The program in environmental sciences endeavors to understand the impact of agricultural practices on the environment and the impact of the environment on agriculture. The overall goal of the graduate option in environmental sciences is to improve agricultural profitability while decreasing adverse impacts on the environment, both local and global.
Agricultural environmental sciences encompass a wide diversity of fundamental and applied research topics. Students can learn to:
improve the agricultural environment by reducing nonpoint source pollution that will enhance the efficiency of producers;
determine the environmental toxicity of agricultural chemicals and participate in the development of rational management strategies;
understand the responses of crops to global atmospheric and climate change, and generate adaptive strategies and select new genotypes for this changed environment;
develop mathematical models to explore options for partial mitigation of atmospheric change through cropping systems;
isolate and chemically characterize new value-added products from agronomic commodities, especially commercial byproducts, that will reduce waste and generate materials that may protect public health and the environment; and
develop new biological and chemical assay systems to detect hazardous environmental contaminants.