Research Themes

Crane in wetland. Source: Jay Langlois.

Cross-Cutting Environmental Research Themes at Ohio State

Faculty in the environmental sciences at Ohio State follow their curiosity, but they are also attracted by tricky, complex problems. Our researchers focus on a dizzying array of problems, narrowly focused or global in scale, but a few common research themes have emerged across this vast diversity.

Blue sky mountains image

Climate Change

Glaciers, climate change and sea level, atmospheric sciences, contemporary and paleo climate; ecosystem and biodiversity impacts, greenhouse gas monitoring and mitigation, freshwater quantity and quality, economic modeling, coastal community adaptation and mitigation; changes in ecosystem services, risk and decision science, education and community engagement, agricultural impacts and strategies.

Rushing water


Freshwater ecology, wetlands; aquatic geochemistry; water quantity; hydrology and hydrodynamics; modeling and sensing; physical, ecological, social/cultural, economic watershed dynamics; agricultural water management and impact; nutrient and contaminant science and technology; water treatment; remediation and mitigation.

Ohio farmland


Sustainable food production and global food security; innovations for soil, pests, water, air, rural economies; life cycle and other holistic analysis of food systems at various scales; bioproducts and ecological engineering of agroecosystems.

NASA city satellite

Urban Ecosystems

Remediation of water, air and soil systems for improved ecosystem services including health and food; species diversity, invasives and sustainable pest management in urban ecosystems; planning and policy for environmental and economic sustainability.

Wind power


New and modified sustainable energy technologies including bioproducts, solar and wind; global, ecosystem, human health and economic impacts of energy production and consumption; planning and policy analysis for large-scale sustainable energy systems

Kid on beach


Infectious diseases; emerging and legacy contaminants in water, air and soil; risk and decision science; education and community engagement in public health.

These themes are emergent properties of a complex system--a large and productive university--and are not listed here to be pigeon-holes. In fact, as broad as these categories are, many of our researchers belong to several of them.