The Geosciences department researches past and present water patterns on Earth, including a variety of subjects related to drought, climate, and sea level. Additionally, Geoscience faculty specialize in studying the paleo aspects of water, specifically paleolimnology, paleoclimate, and paleoenvironmental topics. The department is also part of the Research Coordination Network for the Colorado River Delta, which facilitates international research on the variability of the water in the Colorado River and effects on the surrounding landscapes.
Natural Resources and the Environment
The School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE) forms part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and works with water on multiple levels, from measuring the hydrologic flow of a single wash, to conducting large-landscape ecosystem studies. SNRE offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees that encompass wildlife and fishers science, conservation and management, rangeland ecology, watershed management and ecohydrology, and global change ecology and management, multi-day workshops, international initiatives, community programs, and decision support tools that integrate water with other natural resources and with the communities that depend on them. In addition to the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Natural Resources and the Environment, the school is the home to the M.S. in Water, Society and Policy.
Soil, Water and Environmental Science
The Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science (SWES) specializes in soil, sediment, and engineered systems, and the resources that immediately surround them. There are four main areas of research: critical zone science (near-surface environments), water quality and sustainability, pollution dynamics and mitigation, and arid and semiarid agriculture. SWES also has a large and well-known extension program with strong connections to private, governmental and tribal organizations. The extension manages six projects intended as decision support tools for the public on topics such as agriculture, aquaculture, mining, weather, and climate.
Chemical and Environmental Engineering
The Chemical and Environmental Engineering (CHEE) mission includes developing technology in the areas of contaminant detection and remediation, environmental technology, biotechnology, and nano-scale device manufacturing in order to foster the knowledge-based economy in Arizona and the nation. Many of these technologies apply to water use and quality. Research projects in CHEE have led to developments in real-time water sensors, desalination facilities, and contaminant removal. The department also houses the SRC/Sematech Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing. Faculty members are active in the Superfund Research Program and algae biofuels research on campus.
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (CEEM) explores topics such as modeling hydrodynamics, sediment transport, bank erosion, alluvial channel developing processes, and water reuse, supply and distribution. Faculty teams also work on decision support models for real-world water management applications. CEEM has a student internship placement program, which can help students to work in professional environments related to water.
The School of Plant Sciences is devoted to the study of plants, how they grow, how they respond to their environment, how they evolved, how they can be manipulated, and their fungal, bacterial, and viral interactions. Plant Sciences faculty investigate the roles plants play in ecosystems and crop production, as well their uses as biofuels and biomedicinal compounds. The School of Plant Sciences contains laboratories on the main University of Arizona campus and at two field stations, the Maricopa Agricultural Research Center, and the Yuma Agricultural Center.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology studies the nature and principles underlying ecological and evolutionary processes, the origin and maintenance of biodiversity, and the diversity and dynamics of the world’s natural systems. Its focus spans from molecular genetics and organismal function as they relate to evolution and ecology to population and community ecology, biological diversity, phylogeny, and macroevolution. Of particular water-related interest to the Department are desert habitats (especially the Sonoran Desert) and the taxonomic groups which inhabit them.
Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences studies the recognized areas of hydrologic and atmospheric science: catchment hydrology, environmental risk and uncertainty, groundwater modeling, interaction of surface and subsurface hydrology, contaminant fate and transport, weather forecasting, remote sensing, and hydrometeorology. Faculty members collaborate with visiting professors and international communities and offer professional advice to Arizona communities.
Arizona Cooperative Extension
The Cooperative Extension, an outreach arm of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, serves as a statewide network of knowledgeable faculty and staff that provides lifelong educational programs for all Arizonans. It is part of a nationwide network that helps people solve problems and puts knowledge to use. Water-related programs include aquaculture, watershed stewardship, irrigation water management, onsite wastewater, safe drinking water, smartscaping and turfgrass.
Biosphere 2 serves as a center for research, outreach, teaching and lifelong learning. The facility is the world’s largest controlled environment for studying how ecosystems, water and biogeochemistry interact. The Biosphere 2 Science Program addresses societal grand challenges related to water, environmental and energy management through design of large-scale experimentation such as the Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) http://b2science.org/leo/about.
Climate Assessment for the Southwest
Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) assesses the impacts of climate variability and longer-term climate change on human and natural systems in the Southwest. CLIMAS is designed to improve the ability of the region to respond sufficiently and appropriately to climatic events and climate changes.
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research
The Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research is recognized worldwide as a preeminent center for the advancement of tree-ring techniques and the broad application of dendrochronology in the social and environmental sciences. Research programs include fire history and fire ecology, multiproxy paleoclimatology, archaeology, biogeography, isotope geochemistry, paleoecology, biogeochemistry, geomorphology, numerical and statistical modeling and even public health.
Superfund Research Program
The Superfund Research Program uses an interdisciplinary approach to study hazardous waste issues in the U.S. Southwest and the Mexico border. Biomedical and environmental scientists collaborate to investigate risks, develop remediation strategies and translate research findings to government stakeholders and the affected community. Research focuses on arsenic, chlorinated solvents and mine tailings.
Arizona Remote Sensing Center
The mission of the Arizona Remote Sensing Center, a project of the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, is to employ remote sensing and geospatial technologies to solve natural, agricultural, and cultural resource problems in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. This mission involves both basic and applied research in support of the operational application of geospatial technologies and their extension to stakeholders, the integration of field and remote sensing data and analysis, modeling of coupled human and natural systems, and the deployment of decision support systems.
Catalina-Jemez Critical Zone Observatory
The Catalina-Jemez Critical Zone Observatory is based at the University of Arizona in Tucson and consists of approximately 35 investigators, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and collaborators. The goal of the Catalina-Jemez CZO is in improving our understanding of the function, structure and co-evolution of biota, soils, and landforms that comprise the critical zone. The observatory is designed as a natural laboratory for the earth science community to test hypotheses related to CZ function in relation to climatic and water cycle variation.
Controlled Environment Agriculture Center
The Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) offers an innovation platform for plant physiology, sensor technology and applied computer technology research and supports education, research, and extension/outreach as part of the Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering and the School of Plant Sciences. Its facilities include advanced technology greenhouses, hydroponic growth chambers, and laboratory and teaching facilities.