Adding a Master’s Program to the Newly Renamed Department of Environmental Sciences

Emory’s Department of Environmental Studies has a new name, the Department of Environmental Sciences, and a new master’s level degree program through the Laney Graduate School, which will start in the fall of 2014.

“We’re not changing our direction with the new name. We’re reaffirming it,” says Uriel Kitron, who has chaired the department since he arrived at Emory in 2008.

“We felt that ‘Environmental Studies’ did not really convey our strong orientation toward research,” he explains. “The majority of our 11 faculty are focused on the natural and health sciences. We also have a few faculty involved in the social sciences, and we plan to increase their number. ‘Environmental Sciences’ encompasses the full range of what we do.”

The department’s emphasis on research gives students many chances to become involved in analysis, lab and field-work early on, Kitron says. The department has projects based in Atlanta and throughout the world.

Another hallmark of the department is extensive collaborations that cut across the University, from public health to business, law, anthropology, biology and other specialties throughout Emory College. The adjacent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further raises the collaboration quotient and opportunities for research experience.

Read more at eScienceCommons


Tony Martin talks about his new book, “Life Traces of the Georgia Coast”

Environmental Studies Professor Anthony (Tony) Martin talks about his new book, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast (Indiana University Press), an up-close look at the animals and plants of Georgia’s fascinating barrier islands, in this new YouTube video.

Ever wondered who left those tracks on the beach? Using lots of photos and illustrations, Martin presents an overview of the traces left by modern animals and plants in this biologically rich region. He shows how life traces relate to the environments, natural history, and behaviors of their tracemakers, and applies that knowledge toward a better understanding of the fossilized traces that ancient life left in the geologic record.

Dr. Martin is a paleontologist and geologist who specializes in ichnology, the study of modern and ancient traces caused by animal behavior, such as tracks, trails, burrows, and nests. At Emory, he teaches a wide variety of courses in paleontology, geology, and the environmental sciences on campus and in field courses, including study-abroad programs.

Along with his interest in the ichnology of the Georgia barrier islands, he has studied modern traces and trace fossils from elsewhere in the U.S. and other countries, with his most significant discoveries in Australia. He has published many peer-reviewed articles on traces and trace fossils made by plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates representing the last 550 million years of the geologic record.

See more books by Emory faculty at the category link below (also check out Staring and Its Implications in Society by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, and Custerology: Legacy of the Indian Wars & Custer by Michael Elliott).

Participants Needed for John Grade Art Project


The Emory Visual Arts Gallery invites you to be a part of the monumental public art project at Emory University by Seattle-based environmental sculptor John Grade, whose work has gained accolades for its beauty, artistic impact, and non-invasive utilization of biodegradable materials.

Piedmont Divide will draw the public’s attention to water as a natural and often scarce resource through a temporary and non-invasive artistic intervention. Grade’s use of public sculptural art in combination with Emory University’s commitment to sustainability and strengths in science, health, social research, and public health will highlight important conversations between science and art and bring environmental awareness to students, the greater Atlanta community, and the Southeastern region.

There are several ways to get involved:


We need volunteers every day from Tuesday, November 8 through Saturday, November 19, including weekends, to help John Grade build the sculptures. Volunteer locations will include the artist’s studio (located in the Visual Arts Gallery), the Quadrangle and Lullwater Park.


Morning: 9:00 AM – 12 NOON

Afternoon: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Afternoon: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Evening: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Location: Emory Visual Arts Gallery

Wear work clothes and be prepared to work both inside the artist’s studio in the gallery and outside at the project sites. If you can, please bring at least 2 clear plastic bottles (or more!) to help with the bottle collection (see below).


Or contact Volunteer Coordinator, Faith McClure (, 404-727-6315).

This is a great opportunity for…

— local community members interested in volunteering for the arts in Atlanta;

— those interested in environmentalist initiatives;

— Emory classes and student organizations;

— fraternity/sorority community service fulfillments;

— art students and artists looking for experience working with an internationally renowned environmental artist.


We’re collecting over 20,000 clear plastic bottles that will be repurposed to form large-scale sculptural installations in both the Emory Quadrangle and Lullwater Preserve.

Bring your recycled clear plastic bottles to the Emory Visual Arts Gallery.


Please also join us for one or all of these events…

All events at the Visual Arts Gallery unless otherwise noted.

Welcome Reception for John Grade
Monday, November 7 from 7:30–9 pm
Open to the public; RSVP here.

Creativity Conversation with John Grade and Julia Kjelgaard
Wednesday, November 16 at 5 pm
Open to the public; no RSVP required.
Location: Carlos Museum Reception Hall

Dinner & Panel Discussion with John Grade:
The Intersection of Art, Science, and Sustainability
Thursday, November 17 from 6:30 – 8 pm
Open to the public; pizza will be served; no RSVP required.

Paleontologist Martin discovers polar dinosaur tracks


Emory paleontologist and environmental studies professor Tony Martin has led a team that recently discovered a group of more than 20 polar dinosaur tracks on the coast of Victoria, Australia.

Reported in Alcheringa (Journal of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists), the discovery is the largest and best collection of polar dinosaur tracks ever found in the Southern Hemisphere.

“These tracks provide us with a direct indicator of how these dinosaurs were interacting with the polar ecosystems, during an important time in geological history,” says Martin, who is an expert in trace fossils, which include tracks, trails, burrows, cocoons and nests.

Read the complete story and watch Prof. Martin explain the discovery on location in Victoria.

More Resources

Dinosaur Burrow: Oldest evidence found in Australia (2009)

Ecology of St. Catherines Island (about Prof. Martin’s class that visits Georgia’s barrier islands to study coastal ecology and geology)

Emory paleontologist tracks clues to ancient life (Emory Report article, 2007)

Repurpose Your Valentine for Science

Creativity Conversation with Artist Ray Troll (iTunesU)



Connecting martial arts with the environment


What do martial arts and the environment have in common?

In this new YouTube video, Kyle Albers 11C talks about combining his passion for both to research the connections between the two. On his blog, he offers a comparative analysis to view both the evolution of martial arts and natural adaptations of the broader ecosystems that house them.

An Environmental Studies major, Kyle has participated in several on-location environmental research projects including those focused on the weathering and aging of rock monuments in Scotland (with Prof. Stephen Henderson) and feral animal tracking (with Prof. Anthony Martin). He also teaches martial arts, holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, studies To Shin do (Ninjutsu), and is a regular student of Japanese swordsmanship.

If a tree falls in the forest…

In this new YouTube video (recorded the day after Sunday night’s major storm that took down over 40 trees on the Emory campus), Carl Brown in Environmental Studies talks about the fallen trees in the ravine next to Mizell Bridge and the implications for forest succession there and in Baker Woods.

p.s. We’ve received a couple of notes (see below) about that hawk at the end. Can anyone give it a positive id?

Looks like an immature bird for sure, pretty certainly a Broad-winged Hawk, based on its coloration, which is similar to an immature Red-shouldered Hawk’s, but, and more so, because of the relatively chunky build and shorter squared-off tail. [JL]

From what i usually see in the woods around here is coopers and sharp-shinned, both of which have relatively long tails and short wings for better maneuvering among the trees, sort of like fighter jets, and they tend to attack out of ambush as a squirrel hops by. a couple of years ago i ran into some very experienced birders walking in lullwater near one of the coves where that rare starvine plant grows. The birders were not only visually identifying but also by sound (they had a Cornell bird call system with them). they were listening to a hawk calling in a nearby cove and were excited to identify it as….i think….a broad-wing hawk. if i remember correctly they said it wasn’t around here as much as some of the other hawks, and they tended to see more of them in north georgia mountains. Broad-wing hangs around water sometimes, looking for frogs, etc, which might explain the attraction to baker woods/nettie creek. [CB]


Connecting the environment and martial arts

What do martial arts and the natural environment have in common?

Kyle Albers 11C has combined his passion for both fields to research the connections between the two. On his blog, he offers a comparative analysis to view both the evolution of Martial Arts and natural adaptations of the broader ecosystems that house them.

An Environmental Studies major, Kyle has participated in several on-location environmental research projects including those focused on the weathering and aging of rock monuments in Scotland (for Dr. Stephen Henderson, Emory University) and feral animal tracking (for Dr. Anthony Martin, Emory University) through the Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, Bahamas. He also teaches martial arts, holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, studies To Shin do (Ninjutsu), and is a regular student of Japanese swordsmanship.

See the Correspondences between Martial Arts and the Environment blog

College faculty featured in special Emory Report

The following College faculty are spotlighted in a special issue of Emory Report (Jan. 7, 2011) — representing just a few of the faculty helping the University achieve its level of excellence.

  • Carol Anderson, associate professor of African American Studies and author of the book Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2003) won the Gustavus Myers and Bernath Book awards. Her forthcoming book examines the NAACP’s role in revitalizing global freedom movements from 1941 to 1960.
  • Uriel Kitron, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, is now working with more than a dozen Emory undergraduate and graduate students on a large-scale, federally-funded project to help determine why cities like Chicago, Detroit and Denver have a much higher incidence of West Nile Virus than places like Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami.
  • English professor Laura Otis is on a Fulbright Research Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where she is completing a book on visual and verbal thinking.
  • Deboleena Roy, associate professor of women’s studies and neuroscience and behavioral biology, bridges the divide between feminist theory and the natural sciences.

<see full article>