The Department's physical geography research and teaching activities provide a solid foundation for the next generation of physical geographers to address current and future topics related to the physical earth, environment, and climate.
The Earth and its environment represent a complex and dynamic system that has undergone change for millions of years. For most of this time, changes to Earth's physical environment could be attributed to natural processes, but in the era of human activity, anthropogenic processes have become more important. Current direction for earth and environmental research is (1) to study past, current, and future interactions among the continents, oceans, atmosphere, ice, and life; (2) to understand the relative roles of human-induced and natural processes in these interactions; and (3) to understand and predict changes in Earth's physical environment.
Physical geography is the study of the physical earth and encompasses spatial and temporal analyses of the physical and biological elements and processes that comprise the environment: air, water, energy, weather, climate, land, animals, and plants. The University of Georgia's Department of Geography has a strong emphasis in physical geography, as reflected by its research portfolio, faculty composition, and available resources. The Department's physical geography research and teaching activities provide a solid foundation for the next generation of physical geographers to address current and future topics related to the physical earth, environment, and climate. Broad research interests within the Department include (click on a topic for more information): (1) Paleo-Environments, (2) Geomorphic Systems, (3) Vegetation Dynamics and Ecological Modeling, (4) Cryosphere-Hydrosphere Processes, (5) Weather-Climate Processes and (6) Biogeography. The Department also offers a certificate program in Atmospheric Sciences.
These broader areas embody a larger array of research topics that, at times, enable interdisciplinary collaboration with Departmental colleagues in human geography and geographic information systems. Physical geography researchers within the Department also have strong collaborative ties and intellectual exchanges with other campus departments, including the Institute of Ecology, Department of Geology, Department of Marine Sciences, Department of Plant Biology, Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering, and the Center for Remote Sensing and Mapping Science.