Environmental Science & Design | Division of Research & Sponsored Programs | Kent State University

Environmental Science and Design

We’re excited to have launched the Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative last fall!

The ESDRI is committed to supporting research concerning both natural and built systems and advancing conversations about the complex, dynamic relationships between humanity and the environment in this new era of global human influence – the Anthropocene. In support of this mission, we’ve developed opportunities and programming to build our research community.

With support from the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs, we will provide opportunities that aid faculty in developing innovative products and solutions, collaborative research efforts, and procure extramural funding for research related to one or more of ESDRI’s areas of focus.

These include water resources, hydrology, and biogeochemistry; Planning, urban design, landscape design, built ecologies, and settlement patterns; architecture, product design, fashion and the environment; human health and well-being; Socioeconomic systems and the environment; ecology and the evolution of biological diversity; and bio-design.

The stories in this section offer just a sample of the great research we conduct in these areas every day. We hope you enjoy them.

Dr. Christopher Blackwood,
Diane Davis-Sikora, RA

Biologist Partners With Toledo Colleague To Make Water Safer

Biologist Partners With Toledo Colleague To Make Water Safer

The toxic algae bloom crisis in Toledo in 2014 put the issue of water treatment front and center, and problems like those in Flint, Michigan, and Sebring, Ohio have only added more weight to the discussion.

Waste to Value

Waste to Value

Open water placement of dredged material in Lake Erie will be banned in the State of Ohio after July 1, 2020. However, eight federal navigation harbors built along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast still need to remove more than 1.5 million cubic yards of sediment.

What to do with this large amount of material removed from the ports in Ohio poses a major challenge. Securing the dredged material in a confined disposal facility (CDF) is costly. An alternative approach is to reuse the dredged material as a construction and landscaping material.

Seeking Answers In the Arctic

Seeking Answers In the Arctic

Arctic permafrost typically functions as a vast freezer that preserves decaying plant matter for thousands of years, but rapidly warming climate is thawing permafrost and accelerating decomposition. Increased plant growth is needed to capture carbon that is released from decomposing organic matter, but plant growth depends on whether plants can extract critical nutrients from the soil. Supported by a $100,000 from the National Science Foundation, two of Kent State’s early career researchers are exploring nutrient dynamics in arctic and boreal ecosystems.

toxic waters

Teaming Up To Tackle Toxic Waters

Like a financial analyst who pores over numbers to predict the next big trend, Joseph Ortiz, Professor of Geology at Kent State University, is an expert at crunching earth data.

Up on the Roof

Up On The Roof

What some call a sustainable answer to urban flaws, Anna Droz calls research. As a biological sciences doctoral student in Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Droz’s curiosity has developed into a passion, maybe even an obsession, to discover the best vegetative roof combinations with the optimal plants, soil, and micro-organism communities.

Road Construction Leads to Wetlands Research On Campus

Road Construction Leads to Wetlands Research On Campus

For anyone who has traveled to Kent State over the summer, the Summit Street construction project has been quite an inconvenience for drivers. For Lauren Kinsman-Costello, though, it’s an opportunity to make the campus more ecologically friendly and establish trends in biology, chemistry, geology and ecology.