Luther offers many opportunities for students to engage in research with faculty in Environmental Studies. In areas ranging from history and policy to ecology and climate science, Luther students gain firsthand experience researching pressing environmental issues. Supported by the Dean's Office and by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and other organizations, dozens of environmental studies majors have spent a summer doing intensive research. For more information on applying for summer research, contact the program director.

Luther faculty who research topics related to environmental studies:
Anita Carrasco (Anthropology)
Eric Baack (Biology)
Jodi Enos-Berlage (Biology)
Kirk Larsen (Biology)
Beth Lynch (Biology)
Molly McNicoll (Biology)
Dawn Reding (Biology)
Brad Chamberlain (Chemistry)
Laura Peterson (Chemistry and Environmental Studies)
Steve Holland (Economics and Business)
David Faldet (English)
Andrew Hageman (English)
Richard Bernatz (Mathematics)
Jon Jensen (Philosophy and Environmental Studies)
Rachel Brummel (Political Science and Environmental Studies)
James Martin-Schramm (Religion)

Recent student research projects

Summer 2017

Max Eness (Env. Studies / Philosophy, '20) & Dr. Eric Baack.  Examination of drug-resistant bacteria in Decorah's springs, streams, and rivers.

Anna Holey (Env. Studies '18) & Dr. Kirk Larsen.   Preferences of monarch butterflies for different species of milkweeds.

Halina Pyzdrowski (Env. Studies '18) &  Drs. Rachel Brummel, Carly Foster, and Jon Jensen.  Resilience of NE Iowa communities in the face of flooding.

Nikhil Thacker (Env. Studies '18) & Dr. Beth Lynch.   Bumble bee use of prairie and forest floral resources.

Shelja Thakur (Env. Studies '18) & Dr. Molly McNicoll.  Effects of deer on NE Iowa forests.

Susie Wold (Env. Studies '20) &  Dr. Laura Peterson.   Erosion and sedimentation in the Dry Run Creek watershed SW of Decorah.

Summer 2016

Josiah Baker (Env. Studies '18) and Maddie McLean (Env. Studies '18) & Dr. Rachel Brummel.  Conservation reserve planting pollinator policy implementation in the Driftless Region.

Alice McNamara (Env. Studies '17) & Dr. Molly McNicoll.  Effect of prescribed woodland fire on buckthorn density.  Research presented as a poster that the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, University of Illinois, March 2017.

Shannon Meehan (Env. Studies / Biology, '18) & Dr. Kirk Larsen.  Monarch butterfly use of milkweed species.  Research presented at the Entomological Society Meetings, 2016. 

Cassandra Peterson (Env. Studies / Biology, '17) & Dr. Dawn Reding.  Using molecular sex testing to determine sex specific bat mortality due to a wind turbine.  Presented at the Midwest Bat Working Group, 2017.

Matthew Peterson (Env. Studies / Biology, '17) & Dr. Kirk Larsen.  Effect of woodland burns on ground beetle diversity and abundance.  Presented at the Entomological Society Meetings, 2016.

Sheri Schwert (Env. Studies / Chemistry, '17) & Drs. Jack Hedstrom and Eric Baack.  Characerization of sinkhole-spring connections in NE Iowa using dye tracing.  Presented at the Iowa Ground Water Association, 2016, and at the Iowa Environmental Council conference on 'Karst, Livestock, and Water Quality", 2017.


Recent publications

Brummel, B.  2016.  Mobilizing place: examining mobility, identity, and boundary in the politics of Asian carp.  Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6:765-769.

Carrasco, A.  2016.   A biography of water in Atacama, Chile:  two indigenous community responses to the extractive encroachments of mining.  Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 21:130-150.

Herbert TD, Lawrence KT, Tzanova A,  Peterson LC, Caballero-Gill R, Kelly CS.  2016.  Late Miocene global cooling and the rise of modern ecosystems.  Nature Geoscience 9: 843-847.