Research & Programs

Geography Department faculty at Portland State University are engaged in research in a variety of areas, including Physical Geography, Human Geography, Geography Information Science, and other special topics. Annual external funding of research totals in excess of $1 million. More information on faculty research interests may be found on their home pages.

Faculty research interests in Physical and Environmental Geography include:  effects of climate change on regional water resources; spatial patterns of urban development and water quality; assessment of ecosystem services in rapidly urbanizing areas; integrated water resources management; hydrogeomorphic impacts of land change on stream channels; ecogeomorphology of dam removal and dike removal; plant biogeography; disturbance ecology and vegetation dynamics; climate-fire-human relationships. 

- The Climate Science Lab is a team of PSU students, researchers, and faculty dedicated to advancing our scientific understanding of weather, climate variability, and climate change in Portland and beyond.

More information at the Climate Science Lab website

- The Global Environmental Change Lab supports research in the areas of vegetation dynamics and disturbance ecology (fire, insect outbreaks, volcanic eruptions, and other disturbances), landscape ecology, land use change, forest policy and management practices, and biochemistry, and relies on cross-scale approaches that include statistical and process-based modeling, dendrochronology, GIS and remote sensing, and geospatial modeling. 

More information at the Global Environmental Change Lab website.

- The Water as an Integrated System and Environment (WISE) Research Lab offers collaborative educational and research opportunities for students, faculty, and community partners who are interested in transdisciplinary water research topics including runoff, water quality, water demand, floods, and water ecosystem services.  

More information at the WISE Lab website


Faculty research interests in Cultural and Human Geography include:  the role of culture in giving character to places in urban, rural, and overseas locations; how human actions (agriculture, urbanization, resource use) have modified landscapes; analysis of place and landscape; culture history; cultural and political ecology; rural landscapes; urban form; urban natural areas; environmental history and policy; wildland resource management.

Visit the Human Ecology Mapping website.

Faculty research interests in Geographic Information Science include: design and automation of GIS databases; thematic data extraction from remotely sensed data, spatial and statistical analysis of geographic data; cartographic design and visualization of spatial information; and the development of spatial decision support systems in applications that include emergency response, natural resources management, hydrological modeling, land use and land-cover change, and geographic education.


Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of one's sex or gender, which includes sexual harassment. Portland State University's Title IX Coordinator is Julie Caron, 503.725.4410, PSU's Title IX Deputy Coordinator is Yesenia Gutierrez: 503.725.4413, The Title IX Coordinators can assist you with addressing any concerns or in filing an internal complaint through the Office of Equity and Compliance.

If you have questions about filing a complaint with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) you may contact the Western Region’s office at 206-607-1600 or

Information regarding NASA-funded nondiscriminatory policies, and how to make a complaint with NASA, can be found in the NASA MissionSTEM brochure.