Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies. BA, University of Utah; MA, PhD, University of Oregon.
BRADLEY F. SMITH (1994) Professor Emeritus of Huxley College of the Environment. BA, MA, Western Michigan University; PhD, University of Michigan.
WILLIAM C. SUMMERS Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science. BS, ME, PhD, University of Minnesota.
THOMAS A. TERICH Professor Emeritus of Geography. BA and MA, California State University, Los Angeles; PhD, Oregon State University.
HERBERT H. WEBBER Professor Emeritus of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences. BSc, PhD, University of British Columbia.
MING-HO YU Professor Emeritus of Huxley College. BS, National Taiwan University; MS, PhD, Utah State University.

Adjunct Faculty

JAMES D. ALLAWAY, PhD (natural resources, policy, and planning), Cornell University.
JUDE APPLE, Marine Scientist, Shannon Point Marine Center. PhD (marine and estuarine ecology), University of Maryland.
PAUL DINNEL Marine Scientist, Shannon Point Marine Center. PhD (fisheries), University of Washington.
STEFAN FREELAN, MS (geography), Western Washington University.
JERRY FREILICH, Research and Monitoring Coordinator, Olympic National Park, PhD (aquatic ecology), University of Georgia.
APRIL MARKIEWICZ, MS (environmental science), Western Washington University.
BRADY OLSON, Marine Scientist, Shannon Point Marine Center. PhD (biological oceanography), University of Washington.
CLIFF RICE, PhD, Research Scientist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
MICHAEL G. STONER, Environmental Manager, Port of Bellingham. MS (forest soils), University of Washington.
SUZANNE STROM, Marine Scientist, Shannon Point Marine Center. PhD (biological oceanography), University of Washington.
KATHRYN L. VAN ALSTYNE, Marine Scientist, Shannon Point Marine Center. PhD (marine ecology), University of Washington.
SETH VIDANA, WWU Sustainability Coordinator. MEd (environmental education), Western Washington University.
SAUL WEISBERG, Executive Director, North Cascades Institute. MS (biology), Western Washington University.

Affiliated Faculty

JOHN BOWER, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College
DON BURGESS, Assistant Professor, SMATE 
CRAIG DUNN, Associate Professor, Management, CBE
DAN HAGEN, Professor, Economics, CBE
JILL HECKATHORN, Senior Instructor, PE
VICTOR NOLET, Professor, Woodring College of Education
ARUNAS OSLAPAS, Professor, Engineering Technology
DEBRA J. SALAZAR, Professor, Department of Political Science
DAVID SATTLER, Professor, Department of Psychology
STEPHEN D. SULKIN, Professor and Director, Shannon Point
PHIL THOMPSON, Assistant Professor, Economics, CBE
JOHN TUXILL, Assistant Professor, Fairhaven College


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate ExtensionUndergraduate MinorGraduate


      Environmental Sciences

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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