May 23, 2024  
2011-2012 Catalog 
2011-2012 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Sciences

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Chair: Leo R. Bodensteiner

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, 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 which include a Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing laboratory with state-of-the-art capabilities.

The Hannegan Center, a nearby off campus facility, provides opportunities for field oriented and mesocosm-type studies of both aquatic and terrestrial systems.

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.


LEO R. BODENSTEINER (1995) Chair and Associate Professor. BA (biology), Moorhead State University; MA (zoology), PhD (zoology), Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
BRIAN L. BINGHAM (1995) Professor. BS (zoology), MS (zoology), Brigham Young University; PhD (biology), Florida State University.
ANDREW G. BUNN (2006) Associate Professor. BS (zoology) The Evergreen State College; MEM (resource ecology) Duke University; PhD, Montana State University-Bozeman (environmental science).
REBECCA BUNN (2010) Assistant Professor. BS, (Civil Engineering), Michigan Technology Institute; MS, (Environmental Engineering) University of Colorado; PhD (Land Resources and Environmental Science), Montana State University.
JAMES M. HELFIELD (2005) Assistant Professor. BA (English), Duke University; MSc (physical geography), University of Toronto; PhD (forest ecology), University of Washington.
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.
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.
JOHN M. RYBCZYK (2000) Associate Professor. BS (wildlife biology), Michigan State University; MS (ecosystem biology), Eastern Michigan University; PhD (oceanography and coastal science), Louisiana State University.
DAVID H. SHULL (2003) Associate Professor. BS (oceanography), University of Washington; MS (oceanography), University of Connecticut; PhD (environmental, coastal and ocean sciences), University of Massachusetts.
BRADLEY F. SMITH (1994) Professor and Dean, Huxley College of the Environment. BA (political science and international relations) and MA (political science and public administration), Western Michigan University; PhD (School of Natural Resources and Environment), University of Michigan.
RUTH M. SOFIELD (2003) Associate 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.

Adjunct Faculty

JAMES D. ALLAWAY , PhD (natural resources, policy, and planning), Cornell University.
KATHERINE BARIL, Extension Faculty, Chair, Community Leadership and Natural Resources, Washington State University. JD, University of Puget Sound.
DWIGHT BARRY, Education Outreach Coordinator, Peninsula College, PhD (environmental science), University of North Texas.
WILLARD BROWNELL, Ecoquest, New Zealand.
LISA BROWN, Executive Director Critical Junctures Institute Doctor of.Public Health (environmental health), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
RABEL J. BURDGE (1996) Visiting Professor. BS (agriculture/economics) and MS (rural sociology), Ohio State University; PhD (sociology), Penn State University.
ERIC CRECELIUS, Senior Research Scientist, Battelle Marine Science Laboratory. PhD (oceanography), University of Washington.
ANTHONY CUMMINGS, Ecoquest, New Zealand.
JAMES S. DARLING, Executive Director, Port of Bellingham.
JAMES DAVIS, President of Conservation Partnership Center, PhD (ecology/etymology), University of California-Berkeley.
PAUL DINNEL Resident Scientist, Shannon Point Marine Center. PhD (fisheries), University of Washington.
JERRY FREILICH, Research and Monitoring Coordinator, Olympic National Park, PhD (aquatic ecology), University of Georgia.
JEFFREY GIESON, North Cascades Institute.
TIMOTHY HALL, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Marine Research Laboratory, Anacortes, WA. MS (biology), Central Washington University.
MIMI LARSON BECKER, Associate Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, University of New Hampshire. PhD (international environmental resource policy), Duke University.
PETER MADISON, Ecoquest, New Zealand.
SCOTT L. McCREERY, President and Chief Environmental Specialist of Environmental Compliance Options.
CASSANDRA NOBLE, JD, University of Washington School of Law.
PONGSAK (LEK) NOOPHAN, Adjunct Faculty, Thammasat University, Patumthany Province, Thailand, PhD (environmental science and engineering), Colorado School of Mines.
WALTER H. PEARSON, Batelle Laboratory. PhD (oceanography), Oregon State University.
CLIFFORD G. RICE, Wildlife Biologist, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington.
RALPH RILEY, Earthwatch. PhD, Stanford University.
JEAN ROUSSEAU, Political Scientist, Quebec, Canada.
WENDY STEFFENSEN, Acting Technical Supervisor, Public Works, Operations, City of Bellingham.
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 ALSTYN, Professor, Marine Scientist/Information Services Specialist, Shannon Point Marine Center.

Affiliated Faculty

RANDALL S. BABCOCK, Professor, Department of Geology.
DANIEL L. BOXBERGER, Professor, Department of Anthropology.
GEORGE T. CVETKOVICH, Professor, Department of Psychology.
DAVID T. MASON, Professor, Fairhaven College.
DEBRA J. SALAZAR, Professor, Department of Political Science.
MAURICE SCHWARTZ, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geology.
MART A. STEWART, Professor, Department of History.
STEPHEN D. SULKIN, Professor and Director, Shannon Point
DON C. WILLIAMS, Professor, Department of Biology.

Undergraduate Degrees and Programs

Environmental Science, BS 

Environmental Science — Toxicology Emphasis, BS 

Environmental Science — Freshwater Ecology Emphasis, BS 

Environmental Science — Marine Ecology Emphasis, BS 

Environmental Science — Terrestrial Ecology Emphasis, BS 

Environmental Science Extension Major, BS 

Environmental Science Minor 

Graduate Degrees and Programs

Environmental Science, Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, Thesis, MS 

Environmental Science, Freshwater Ecology, Thesis, MS 

Environmental Science, Marine and Estuarine Science (MES), Thesis, MS 

Environmental Science, Regional, Global and Terrestrial Ecosystems, Thesis, MS 

Environmental Sciences Courses


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