Developing practical solutions to environmental problems

Avian Ecology

Birds are among the easiest wildlife to observe, and they spark fascination in scientists and hobbyists alike. They connect us with the outdoors, and by observing birds, we expand our knowledge of the natural world. Over the past half-century, bird populations have decreased by about 3 billion birds. Researchers at URI are contributing to our understanding of the feeding, breeding, and migration patterns of birds and how to overcome the challenges posed by climate change and habitat loss.

What We do

Wildlife conservation

Wildlife plays a key role in the world’s ecosystems, providing balance and alerting us to environmental threats. Population growth, wildlife displacement, invasive species, climate change, pollution, hunting, and fishing all present growing challenges to many animal species. Researchers at URI are studying the relationship between wildlife and their habitats and working with natural resources organizations to devise sustainable solutions and educate people about wildlife conservation.

What we Do

Soil Science

Soils are the functional foundation of terrestrial ecosystems. Plants and animals alike are dependent upon soil for vital resources. The study of soil, its physical processes, microbial activities, ecological interactions, and nutrient cycling help communities develop better techniques for food production and environmental remediation. It also helps human societies make better choices about environmental issues involving land use, soil contamination, groundwater quality, and waste disposal.

What we do

Environmental data and remote sensing

The ability to gather and analyze information—beyond what our senses alone can detect—helps us synthesize complex information to assess human impacts on ecosystems and manage land effectively. URI is on the forefront of obtaining, analyzing, and modeling of remote sensing data, such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and information from other types of instrumentation. Researchers at URI collaborate and share their expertise with state, and national agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations.

What we do

Forest ecosystems and ecology

Forests are a critical part of global efforts to address climate change. They play an essential role in the carbon cycle, help preserve biodiversity, and drive sustainable growth. Increasing and maintaining forests will continue to be an important priority for future generations. With about 60% of the state is covered by forests, Rhode Island is a unique place to conduct research.

What we do

Wetland and Watershed Science

The effective management of our watersheds and wetland environments is critical to maintaining healthy waterways, maintaining wildlife populations, controlling floods and preserving these unique natural resources. Researchers at URI incorporate information drawn from the distribution and movement of water, wildlife ecology, soil science, plant ecology, and biogeochemistry to build our understanding of how to protect these complex ecosystems.

What we do