Jul 18, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Sciences

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Chair: Ruth Sofield

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, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with a camera for underwater viewing of the marine environment as well as several small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS; “drones”) equipped with a variety of cameras for land use and land cover mapping. 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.


RUTH M. SOFIELD (2003) Chair and Professor. BA, West Virginia University; MS, McNeese State University; PhD (environmental science and engineering), Colorado School of Mines.
JENISE M. BAUMAN (2014) Associate Professor. BS (horticulture), Eastern Kentucky University; MS (plant pathology), West Virginia University; PhD (botany) Miami University.
CHARLES J. BARNHART (2014) Associate Professor. BS (physics and astronomy), University of Washington-Seattle; PhD (planetary geophysics), University of California-Santa Cruz.
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) Associate 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.
SAM KASTNER (2021) Assistant Professor. BA (Physics and Music) Skidmore College; MS (civil & environmental engineering) University of Washington; PhD (civil & environmental engineering) University of Washington.   
ALIA L. KHAN (2018) Assistant Professor. BS (environmental health science), University of North Carolina; MS (biogeoscience), University of Colorado; PhD (civil and environmental engineering), University of Colorado.
ROBIN B. KODNER (2012)  Associate Professor. BS (paleobiology) University of Wisconsin-Madison; PhD (organisimic and evolutionary biology) Harvard University.
BROOKE A. LOVE (2012) Associate Professor, BS (engineering geology) Stanford University, PhD (chemical oceanography) University of Washington.
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.
ERIKA McPHEE-SHAW (2017) Professor. BA (physics) Dartmouth College; PhD (oceanography) University of Washington.
MANUEL D. MONTAÑO (2018) Assistant Professor. BS (chemistry), Colorado School of Mines; PhD (applied chemistry), Colorado School of Mines.
JOHN M. RYBCZYK (2000) Professor. BS (wildlife biology), Michigan State University; MS (ecosystem biology), Eastern Michigan University; PhD (oceanography and coastal science), Louisiana State University.
IMRAN SHEIKH (2017) Assistant Professor. BS (biomedical engineering), University of Wisconsin; MS, PhD (energy and resources), University of California-Berkeley.
DAVID H. SHULL (2003) Professor. BS (oceanography), University of Washington; MS (oceanography), University of Connecticut; PhD (environmental, coastal and ocean sciences), University of Massachusetts.
FROYLAN E. SIFUENTES (2019) Assistant Professor. BS (chemical engineering) Massachusetts Institute of Technology; MS, PhD (energy and resources) University of California, Berkeley. 
KATHRYN L. SOBOCINSKI (2019) Assistant Professor. BA (environmental studies), Connecticut College; MS (aquatic and fishery sciences) University of Washington; PhD (marine science) The College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. 
ANGELA L. STRECKER (2019) Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Watershed Studies. BSc Honours (biology), University of Regina, PhD (biology), Queen’s University.
DAVID O. WALLIN (1995) Professor. BS (biology), Juniata College; MA (biology), The College of William and Mary; PhD (environmental science), University of Virginia.

Research Faculty

TARANG KHANGAONKAR (2018) Research Professor. BS (naval architecture) Indian Institute of Technology; Masters (ocean engineering), University of Miami; PhD (applied marine physics/ ocean engineering) University of Miami.
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.
JOHN VAVRINEC (2021) Research Professor. B.S. (environmental & forest biology), SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; PhD (Oceanography) University of Maine. 

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.
PETER S. HOMANN 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.
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.
J. RICHARD MAYER Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science. BS, Union College; MA, Columbia University; PhD, Yale University.
BRADLEY F. SMITH Professor Emeritus of College of the Environment. BA, MA, Western Michigan University; PhD, University of Michigan.

Adjunct Faculty

JUDE APPLE, Research Coordinator at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research, PhD (marine and estuarine ecology), University of Maryland.
BARBARA CAMERON, Research Consultant University of New South Wales/Kirby Institute. PhD (immunology) and MSc (Environmental Toxicology). 
TRACY K. COLLIER, Senior Associate and Project Manager, Ocean Associates, Inc. PhD (Fisheries), University of Washington. 
ROGER N. FULLER Coastal Resource Specialist, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, BS (animal science), University of Illinois; MS (plant ecology), University of Washington.
APRIL MARKIEWICZ, MS (environmental science), Western Washington University.
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.

Affiliated Faculty

JOHN BOWER, Professor, Fairhaven College
DON BURGESS, Assistant Professor, SMATE 
CRAIG DUNN, Associate Professor, Management, CBE
BRADY OLSON, Assistant Professor, Biology
ARUNAS OSLAPAS, Professor, Engineering Technology
PHIL THOMPSON, Assistant Professor, Economics, CBE
JOHN TUXILL, Assistant Professor, Fairhaven College

Affiliated Teaching Faculty

CATHERINE AUSTIN, Instructor, PhD Aquatic Science, University of Washington.
JONATHAN BATCHELOR, Instructor, MS Forest Ecosystems with a focus in Forest, Wildlife, and Landscape Ecology. Oregon State University. PhD student, Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis. University of Washington.
BARBARA CAMERON, Instructor, PhD Immunology, University of New South Wales.
HOLLY COE, Instructor, MS Ecosystem Analysis, University of Washington.
GREGORY GREEN, Instructor, MS, Wildlife Ecology, Oregon State University.
MORGAN EISENLORD, Instructor, MS Biology. University of Washington.  PhD student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University. 
NANCY LANE, Instructor, MS Botany-Chemical Ecology, University of South Florida.
CATHERINE REIDY LIERMANN, Instructor, PhD Physical Geography (Ecohydrology) Umea University.
ABE LLOYD, Senior Instructor, MS, Ethnoecology, University of Victoria.
ELI LOOMIS, Instructor, MS, Plant Genetics, University of Montana.
KATRINA POPPE, Instructor, MS, Environmental Science, Western Washington University.
RALPH RILEY, Instructor, PhD, Ecosystem Studies, Stanford University.
CHRIS TRINIES, Instructor, MS Environmental Science, Western Washington University.
RYAN VASAK, Instructor, MS Aquatic Ecology, Western Washington University.


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate ExtensionUndergraduate MinorGraduateCertification


      Environmental Sciences

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

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