geography

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Galápagos: A Gateway for Global Research

For more than 10 years, the UNC Center for Galápagos Studies has been a hub of collaborative research activity spanning many disciplines, with the potential to impact the globe. Diego Riveros-Iregui and Amanda Thompson, the center’s new interim co-directors, strive to use their own experiences from the islands to expand its reach and grow its reputation as a world-renowned research institution.

A Project of Her Own

Most UNC-Chapel Hill PhD students oversee their own research projects for their dissertations. But Kriddie Whitmore did it in a foreign country — and with the added challenges of a language barrier, bad weather, and limited equipment. This past summer, Whitmore traveled to the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, tackling their demands with incredible tenacity and creativity.

Perseverance in the Páramo

This summer, UNC-Chapel Hill research technicians Liz Farquhar and Tessa Davis traveled to the Andes Mountains in Ecuador for a project in the páramo, a beautiful but challenging ecosystem. While the high altitude and unpredictable weather took time to adjust to, they discovered that the resilience they gained during the pandemic aided them in all the obstacles they faced.

Leave It to Beavers

As urban regions in the Southeast continue to grow and develop, harmful pollutants enter nearby waterways more frequently. UNC researchers think one of the best solutions to prevent this may be investments in the habitats of the furry neighbors already in our backyards: beavers.

A Public Health Prognosis

Graduate student Rachel Woodul spent two years researching what might happen to hospital capacity when the next pandemic strikes. When it arrived, she compared what her model — and others’ — got wrong to improve how we react to public health crises in the future.

Rachel Woodul

Rachel Woodul is a PhD student in the Department of Geography within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and a research assistant at the Carolina Population Center. She uses geographic information systems to model infectious disease spread, with a specific focus on epidemics and pandemics.

Megan Raisle

Megan Raisle is a senior and Morehead-Cain Scholar double-majoring in environmental studies and geography within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She studies climate change across disciplines to uncover how to be a more effective advocate for climate action and understand why it sometimes fails.

Restoring Rural China

While the United States and China take up roughly the same amount of land mass, China’s population is over four times that of the U.S. — and more people means more change in vegetation growth. How do these factors connect to climate change? Conghe Song explores this relationship, pursuing a project that has led to his return to his birthplace: rural China.

A RAPID Response to Hurricane Matthew

In the months following one of the most destructive hurricanes of the past decade, UNC researchers had to act fast. Using a unique grant from the NSF, they’re testing water quality in Lumberton — one of the hardest-hit places during the storm.