News & Events



GEV Faculty Members Awarded a NSF Major Instrumentation Grant 

GEV faculty members Dr. Nat Weston, Dr. Steven Goldsmith, and Dr. Melanie Vile are principal investigators on a recently awarded National Science Faculty Major Research Instrumentation Grant (NSF-MRI; $286,947) for an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS).  The instrument will be housed in the Department and will enable GEV students and faculty to analyze water, sediment, soil and other environmental samples for trace metal contaminants.  The ICP-MS will significantly expand the analytical capabilities and research opportunities within the Department, and is expected to play a vital role in both GEV coursework and research going forward.

Libby O’Brien (’19, Environmental Science) presented her research at the Student Research Symposium sponsored by the Villanova Chapter of Sigma Xi poster on 28 April 2017 (O’Brien, Libby, HM Fillingim, M Schlesinger, and MA Vile. 2017. Digging Deeper to Explore Linkages between Methane and N Cycling in Boreal Peatlands).  Libby’s poster was awarded second place for best student poster presentation.

Julie Greenwald (Environment Studies and Geography, ’19) is among a group of five students selected by Crop Science, a division of Bayer, to represent the United States at the third Youth Ag–Summit!  The summit will take place in Brussels, Belgium, from October 9-13, 2017.  The five U.S. representatives are part of a delegation of 100 students from 49 countries selected to participate in a week-long think tank focused on identifying innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions to address global food security challenges.  Themed "Feeding a Hungry Planet," this year's summit aims to address the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture.  Julie is from Wellesley, Mass., and spent five weeks living and working on organic farms in three Belgian cities this past summer.  Field experience at home and abroad, coursework and personal research have all inspired her to focus her efforts—alongside peers—to discover solutions to one of the most complex problems of our time.  Congratulations, Julie!


This summer, two GEV students assisted Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with humanitarian aid work in Madagascar. Ashley Seyfried ('17, left) and Kristen Black ('18, right) performed geospatial analyses as a part of CRS's Fararano Project. Malagasy for "harvest," this project seeks to provide food, water, and medical treatment to the most underserved populations on the island nation. Their contributions are a part of 12-year partnership between Villanova and CRS, and is a multidisciplinary approach with business, nursing, French, and engineering students. Read more about this exciting work here. We look forward to sending more students next summer!


Devin Smith (’17, Environmental Science), presented her research at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (in Denver Colorado) and won the outstanding student poster award at the conference.  The GSA is one of the major international conferences in the natural and physical sciences with about 15,000 attendees.  Devin competed against undergraduate and graduate students in the Environmental and Engineering Division Geology Student Research Competition.  Devin’s poster, titled Evaluating the Relationship Among Land Use Change, Sediment and Nutrient Export, with Nearshore Coral Health in Southwestern Puerto Rico, was funded (in part) this summer as a VURF.  She did the fieldwork in Puerto Rico with Drs. Steve Goldsmith and Lisa Rodrigues in July and August. Devin is completing a senior thesis under the direction of Dr. Steve Goldsmith’s student.


Shakya, K.M., Rupakheti, M., Shahi, A., Maskey, R., Pradhan, B., Panday, A., Puppala, S.P., Lawrence, M., Peltier, R.E. (2017). Near-road sampling of PM2.5, BC, and fine-particle chemical components in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17: 6503-6516.

Shakya, K.M., Peltier, R.E., Shrestha, H., Byanju, R.M. (2017). Measurements of TSP, PM10, PM2.5, BC, and PM chemical composition from an urban residential location in Nepal. Atmospheric Pollution Research.

Haase, D., Kabisch, S., Haase, A., Andersson, E., Banzhaf, E., Baró, F., Brenck, M., Kremer P., Wolff, M. (2017). Greening cities – To be socially inclusive? About the alleged paradox of society and ecology in cities. Habitat International, 64, 3, 41-48.

Gittleman, M., Farmer, C. J. Q., Kremer, P., & McPhearson, T. (2016). Estimating stormwater runoff for community gardens in New York City. Urban Ecosystems, 5.

Hamstead Z., Kremer P., Larondelle N., McPhearson T., Hasse D. (2016). Classification of the heterogeneous structure of urban landscapes (STURLA) as an indicator of landscape function applied to surface temperature in New York City. Ecological Indicators. 70:574-585.

Grant Award: The National Science Foundation funded the Plum Island Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research (PIE-LTER) project, with Dr. Nat Weston as a principal investigator.  This is a large ($6.7 million) project with multiple investigators that work to understand impacts of land-use change and climate change on the Plum Island, MA ecosystem. Dr. Weston’s work is focused on understanding salt-marsh response to sea-level rise, which is driven largely by carbon cycling and sediment dynamics in the marsh-estuarine system.

Grant Award: Dr. Lisa Rodrigues has received $540,092.00 from the National Science Foundation, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems to assess the physiological and molecular implications of coral bleaching on coral reproduction.  This study is a collaborative award with Jacqueline Padilla-Gamino and Brook Nunn from the University of Washington ($1,055,010.00).  The three-year funded study will use isotopic tracers to assess carbon and nitrogen pathways in corals to better understand how changing climatic conditions affects coral physiology, ultimately coral reproduction. 

Grant Award:  Drs. Peleg Kremer and Kabin Shakya were awarded a summer grant from the Associate Vice Provost for Research to support their project titled, Spatial Variability of Air Pollution In Philadelphia during summer 2017The study aims to investigate the spatial distribution of particulate air pollution (PM2.5) and noise pollution in Philadelphia by using mobile monitoring.

Grant Award:  The Alberta Environment and Parks have awarded $1,046,562 CAD to Dr. R. Kelman Wieder (Biology) and Dr. Melanie Vile to support their research titled, Oil Sands Wetlands Ecosystem Monitoring Network Design (B-MD-10-1718): Atmospheric Deposition Effects on Peatland Ecosystem Biogeochemistry Response Component.”

Society Election: Dr. Lisa Rodrigues was elected by her peers to serve as a Councilor to the International Society for Coral Reef Studies.  This is the leading scholarly organization in her field. 

Keynote Address:  In August 2017, Dr. Melanie Vile and colleagues Mika Schlesinger and Hope Fillingim were invited to give a keynote presentation, titled “Digging Deeper to Explore Linkages between Methane and N Cycling in Boreal Peatlands: Do N2-fixers like it better on top?” at BIOGEOMON, the 9th International Conference on Ecosystem Behavior in Litomšyl, Czech Republic.

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Department of Geography and the Environment
Suite G67, Mendel Science Center
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Tel: (610) 519-3336
Fax: (610) 519-3338

Dr. Barry S. Selinsky

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

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