Environmental science is an interdisciplinary discipline integrating physical and biological sciences to study the Earth’s environment and investigate methods to solve natural and man-made environmental problems.
Some research areas within the environmental sciences are ecology, biodiversity, environmental chemistry, energy (natural and man-made), environmental geology, and environmental policy and planning, natural systems, conservation/preservation, and sustainability.
Geosciences (Earth Sciences)
Geosciences – disciplines that research the planet Earth, including, but not limited to, the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. Geography, GIS, environmental science and cartography are interwoven within the research methodologies of geosciences. Tools from biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics are regularly used to understand how the Earth works and continues to evolve. Some of the sub-disciplines are: climatology, paleoclimatology, paleontology, biogeography, oceanography, hydrology, limnology, geology, geophysics, mineralogy, and petrology.
- Earth Exploration Toolbook – A collection of online Earth system science activities and data used to investigate and introduce the geosciences and environmental sciences.
- Environmental Science in the 21st Century – An Online Textbook – An open-source textbook developed by the Department of Geosciences, Texas A&M University. Although this online textbook focuses on environmental geosciences, it is still useful in order to gain broad knowledge about key geosciences issues and concepts.
- Geology.com – Current information and educational resources about geology and related disciplines
- Geology Online: 105 Sites That Rock--Informal blogs and peer reviewed journals are both represented here to provide the full range of information and speculation on geology, hydrology, and volcanology
- MITOpenCourseware: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences – See especially Introduction to Geology, Environmental Earth Science
- National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) – Provides geophysical data for earth sciences.
- The Sophia Open Content Initiative: Physical Geography – An open-source content provider/creator licensed by the Creative Commons. This online course/text provides general information about physical geography/geosciences. Very easy to understand and use.
- U.S. Geological Survey
- USGS and Science Education – Scientific information to help educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues that affect our quality of life.
- Climate Science from an Information Perspective (2010) (Video, ~60 min.) – Overview of climate science presented by Dr. Matthew Barlow, University of Massachusetts Lowell, at Science Boot Camp 2010. Includes discussion of the many science disciplines that climate science encompasses, and climate change. Discusses the controversial perceptions of climate change among scientists and non-scientists.
- Climate Change: Sea Level Rise and Estuarine Response (2010) (Video, ~60 min.) – Dr. Brian Howes of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth discusses effects of climate change on sea level and estuaries. Presented at Science Boot Camp 2010.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica geography is the study of the Earth’s physical environment, human habitats, and the effects of human and animal activities on the Earth. Traditionally, geography was only associated with the exploration and mapping of the Earth, now it boasts numerous subfields and geographers use various research methods and tools to analyze the interrelationships between Earth, its peoples, societies and animals.
Physical geography – the study and analysis of landforms (geomorphology), water (hydrology), climate and meteorology (climatology), biotic environment (biogeography) and soils (pedology).
Human geography – the analysis and research into how humans interact with their physical, social and cultural environments. Focus areas are urban, regional and environmental planning; cultural geography (economics, political, ethnic/gender issues, transportation, etc).
Cartography – the development of techniques and applications supporting spatial analytical studies or the display of information and data. Geographers interpret, design, use and produce maps in print, digital or conceptual formats. (See GIS)
Resources for Maps and Imagery
- Data Management Information from the Integrated Earth Data Applications site (2014)-Guide to data discovery tools, data management tools, best practices, and publishing data.
- Nongeospatial Metadata for the Ecological Sciences (1997) – Paper presents benefits and costs for developing and implementing generic metadata descriptors for nongeospatial ecological data; strategies for metadata implementation that meet organizational or investigator-specific objectives and recommendations for future development and implementation of ecological metadata.
- The Fractured Lab Notebook: undergraduates and ecological data management training in the United States (2012) – Discusses results of survey sent to 48 major educational institutions about coverage of data management topics in undergraduate ecology courses.